Jobs in Occupational Therapy: Trends And Opportunities

Many people pursue careers as occupational therapists today. They want a job that will ensure they are never bored and they love to help people, making this career a good fit. They spend their days helping others lead gratifying lives.

An occupational therapist (OT) might work with a young child in the morning and then help senior citizens all afternoon. Age and background play no role in whether a person needs this type of therapy, as any person might have physical, mental, or emotional challenges they need help to overcome. With the assistance of the occupational therapist, this individual learns ways to live the highest quality of life.

Occupational therapists remain in high demand today. Individuals looking for a new occupational therapy job will see a number of vacancies remain open. However, before a person jumps in and decides this is the right career for them, they need a better understanding of this occupation. The following guide provides this information.

Understanding the Role of Occupational Therapists

Many people remain unaware of the various roles an OT might take on as part of their job duties. Occupational therapists help clients carry out daily activities that the client feels are meaningful. These activities vary the individual and are referred to as occupations. They may be as simple as getting dressed in the morning or extremely complex tasks.

Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings. They may be found in hospitals, clinics, and schools. Some OTs work in community centers while others travel to their clients’ homes. Each intervention is tailored to meet the needs of the patient.

Increased Demand

Occupational therapists continue to increase in demand for several reasons. America’s citizens are getting older, and many seniors need occupational therapy. They want to remain independent as long as possible while ensuring the highest quality of life. An OT can help with this.

Some individuals have chronic illnesses, including those who are on the autism spectrum. OTs, including those in the pediatric sector, work with these individuals. They also work with those who have suffered severe trauma and are undergoing rehabilitation or are in long-term care.

Specialty Options

Occupational therapists find they may choose a specialty. Certain OTs choose to work with mental health patients to help them build coping skills. Another OT might choose to help employers improve their workplace wellness and ergonomics. With the help of the OT, the employer can create a workplace that is safe and designed to boost productivity.

However, some therapists want to specialize even more. They may focus on a specific concern that is the result of a physical limitation. For example, the OT might work with individuals needing hand therapy. With many options available today, every therapist can find a niche they love.

Where Do Occupational Therapists Work?

Occupational therapists may find jobs in many locations. This diversity allows each person to find the right fit for their personality and needs. The following are a few of the places that hire OTs regularly.

Medical Facilities

Many occupational therapists find jobs in hospitals or clinics. They work with other medical professionals to create a plan for each patient they are treating. Some individuals need therapy because they suffered an injury or an illness. They may have had surgery and need help to get back on their feet. OTs are there to help them do so.

Other patients are referred to an OT because they have an ongoing condition. In many cases, they are in a rehab center and are working to increase their independence. The goal with these patients is to help them return home.

Educational Facilities

Schools might bring in occupational therapists to help children and young adults with developmental delays. The OTs may work with kids who have sensory processing problems or they may be asked to help a child who is constantly in trouble. The school might also ask them for help and guidance when it comes to kids with learning disabilities. The OT will help the school, the student, and the parents come up with strategies to help the child, which may include the use of assistive technology.

Home Visits

Occupational therapists may not have a set workplace. Some men and women in this field travel to clients’ homes or local neighborhoods to provide therapy. Senior citizens benefit greatly from these visits, as the OT helps them stay in their own homes longer. The therapist might help the patient rearrange the furniture in the home to make it easy to move around. They could recommend assistive devices for these individuals, or they might sit down with a client to find ways to cope with daily living challenges or overcome them.

Telehealth Treatment

COVID changed the way countless patients receive medical services. Telehealth quickly took off during the global pandemic, and it appears it is here to stay. With the help of this technology, an OT can work with patients who live in remote areas and might otherwise not be able to benefit from the therapist’s services. The therapist might consult with medical professionals in other parts of the country or world, or they may offer therapy online. The options are endless and allow more people to realize the benefits of occupational therapy today.

New Ventures

An occupational therapist could choose to go out on their own. They dream of being their own boss and have the skills and experience to make this leap. Some therapists open their own practice or specialty clinic. Other OTs, however, work as consultants and focus on a specific area within the industry. As the OT has full control over the business, they can create a new program, come up with innovative ways to solve recurring problems, or go a different route completely. As the boss, they are in complete control.

Men and women who pursue a career in occupational therapy find it to be a rewarding profession. OTs never do the same things for two days in a row. New challenges always crop up and new patients come in for help. Those who work in the field make society a better place every day they show up on the job.

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