Occupational Therapists

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About the Job

Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that help build or restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to persons with disabilities or developmental delays.

It is also Called

  • Assistive Technology Trainer
  • Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Independent Living Specialist
  • Industrial Rehabilitation Consultant
  • Industrial Therapist
  • Job Trainer
  • Licensed Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA/L)
  • Occupational Therapist (OT)
  • Registered Occupational Therapist
  • Rehabilitation Engineer

What They Do

  • Provide patients with assistance in locating or holding jobs.
  • Lay out materials such as puzzles, scissors and eating utensils for use in therapy, and clean and repair these tools after therapy sessions.
  • Advise on health risks in the workplace or on health-related transition to retirement.
  • Help clients improve decision making, abstract reasoning, memory, sequencing, coordination, and perceptual skills, using computer programs.
  • Provide training and supervision in therapy techniques and objectives for students or nurses and other medical staff.
  • Conduct research in occupational therapy.
  • Design and create, or requisition, special supplies and equipment, such as splints, braces, and computer-aided adaptive equipment.
  • Plan and implement programs and social activities to help patients learn work or school skills and adjust to handicaps.
  • Consult with rehabilitation team to select activity programs or coordinate occupational therapy with other therapeutic activities.
  • Develop and participate in health promotion programs, group activities, or discussions to promote client health, facilitate social adjustment, alleviate stress, and prevent physical or mental disability.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SI.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Investigative environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Achievement and Working Conditions in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in United States was $77,890 with most people making between $51,310 and $109,380

Outlook

2.78%
avg. annual growth

During 2010, this occupation employed approximately 108,000 people in United States. It is projected that there will be 145,000 employed in 2020.

This occupation will have about 3,000 openings due to growth and about 54,000 replacement openings for approximately 57,000 total annual openings.