Occupational Therapists

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Also known as:
Occupational Therapist, OT, Registered Occupational Therapist

ABOUT OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST CAREERS
Video transcript

Being self-sufficient in everyday life leads to self-confidence and self-esteem. Occupational therapists provide a pathway to self-sufficiency by teaching mentally or physically challenged people new skills or how to modify old ones to compensate for lost abilities.

The job of an "O-T" involves teaching and motivating patients to develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills. It is a career that requires strong analytical skills and creativity in developing innovative and effective treatments for a variety of challenges.

One of the most rewarding aspects of this career is the chance to work with people, to help make a difference in their lives.

To be successful in this profession, you should be caring, supportive, and enthusiastic about working closely with people in need, since you'll be getting involved in many different aspects of your patients' lives, helping them get well, live well, and stay well.

Occupational therapy can be emotionally and physically demanding, but helping patients enrich the quality of their lives and achieve self-sufficiency can be an immeasurably rewarding experience.

SNAPSHOT
Assess, plan, and organize 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. Use therapeutic techniques, adapt the individual's environment, teach skills, and modify specific tasks that present barriers to the individual.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
MED
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Conduct research in occupational therapy.

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.

Lay out materials such as puzzles, scissors and eating utensils for use in therapy, and clean and repair these tools after therapy sessions.

Plan and implement programs and social activities to help patients learn work or school skills and adjust to handicaps.

Complete and maintain necessary records.

Plan, organize, and conduct occupational therapy programs in hospital, institutional, or community settings to help rehabilitate those impaired because of illness, injury or psychological or developmental problems.

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.

Evaluate patients' progress and prepare reports that detail progress.

Recommend changes in patients' work or living environments, consistent with their needs and capabilities.

Provide training and supervision in therapy techniques and objectives for students or nurses and other medical staff.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
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.
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.
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.
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.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
TOP SKILLS
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
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.