What Careers are in Occupational Therapy?

Have you ever wondered about the different types of careers in occupational therapy? While it may seem like a career choice with a limited number of options, this simply isn’t the case. There are many different avenues to travel when it comes to this profession.

What is Occupational Therapy?

More people may be familiar with physical therapy which is a type of therapy that focuses on helping people regain a patient’s range of motion after being injured or after suffering an illness that affects their mobility. It primarily focuses on the rehabilitation of the large muscle groups and fine-tuning a person’s gross motor skills. Occupational therapy focuses instead on the smaller groups of muscles and helping patients to achieve goals and acquire skills by focusing on their fine motor skills, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association. Occupational therapists help both children and adults acquire or regain skills needed to perform everyday activities which are sometimes referred to as the “occupations of life.”

Careers in Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists work with people of all ages – from little babies with developmental delays to older folks who may have just suffered a stroke and need to relearn how to do certain tasks. Careers in this field can be very rewarding as these types of therapists help individuals live their best life possible despite having an illness or a disability. Another advantage to being an occupational therapist is that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for this occupation is growing much faster than average. In 2015, the average annual salary was $80,150 which is about $38.54 per hour.

Occupational therapists mainly work in a hospital or clinical setting but other work environments include:

  • Nursing homes
  • Schools
  • Patient’s homes
  • Daycares
  • Community centers

Some occupational therapists also have their own private practices and others work as educators and consultants.

When an occupational therapist works with babies and younger children, it is usually because the child has developmental delays which can happen for a variety of reasons. Some children with these types of delays have disabilities that include motor impairments that make it hard for them achieve certain milestones. Some of these children need help, encouragement, and support to acquire the ability to do things like hold a bottle or grasp and release toys. As they get older, they may need help with tasks like tying their shoes and brushing their teeth. Besides helping children attain certain skills, occupational therapy can also help children improve hand-eye coordination, as well as help them to improve their cognitive and sensory skills. Children who have been diagnosed with sensory processing disorders, learning problems, or certain behavioral problems can also benefit from this type of therapy. When it comes to working with adults, occupational therapists are often needed to help them overcome work-related injuries, or regain complete function of their fine motor skills after getting into an accident. In the aging population, occupational therapists can help seniors retain certain skills so that they function independently for as long as possible.

Related Resource: Careers in Chemistry

When it comes to being an occupational therapist, there are a variety of ways they can help people of all ages. This is what makes the many kinds of careers in occupational therapy rewarding ones.

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