Occupational Therapists

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By Nsim Team


If you want to become an occupational therapist, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as an occupational therapist:
Those who become occupational therapists are emotionally stable and conduct themselves professionally; traits that are required in order to effectively complete short and long-term tasks related to patient care. They must also have the intellect and academic aptitude necessary to complete the educational requirements that are needed to become a certified professional in occupational therapy.
Those who become occupational therapists are passionate about helping others and providing the best care possible. Occupational therapists must be able to listen attentively to their patients, and effectively communicate with them; they must also be empathetic and compassionate towards their challenges.


Who is an Occupational Therapist ?

Occupational therapists enable people who experience obstacles to participate in everyday activities. They work with people who have an impairment of body structure, a change in function or barriers in their social or physical environment.
Occupational therapists that are employed in community programs or private practice may offer services such as medical or legal evaluations. Those who are self-employed often provide consulting services to various levels of government.
Occupational therapists are accountable to their provincial or state regulatory body, which has the responsibility of governing the practice of occupational therapy in that jurisdiction. The occupational therapist has the ultimate responsibility for occupational therapy service, which includes direct client care, education, research, administration and consultation.


Education Needed to Become an Occupational Therapist

In order to become an occupational therapist in Canada or the United States, you need to have a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from an accredited institution. Some occupational therapists also enter the profession with a doctoral degree in this field.
Admission to occupational therapy programs typically requires a bachelor’s degree and specific coursework, including biology and physiology. Many programs also require applicants to have volunteer or work experience in an occupational therapy setting.


Skills Needed to Become an Occupational Therapist

In order to become effective in a career as an occupational therapist, you need to posses a certain set of personality characteristics and skills; skills that will allow you to be competent and effective in your work; and personality traits that will allow you to maintain a positive attitude towards your work, and help you endure the ups and downs of a career as an occupational therapist. These skills and traits include:
• Ability to communicate with patients and team members
• Able to listen attentively to patients and other team members
• Excellent interpersonal skills
• Excellent organizational skills
• Patience when dealing with people that are ill, disabled or injured
• Must be compassionate and empathetic to the challenges of others
• The ability to work with little supervision
• Must be extremely trustworthy


Who Hires Occupational Therapists?

Occupational therapists are hired by organizations that help these people develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapists may be hired by, or work on a contractual basis for, organizations such as:
• Community agencies
• Hospitals, continuing care facilities, rehabilitation centres and clinics
• Elementary and high schools
• Colleges and universities
• Municipal, regional or federal government agencies
• Insurance agencies
• Professional organizations
• Self-employment


Related Links: Child Life Specialist



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Occupational Therapist Job Description

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