Careers & Opportunities

Occupational Therapy Functions and Qualifications

Occupational Therapy Functions and Qualifications

A Health Practitioner called an occupational therapist is in charge of aiding patients in regaining their capacity to carry out tasks related to daily living and employment. The majority of their patients have lost these skills as a result of mental, physical, developmental, or emotional issues.

A Rehabilitation team may also consist of a physical therapist, speech therapist, psychologist, and social worker in addition to this individual. Occupational therapists may work in specialized settings, such as Mental health facilities and skilled nursing facilities, or they may deal with specific demographics, such as children or the elderly.

Occupational Therapy

Functions & Tasks of an Occupational Therapist

The following skills are often necessary for this position:

  • Assess the condition and needs of patients by reviewing their medical history.
  • Assess the patients’ capacity to do specific tasks
  • Consult with medical professionals, patients, and their families, as well as nurses, therapists, social workers, and other healthcare providers, as necessary.
  • Create a treatment plan for the patient with clear objectives and assignments to help them achieve those objectives.
  • Helping patients complete activities so they can achieve their goals
  • Exercises that can help patients feel better and do their daily chores better should be demonstrated.
  • Determine any prospective modifications for a patient’s home or workplace depending on their requirements.
  • Inform the patient’s family on how they may support and accommodate them.
  • Suggest adaptive equipment that will assist patients with everyday life, such as wheelchairs and eating assistance, and teach them how to utilize it.
  • Reports are prepared for healthcare practitioners and insurance companies that evaluate patients’ progress in relation to their goals.
  • Depending on the patient’s demands, each occupational therapy plan is different, but they all aim to increase or maintain the patient’s independence in carrying out activities of daily living.

Qualifications & Educational Prerequisites

  • You must have a master’s degree in occupational therapy from a program that has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) in order to practice as an occupational therapist. Some occupational therapists are doctoral-level professionals.
  • Undergraduate Education: A Bachelor’s degree is required for admission to graduate school. College majors that are suitable include biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, liberal arts, and anatomy.
  • Graduate Occupational Therapy Programs: Choose a Course that has received ACOTE accreditation. The website of the American Occupational Therapy Association has a comprehensive list of programs.
  • Licensing: Everywhere in the United States, you must have a professional license to work as an Occupational therapist. State-by-state variations in standards make it possible for you to determine what actions you must follow in your state with the aid of a training course.
  • Board Test: You must pass a national certification exam given by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy in order to become licensed.


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Occupational Therapist Qualifications & Skills

Success in this sector depends on having certain soft skills:

  • Communication abilities: Occupational therapists must be able to communicate vocally and in writing with all parties involved in a patient’s care as well as successfully deliver instructions to patients. In order to better serve the requirements of the patients, they must also be able to listen.
  • Compassion and patience: are essential qualities for caregivers in this position. Whether they are managing a recent diagnosis or a long-standing one, many patients may feel dissatisfied and resentful about their circumstances. Others may have exaggerated expectations for how their therapy will turn out, so it’s crucial for an occupational therapist to assist patients in setting reasonable and doable goals without discouraging them.
  • Critical-thinking Techniques: The therapeutic options available to occupational therapists are numerous. Their ability to think critically and analyze data will enable them to decide what could be best for a patient.

Job Prospects

Compared to Most Jobs, even those involved in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, Occupational therapists have a considerably better outlook on finding work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in this field will increase by 24% between 2016 and 2026, significantly faster than the general employment rate, which is only expected to grow by 7% during that time. The baby boomer generation, who want to keep active as they age, as well as patients looking for non-invasive treatments for ailments and illnesses, can be credited with this outstanding prognosis.

The BLS Continues that occupational therapists will probably have greater work prospects if they have additional credentials or specialized knowledge in particular therapy fields.

Environment at Work

Occupational therapists may make frequent trips between hospitals. Although there is some office work involved, they will often spend the most of their time standing next to patients. Moreover, the task may require carrying large objects like patients.

Job Scheduling

Although part-time employment is an option, occupational therapists typically work full time. The hours can change drastically. To meet the schedules of their patients, they could work evenings or weekends as needed.

Similar Work Comparisons

The following occupations, along with their median salaries, may also be of interest to those who are considering occupational therapy:
$86,850 for a Physical therapist
$47,680 for a Recreational therapist
$76,610 for a Speech-language Pathologist
$59,310 for an  Assistant in Occupational Therapy



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