What are the Different Occupational Therapist Careers?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 January 2019
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Occupational therapy involves the creation and implementation of therapies involving patients with physical, mental or emotional limitations that inhibit job performance. The goal of these therapies is to help patients learn new coping techniques and become productive members of the workforce. This can include physical therapy, cognitive therapy, and skill-building exercises.

In order for patients to maximize their results, several people are involved in each person’s therapy and each person uses his or her individual skills to enhance the experience. These various occupational therapist careers work in conjunction with one another to give patients a varied and extensive solution to their inhibitions in the workplace.

There are three main types of occupational therapist careers, also known as subspecialties. One of these is occupational therapy aimed to the elderly. Therapists who work with the aging help patients stay independent for as long as possible, as well as help some patients regain skills that have been lost due to illness or injury. This gives elderly patients avoid being placed in nursing homes or having to rely too heavily on their children or family members.

Therapists who specialize in disabled children are another type of occupational therapists. These specialists work with children and young adults who are physically or mentally disabled, to help them grasp everyday skills. These skills can include things like cooking, cleaning, dressing oneself, and interacting with peers.


Still other occupational therapist careers focus solely on helping mentally disabled patients. Depending on the level of disability, many mentally impaired individuals may be able to learn skills and hold a job with the help of the therapist. If job skills are not feasible, the occupational therapist will help patients learn to interact more effectively with family members and in society.

Another of the occupational therapist careers is the therapy head. This is the person who is responsible for making initial contact with patients and helping them figure out what methods of therapy may be best for them. He develops individualized plans, and may enlist the help of additional therapists in order to carry them out. The therapy head acts as the ring leader of the operation; directing all other players on where to go. This person may lead a group of therapists within a specific subgroup, or various specialists in a hospital or treatment center.

Occupational therapist careers can run the gamut of therapies to help patients recover from physical or emotional stress and get back on the job. These highly trained professionals generally require a college degree as well as certification and ongoing training to stay up to date on emerging therapies. Assistants and aides require less training, but should still have an understanding of counseling and physical therapy techniques.



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Post 1

First of all, the word "occupational" in occupational therapy has nothing to do with the idea of "vocation." The primary purpose of OT is to use meaningful and necessary activities that occupy our patients' time towards recovering, maintaining or preventing an illness or dysfunction.

An example of an illness or dysfunction would be a stroke, traumatic brain injury, mental illness, terminal disease or progressive disease.

OT's commonly work in hospitals, rehabs, schools, but and are not limited to the medical field. OT's also work in interactive practice areas of research, adaptive technology, and theory.

There is a very, very small fraction of OT's who just work with people who want to return to work and need therapy. These areas are usually called "work hardening programs." People commonly confuse the word "occupation" with work, or vocation. --Ben OTS grad student.

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