There are many different occupational therapist jobs available to those with the proper training. Occupational therapy assists people of all ages, from very young children to the elderly, recover from injuries, adapt to new challenges, or learn important life skills to allow them to have more independence and a better quality of life. People who require occupational therapy may be physically, mentally, emotionally, or developmentally disabled. Becoming an occupational therapist requires a Master's Degree, and a license.
Occupational therapist jobs vary depending on the group of people the therapist works with and their particular disabilities. Occupational therapists may work in various locations including hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, nursing facilities, or private health care centers. Most occupational therapists are employed full time, and some travel to the patient's home to provide in-home assistance.
Some of the daily occupational therapist jobs that might be required include helping the patient with exercises to increase strength and mobility, or instructing them in new methods for performing essential daily tasks, such as eating or getting dressed. Many people require occupational therapy after a permanently disabling injury, such as a spinal cord injury, and must learn all new ways of performing everyday tasks. The occupational therapist might also instruct the patient on how to use special equipment to make certain activities easier. When working with the elderly, the therapist might help the patient learn how to safely navigate their own home, so that they can remain independent and prevent injuries.
Occupational therapy is not just based on physical limitations. Other occupational therapist jobs focus on mental and emotional challenges as well. The therapist might work with a patient to help him or her improve their vision, learn to work on a computer, assist them in learning to drive again, or re-learn important skills that are required on the job. Skills to help with memory are also taught, along with skills to improve concentration, decision making, and problem solving. Occupational therapists might also help patients learn to grocery shop, use public transportation, and manage their time and money. Finally, an occupational therapist might work in other highly specific situations, such as with young children who are displaying developmental challenges, or with older people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.
Occupational therapist jobs are plentiful, and most occupational therapists will work within a specialized area of expertise, based on their skills and areas of interest. Keep in mind that in addition to working directly with patients, occupational therapists must often prepare reports for physicians and insurance companies. A high level of patience, respect, and discretion is also required, as well as attention to detail. Many people find working in occupational therapy to be a very rewarding career choice.