So... occupational therapists are pretty much like physical therapists, right?

Cat shaking head no

While physical therapists help people recover from injuries through exercise, occupational therapists help people with physical challenges perform daily tasks more easily.

What Do They Do?

Occupational therapists, often called OTs, work with people spanning all ages who have injuries, illnesses, or disabilities.

OTs treat their patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities, helping them develop, recover, and improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.

Therapist helping patient with disability affecting arm (prosthetic). Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Where Do They Work?

OTs work in a wide range of places:

  • Hospitals

  • Rehabilitation facilities

  • Patients’ homes

  • Schools

  • Elderly care homes

Two elderly male-looking persons playing chess. Photo by Vlad Sargu on Unsplash

What Might A Typical Day Look Like?

Because their workplaces and patients vary, every occupational therapist’s day might look quite different, but there are common tasks they all need to complete.

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  • Start around 7-7:30 am

  • Gather therapy tools, paperwork, and activities

  • Review the day’s patient list and corresponding patient treatment plans, confer with colleagues as necessary

  • Take history of patients, examining the area to be treated

  • Take lunch at a flexible hour

  • Set short and long-term goals with patients

  • Teach exercises the patient can do at home

  • Check in with returning patients and note progress

Quiz

What activities would an OT help a young postpartum stroke patient with?

Do I Need A Degree?

To practice in the US and Canada ,you need to get a Master’s degree from an accredited OT program and pass a national certification exam (the NBCOT in the US and the NOTCE in Canada).

You may also need to meet other specific criteria, depending on the province or state you choose to work in.

Man lifting up his glass to

So Will It Pay The Bills?

Flaticon Icon The average yearly salary for an occupational therapist is $76,811 .

Flaticon Icon The average yearly salary for an occupational therapist is $84,950.

You’ll Love It If…

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  • You enjoy working with and helping people of all ages

  • You're a patient and caring person who's passionate about finding creative and unique solutions for others

  • You don’t mind travelling to different sites to take care of your patients

  • You're willing to earn an advanced degree in occupational therapy and pass a national certification exam to practice

You Might Want To Look For Another Career If…

A woman crying, saying

  • You prefer a fixed 9-5 schedule

  • You don’t want to work in close contact with people

  • You want to finish school in the shortest amount of time possible

  • You don’t like the idea of goal-setting and making work plans

Take Action

Person pointing at his head, If you’re thinking of becoming an occupational therapist:

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This Byte has been authored by

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Aletheia Delivre

Organizational Development Associate - EdTech