Working as an occupational therapist is a challenging and demanding job, but it is also one that can be deeply rewarding. This article will discuss the different careers available in occupational therapy and the different places where occupational therapists work.
What are the various types of occupational therapists?
Occupational therapists work to help people successfully complete the day to day activities that make up their lives and enable them to be fulfilled people and contributing members of the society in which they live.
Since this definition is so broad, it stands to reason that there are a multitude of jobs available in this field. Some therapists may choose to work with individuals who have mental, physical, social, emotional, or developmental issues, while others may choose to work with those individuals who are simply unable to function "normally" in a work environment. Therapists may also choose to work with children, with the elderly, or with a special population. While the goal of all occupational therapists is the same – to enable clients to lead a more self sufficient lifestyle – the way in which this is accomplished has a lot to do with the individual and with his or her particular needs.
Depending on the group or individual the therapist works with, he or she may assist in a wide number of activities including, but not limited to assisting with daily personal needs; working on the improvement of common and necessary skills such as decision making, memory or other areas the patient(s) may be lacking in; teaching the physically handicapped how to use equipment such as wheelchairs or lifts; and helping the client find and maintain suitable and sustainable employment. The therapist is also responsible for tracking the patient's progress during the course of therapy. Usually, the therapist works by helping the individual to accomplish small goals, gradually leading up to the accomplishment of larger and larger goals. Depending on the client's needs, therapy can take a few weeks, months, or even years.
Where do Occupational Therapists Work?
Occupational therapists have many choices when it comes to choosing a work environment. Some therapists may work in the school system or in a private school, usually with a specific age group, though some will be trained to work with children of all ages. Others may work in group homes for the disabled or in rehabilitation centers. Some also choose to work in one on one situations, sometimes even in the client's home. Other situations are also possible, depending on the client's needs and particular issues.
With so many choices as to where to work and what type of individuals to work with, pursuing a career in occupational therapy may sound overwhelming. This is why it is so important for those interested in becoming occupational therapists to think about the type of people they would like to work with and the work situation that would be ideal for them. Narrowing down one's choices in this way can make pursuing training in occupational therapy and finding the perfect job a much easier process.