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Occupational therapy is a way to give back independence to people who have temporarily lost it for one reason or another. Occupational therapists help people in a number of ways. They work with people who are facing difficulty completing the daily tasks most people take for granted. If you want to help people regain some sense of normalcy after experiencing a tragic accident or debilitating disease, this is the medical career path for you. Read below to learn more about this career.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and occupational therapy is one way to help bring people some sort of self-reliance into their lives. People sometimes experience traumatic situations in a number of different ways. They may be in an unfortunate accident rendering them permanently disabled. They may experience a tragic circumstance causing them severe emotional trauma. Some people are stricken with a life-threatening disease leaving them with some sort of severe interruption to their daily routines. The list could continue. Most of these people are left with visually noticeable scars as well as physical and emotional scars.
Occupational therapists are armed with the knowledge and tools to help people in such circumstances regain some control. In some cases, the patient will have lost the ability to reason or their basic motor functions. These situations can be the result of any number of possibilities. As an occupational therapist, you will work with each patient to develop a customized therapy plan to begin healing. Each patient will have a unique circumstance; therefore, you will not be able to provide a cookie-cutter solution for everyone. You will also be required to help your patients learn or relearn various daily tasks. Some people may have to relearn how to perform basic functions such as how to use a computer and how to cook. You will work with the patient to retrain them for these functions at a very slow pace. As an occupational therapist, you must have incredible patience and understanding. Most of your patients will become highly frustrated and agitated throughout their sessions. They have to re-teach their bodies to do something when their mind may be aware they used to be able to do these actions without even thinking about them.
You might also be required to work with patients to perform various physical activities to ensure they are able to regain dexterity and strength. Some patients may require visual exercises to relearn basic word associations. Some of your tools may be to use computer software programs to aid patients in their development. People who have various debilitating diseases may require customized equipment to allow them to lead an easier life at work and at home. You might also choose to work with a specific group of people. Most occupational therapists specialize in working with children, adults, or a particular disease or emotional disorder. Many occupational therapists choose an area in which they may have personally been affected either directly or indirectly. The possibilities for an occupational therapist are many. You will, of course, be required to complete the appropriate amount of education.
Occupational Therapy Education
If you wish to pursue a career in occupational therapy, you will be required to complete a master’s degree. It is extremely crucial you complete degrees from accredited schools. You might choose to complete online degrees or traditional, bricks-and-mortar degrees. Either way, you must be certain these programs have been approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy. This will make your life infinitely easier when it comes time to sit for the national certification examination. You might choose a bachelor’s degree in a number of fields. You should consider a degree in behavioral science, psychology, or other sciences. While you are completing your undergraduate degree, you should consider looking for a part-time job or to volunteer within the mental health field to begin gaining experience and familiarize yourself with terminology and practices. The more experience you have upon graduation, the better your chances of receiving a job offer straightaway. Once you complete a master’s degree, you will be required to pass the certification exam and become licensed by your state of residence.
A career in occupational therapy will be extraordinarily challenging and rewarding should you choose to pursue this career path. You will be required to work with people facing extreme adversities every day. Once you complete the appropriate education to become an occupational therapist, your education does not stop there. You will be expected to continue your education throughout the course of your career.