Occupational Therapists help and treat people of all age groups who are struggling with physical disabilities and impairments, injuries, diseases, age-related issues, and disorders. Most of the aspirants want to know the job description of Occupational Therapists before plunging in this career. OTs assist patients in performing everyday activities. They evaluate patients’ needs and recommend special equipment (eating aids, wheelchairs, etc.). They also educate the family of the patient on how to take care of the patient. These professionals also report the patients’ activities and progress to the physicians.
Occupational Therapy (OT) is evidence-based treatment procedure that requires an evaluation of patient’s impairments and other conditions that affect their daily functioning. The evaluation process also includes assessing patient’s physical, social, psychological, and environmental aspects because these issues also impact the independent functioning of patients. OTS determines the factors that are hampering free movements of patients for their everyday activities, and accordingly, they prepare treatment procedure considering these factors for positive outcomes. The treatment also helps patients develop and regain necessary functioning skills.
The intervention of OTS includes guiding and educating patients, family members, and caregivers and evaluating client’s environment and community participation. They also recommend necessary equipment that is essential for the treatment procedure, and for helping the independent functioning of patients. They also train patients and other members how to use this equipment.
#1: OTS Degree
However, to be able to provide treatment procedure, and in helping patients participate in their everyday activities, OTS must be trained in Occupational therapy. OT education, degrees, and certificates provide them credibility and the necessary knowledge and OT skills for performing their services.
Individuals must complete accredited training programs to become an OTS. The OTS education program is accredited by AOTA’s Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) .
AOTA’s undergraduate level education requires students to major in biology, psychology, anthropology, anatomy, liberal arts, sociology, and kinesiology. The students must also complete necessary prerequisites to enroll in a program. The next step requires completing an entry-level Masters or entry-level Doctoral degree programs. Both degree levels prepare graduates for the entry-level profession. All programs are accredited by ACOTE. However, it is necessary that students must obtain a baccalaureate degree to get admission into the doctoral program.
The Master’s programs duration is 2 to 3 years, and Doctoral programs require 3 years to complete. Few schools even offer a dual- bachelor’s/master’s program that can be completed in 5 years, and on completion, the students are awarded a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.
The program curriculum requires students to complete academic coursework and fieldwork. The students can earn an entry-level master’s degree if they successfully complete Masters level coursework and fieldwork. The students must also know that field work is an important requirement for OT degree. The program is completed under the supervision of an experienced practitioner. The field work training duration is 24 weeks for both Masters and Doctoral Programs.
#2: NBCOT Exam
The successful completion of the master’s degree program allows students attempt the national certification examination. The exam is offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Prometric is the authorized exam providing agency for administrating NBCOT exam. The students, who pass the Certification exam, are eligible for OT License. The licensure also allows them to practice in a variety of settings. However, Licensure requirements differ in States. The students can complete Licensure requirements of their practice state and complete these prerequisites to practice in that state.