Occupational therapy is a fascinating field to study and work in. Occupational therapy involves helping a patient heal, body and mind, and requires a compassionate, patient person. A masters in occupational therapy gives you many career options to explore. Working as an occupational therapist, you are helping a person heal and learn to live their best quality of life every day, regardless of his or her condition. This may be a physical or mental ailment that prevents the person from living a"normal" life on a daily basis. An occupational therapist may work with a handful of clients exclusively or work at a facility where patients visit them on a regular basis.
The principles of occupational therapy are similar to those of physical therapy. The primary difference is you’re working with a patient to improve his or her quality of life after they have dealt with other types of therapy (very often physical therapy). For someone who is in a life-threatening car accident and loses a limb, you may teach him or her how to get around this ailment for completing every day chores and tasks around the house. If a person is in an accident or has a serious injury early in life, they will have to cope with this injury for a number of years. Instead of having live-in help or a family member help every day, many patients choose to take care of themselves to the extent that they can. This is where an occupational therapist comes in. An occupational therapist is required to learn how to adjust to the injury or permanent handicap and still lead a somewhat"normal" life.
An occupational therapist requires many hours of one-on-one time with a patient. Patience is critical to helping a patient develop new techniques and adjust to new ways of doing every day things they may be used to conducting in a different manner.
An occupational therapist also works with various breathing exercises that will make these every day tasks easier on a patient. If a patient is getting frustrated or worked up in a situation due to their physical ailment, they learn ways to breathe, calm down and sort themselves before wearing themselves out. This is an essential part of occupational therapy that requires a person who is passionate about helping people heal and lead strong lives. It is important to remember that no matter what a person’s condition is, if he or she wants to do something for themselves, they should have the support and resources to learn to do those things.
Occupational therapist work to develop a person’s motor skills which will improve their ability to do daily tasks such as wash dishes, bath themselves or make the bed. These exercises may be as simple as rolling a ball back and forth or doing a hand gesture repeatedly to get a feel for how the muscles move.
What can I do with a masters in occupational therapy?
A masters in occupational therapy is required to work as a licenses occupational therapists in the United States and Canada. A masters in occupational therapy is a two year program that covers the theory and practice of occupational therapy, as well as how to teach this practice to patients. Students often work on faux cases with instructors to get a feel for the types of patients they may encounter on the job. Occupational therapists require a number of intern hours before they are able to obtain full licensing and work as a professional occupational therapist. Requirements for these intern hours and licensing are mandated by individual states in the U.S.
With baby boomers aging, the need for occupational therapists is on the rise. Those working with the elderly will be most in demand, but overall it is an industry that is slated for serious growth in the coming years. It is predicted the demand for occupational therapists will rise by 26% in the next decade. Occupational therapists also require assistants and are continuously in supervising roles in nursing homes, hospitals and on a freelance basis.
With a masters in occupational therapy, you will be in a position to work as a licensed occupational therapist. This allows you to work over a team of assistants and supervise the development and practice of patients. You may specialize in a certain area such as working with the elderly or with cerebral palsy patients. This depends on how your training goes, as some accredited masters programs for occupational therapy allow students to focus on a demographic that regularly uses this type of therapist.