What Occupational Therapists Do?
Occupational therapists provide services to promote and/or develop clients' meaningful engagement in their chosen occupations, through various practice approaches such as rehabilitation, prevention, consultation, and wellness promotion.
Occupational therapists help redesign people's lives and environments so they can optimally function and participate in the activities or occupations that are important in their lives. Opportunities in occupational therapy are limitless! Occupational therapists work with a wide variety of individuals from infants to older adults; individuals with psychiatric and/or physical impairments, healthy individuals who have had interruptions in their day-to-day functioning, injured workers, premature babies, and individuals who are homeless, among others.
Where do Occupational Therapists Work?
In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 114,600 occupational therapists were employed in the United States and the top five employers were private practices, hospitals ,elementary and secondary schools, nursing facilities, and home care agencies. Occupational therapists also serve vital roles in community organizations, mental health facilities, and industry. Since health and wellness have become important public health concerns, occupational therapists share their expertise in home assessment and modification with older adults who wish to age in place and with families desiring healthier lifestyles. Specialty practices such as low vision, driving rehabilitation, and ergonomic consulting are among areas of expected growth for occupational therapists.
Is Occupational Therapy a Good Career for these Challenging Times?
Yes! According to U.S. News and World Report in January 2016 Occupational Therapy ranked No. 17 among the best health care jobs in the country. Furthermore, in 2016 several states reported shortages and announced occupational therapists to be among the 10 most in-demand jobs.The mean salary for occupational therapists in 2014 was approximately $78,810, with the highest 10% earning more than $112,950 with variety depending on experience and geographical location.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects that employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase by 27% between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Furthermore, it is projected that occupational therapy will continue to be of importance for individuals with various illnesses and disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, autism or amputations.
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