What Is an Occupational Therapy Degree?
Occupational therapists work in three specific areas of rehabilitative healthcare: mental, physical and social. A person can become disabled in any multitude of ways, whether physically, mentally, socially or a combination of the three. This prevents people from functioning within a normal and productive capacity, oftentimes leaving them incapable of caring for themselves or even becoming a danger to society. Occupational therapists assess the patient’s mental, physical and social capacities and designs a rehabilitation and therapy programme tailored to the patient’s individual needs.
Occupational therapists play a crucial role in getting these people back on their feet, out in society and capable of contributing to themselves and the people around them. This includes working in the traditional healthcare setting, such as a hospital or health clinic, or working in a specialised setting, such as a prison to rehabilitate criminals or working with the homeless. The goal of the occupational therapist is to help the patient – whether ill or destructive – to regain the ability to live in a positive manner.
Occupational therapists also work with children and adults who exhibit learning disabilities and senior citizens having a hard time adapting to their advanced years and the illnesses that usually accompany them. No matter what part of occupational therapy the therapist specialises in, all occupational therapists must enjoy helping people who suffer from any degree of disability, and must also exhibit a strong will to problem-solve and aid their patients in overcoming their individual challenges.
Occupational Therapy Job Opportunities
An occupational therapist is tasked with assessing his or her patient’s disability and then creating a therapy programme together with the patient to best address overcoming the individual’s disability. Occupational therapists might work within a healthcare, private or non-profit institutional setting, or work out in the field, visiting the homes of their patients providing home therapeutic care.
Daily tasks of the occupational therapist include rehabilitating physically, mentally or socially disabled persons using any number of therapy, equipment and management techniques; mentoring people on their personal and social skills; being a liaison between the patient and his or her attending physicians; aiding the patient’s family members and support team in dealing with the patient’s disability.
Occupational therapists are generally fuelled by their desire to help others more than earning a large salary. This field is definitely for the person with a big heart and caring nature. Occupational therapists begin their practice earning a salary that ranges from £21,176 to £27,625.
After the therapist has worked in the field long enough to become a specialist, he or she can expect to earn a salary ranging from £25,528 to £34,189; advanced therapists generate salaries that range from £30,460 to £40,157.
Occupational Therapy Curriculum
Occupational therapy curriculum is strong in the physical and social sciences, as the occupational therapist must have a solid understanding of the human body, the human brain and the ability and inability to interact with others socially. Coursework includes learning and utilising industry accepted research and analytical skills and applying critical thinking and problem-solving to implement custom-designed treatment programmes for each case study the student is tasked with.
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