Associate Degree in Occupational Therapy
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If you are looking for a stable career in the healthcare field, occupational therapy is a good option. Occupational therapists are greatly needed in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, nursing homes and even in schools. They handle patients with physical, mental, emotional, and developmental disabilities and provide treatment goals that will allow them to recover from their condition. The goal of every occupational therapist is to develop or maintain skills that will enable the patient to perform his/her routine activities. If there is a need to use adaptive equipments, they will teach the patient on how to use it and educate the family members or employers to provide a safe environment for him/her.
Choosing Occupational Therapy
Becoming an occupational therapist requires commitment, passion and a lot of patience. As early as high school, you have to be fond of science-related subjects and participate in different volunteer opportunities. Occupational therapy program focuses more on social sciences like anatomy, anthropology, psychology or biology that is why you have to have a good science background in order to pursue this career.
Occupational therapy degree is a long process. Before you become eligible for the certification exam, you will have to finish a Master’s Degree program in an accredited school of American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (www.aota.org/) A continuing education is always expected whenever you decide to choose occupational therapy as a career. In fact, it is necessary to decide a specialization prior to the study because occupational therapist can work in different clinical setting in different types of patients.
Employment Opportunities and Salary
An occupational therapy degree entails numerous employment opportunities. The baby boomer generation is ageing and most of them are seeking for healthcare services; that is why several healthcare institutions are looking for occupational therapists. Whether in schools or hospitals, an OT is needed to help patients regain their abilities in performing activities of daily living.
Employment opportunities are easier for occupational therapists who earn more credentials through continuing education and career advancements. They tend to be promoted easily with compensation higher than a regular occupational therapist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm), the median annual wage of an occupational therapist is $72,320. Ten percent of these professionals are earning $48,920 or less and ten percent are earning $102,520 or more. This means that one can get a higher pay if he/she has years of experience and have undergone trainings or education.
Certification, Licensing and Renewal
An occupational therapist needs to pass a certification exam in order to practice the profession. Once you completed this process, it is necessary to apply for a license in the State Board of Occupational Therapy. A criminal background check will be done and pertinent documents and application forms will be collected. If there are discrepancies or criminal records, the state has the power to deny the license application. Moreover, renewal of license is every two years through the State Board of Occupational Therapy. The office will also assess whether a criminal offense is created during the time of practice.