Occupational Therapy Schools In Chicago
Occupational therapists are healthcare professionals that focus on managing patients with disabilities or injuries. They work in rehabilitation clinics or hospitals, mental health facilities, long term care facilities and even assisted and independent living facilities. Making it as a career can be rewarding and challenging. In fact, this career is in-demand in United States because of the increasing need for holistic approach to treatment. Clients with disabilities do not only need treatment but they also need counseling and proper education in order to maximize their skills, talents and efforts despite their physical condition. Thus, occupational therapists play a vital role in any healthcare facility.
Salary and Duties of an Occupational Therapist in Chicago
The number of occupational therapists in Chicago has grown to 14% since 2006. In 2010, the average annual salary of an occupational therapist in Chicago is $55,027 but there are some experienced professionals who can earn as much as $79,473 according to the U.S. Department of Labor (www.dol.gov/). This salary bracket increases every year as more healthcare facilities are searching for occupational therapists.
Basically, occupational therapists are responsible for assessing, treating and evaluating patients with disabilities. They assess and evaluate the following factors;
- physical function
- cognitive as well as psychosocial factors
- performance on activities of daily living like grooming, bathing, eating and mobility
- performance on community living skills like cooking, transportation and shopping
- environmental factors that hinders a person from doing his/her role and responsibilities
- dependency on splints, adapted equipments as well as ergonomic modifications
Once the occupational therapist assesses the patient, he/she creates an individualized plan in order to achieve the treatment goals. Families are also educated in order to enhance and maintain the patient’s condition while on the treatment process. Therapy implemented by an occupational therapist typically includes joint protection, energy conservation, minimizing pain, stress management, and improvement on safe performance of activities of daily living.
Schools in Chicago offering Occupational Therapy Education
University of Illinois (http://www.ahs.uic.edu/ot/) – The Department of Occupational Therapy in UIC is ranked number four nationwide by the U.S. News and World Report (www.usnews.com/). They offer post professional MS, OTD as well as PhD programs with a strong connection in the University of Illinois Medical Center, allowing students to apply their learning in a clinical environment. UIC also has 2 charter centers for occupational therapy research which is funded by the American Occupational Therapy Association (www.aota.org/) (AOTA) and American Occupational Therapy Foundation (www.aotf.org/ )(AOTF).
Chicago State University (http://www.csu.edu/occupationaltherapy/) – The Department of Occupational Therapy in CSU has been founded since 1867 and they are accredited in 1984 by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (). The school is committed in providing quality education and community service to people in different age group and cultural backgrounds. Their faculty members have strong backgrounds on professional service, academic scholarship and clinical practice.
Midwestern University (http://www.midwestern.edu/programs-and-admission/il-occupational-therapy.html) – The general requirements in Midwestern University is a Bachelor’s degree and a GPA of 2.75. Occupational therapy program takes 27 months to complete and should be a full time education. Classroom discussions and clinical training will take place during the 27 months in order for the students to apply what they learned.
Getting a OT License in Chicago
Every state in America requires occupational therapists to take a licensure exam and pass the certification given by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (www.prometric.com/nbcot) (NBCOT). Applying for the exam can be done through online or paper. The online exam application costs $500 and the paper application costs $540. Paying the fees and taking the NBCOT are the only requirement for occupational therapy license. However, there are some states that require an entry level master’s degree; 6 months supervised field work and NBCOT score of 450. Try to check these requirements first before taking a certification exam. License for occupational therapists is valid for 2 years so renew it prior to expiration.