Occupational Therapy Schools In Los Angeles
Several healthcare institutions need occupational therapists to help patients with disabilities or injuries participate in daily living activities. This kind of job requires a lot of patience, compassion and technical knowledge because it deals with children, adults and elderly with special needs. Since the role of occupational therapist is unique, the demand for it in the healthcare field increases. In fact, the job outlook of occupational therapist in 2010 to 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm#tab-6) is 33 percent which is greater than the expected average. This will continue to grow as occupational therapists play an important role in the treatment of patients with various illnesses or disabilities such as cerebral palsy, loss of limb, Alzheimer’s disease and many others.
Functions of Occupational Therapists in L.A.
The job of an occupational therapist is very challenging. Their goal is to understand the lifestyle of every patient in order to create the best plan of treatment for them. As a healthcare provider, they also do the following;
- Assist patient in returning to work
- Develop rehabilitation programs to restore skills and confidence of patients
- Educate patients on anxiety management techniques
- Teach patients on using assistive equipments for daily activities
- Organize a rehabilitation group for patients
- Coach patients with poor social skills in dealing with people as well as those who have learning difficulties
- Modify home as well as workplace environment
- Coordinate with social workers, physiotherapist, doctors, immediate family and employers of the patient
- Train and supervise students as well as occupational therapy assistants
Becoming an Occupational Therapist in Los Angeles
When considering a career as an occupational therapist, a master’s degree should be taken together with six months of supervised work. Admission to this program requires a specific coursework or a bachelor’s degree in biology or physiology. The master’s degree usually takes 2 years of completion while the doctoral program is longer. However, there are some schools that offer a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the same time. This usually takes 5 years of completion with several months of field work as well.
Before taking a degree in occupational therapy, the school should be accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association (http://www.aota.org/) or AOTA. In Los Angeles, the following schools have accreditation for occupational therapy program;
- University of Southern California (http://ot.usc.edu/) – The university offers a BS to MA curriculum program in occupational therapy. Students have to complete one or two years of professional coursework in order to get a major in occupational therapy. This focuses on professional contents required by ACOTE or Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (www.acoteonline.org/). Aside from classroom sessions, hands-on opportunities are also integrated in the program. Students who wished to be certified as an occupational therapist can get a Master’s degree program which takes 9 to 12 months of completion.
- University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (http://www.usa.edu/educational_programs.aspx) – The university offers the best educational training for occupational therapy with an innovative environment that allows students to maximize their potential and practice the profession. They have a Master of Occupational Therapy program, a dual degree option and a doctoral degree program.
- Dominican University of California (http://www.dominican.edu/academics/hns/ot/) – The university offers classroom as well as clinical education for occupational therapy. Undergraduate students who wished to take the degree program can undergo a combined BS and MA. Small classes are provided in order to ensure full attention and support to students.
Once the master’s degree program is done, students become eligible in taking the national certification examination. Registration, certification and renewal of license for occupational therapist are done through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy or NBCOT (www.nbcot.org/).