According to “The Complete Medical Guide”, by Benjamin F. Miller, Occupational Therapy is “The teaching of some useful trade or handicraft to sick or handicapped persons to give them something to do while recovering; or to help them earn a living.” It’s a form of psychotherapy, closely related to “guidance and counseling.”
“These forms of help play the same kind of role in psychotherapy as nursing care does in medical care. The most common of these is occupational therapy,” Benjamin F. Miller writes.
“This term is apt to make us picture insane people weaving baskets. Actually it means far more than providing methods of relieving tension. People whose emotional problems are associated with the fact that they do not feel useful (perhaps because of old age, ill health, or lack of opportunity) are often tremendously benefited by doing something that makes them realize they are creative, successful, and independent–on even a small scale.”
Many hospitals have departments for Physical and Occupational Therapists. The directors of this department are graduates from physical or occupational therapy schools approved by the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals of the American Medical Association.
Occupational therapists train disabled persons for new skills and jobs that are compatible with their disabilities; occupational therapy also includes crafts and other work to help patient morale.
- 2012 Median Pay – $75,400 per year – $36.25 per hour
- Entry-level – Education Master’s degree
- Number of jobs, 2012 – 113,200
About half of Occupational Therapists work in offices of occupational therapy or in hospitals. Others work in schools, nursing homes, physicians’ offices, and home health services. Therapists spend a lot of time on their feet while working with patients.
How to become an Occupational Therapist
Most Occupational Therapists enter the occupation with a master’s degree in Occupational therapy. In March 2013, there were 149 Occupational Therapy programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, part of the American Occupational Therapy Association; 145 are master’s degree programs and the remaining 4 are doctoral degree programs.
Master’s programs generally take 2 to 3 years to complete; doctoral programs take about 3 years. Some schools offer a dual-degree program in which the student earns a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in 5 years.
Occupational Therapists are usually drawn to the profession by a desire to help people and improve the daily lives of others.
Sources: Benjamin F. Miller, M.D., “The Complete Medical Guide Revised” | “Occupational Therapist: Occupational Outlook Handbook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics”