What Is An
Occupational Therapist And What Do They Do? The occupational therapist is a health
professional who is concerned with an individual's ability to participate
effectively in meaningful and purposeful occupations.
Such occupations may include a child's play, self care, school development
and/or interpersonal skills; an adult's work, self management and family
care, interpersonal skills, and leisure; or an aging persons maintenance of
these abilities with dignity. The therapist may work with individuals with
disabilities who wish to regain or compensate for lost abilities, individuals
and families who are at risk for deficits in functional performance, or
agencies to develop appropriate programs to enhance the occupational
performance of populations served.
The certified occupational therapist (OTR) evaluates individuals and develops
programs that include the provision of direct services, consultation with
programs or agencies, and education. The OTR supervises technical personnel
such as the certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) who may assist in
evaluation, program development and implementation of services.
Where Do Occupational Therapists Work?
Occupational Therapists Work At:
- rehabilitation or mental
- nonprofit health-related
- nursing care facilities
- community settings
- private clinics
- physicians offices
- even in industry (preventing
work related dysfunctions)
Skills Are Needed For A Career in Occupational Therapy?
- a strong commitment to serve
- interest and understanding of
the social and biological sciences
- skill in sensitive and
What Type Of
Training Is Required To Become An Occupational Therapist?
- Entry level professional
level education (to become an OTR) is presently at either the
baccalaureate or masters level. It is likely that most programs will
move to the masters level within the next 10 years. The education for
the assistant is at the associate degree level.
- Clinical fieldwork is
completed at the end of the coursework and the professional level (OTR)
requires 24 weeks of full time work while the assistant level requires
12 weeks full time.
Which Colleges In North Carolina Offer An Occupational Therapist Degree?
Credentialing: National certification and state licenses require:
- graduation from a program
accredited by the Accreditation Council
for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American
Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA),
Lane, Bethesda, MD 20824; 301-652-2682;
- successful completion of the
required field work
- successful completion of the
Certification examination of the National Board for Certification of
800 S. Frederick
Avenue, Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MD 20877;
- State license have additional
requirements available from individual state license boards.
What Is The Expected Salary For An Occupational Therapist?
Salaries for entry level occupational therapists in North Carolina may range
from $21,000 to $25,000 for the COTA and from $34,000 to $40,000 for the OTR
depending on location and responsibilities.
For information on East Carolina University