How to become an Occupational Therapist

Do you have a desire to work with people with disability? Have a passion to work in the medical sector and serve the human society? Then why not choose to become an Occupational Therapist? Read this article to know detailed information about occupational therapy.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy is a program of mental /physical activity to assist people who are disabled/recovering from disease or injury. It can help people to get the most of their lives when for whatever reason; they are unable to carry out everyday tasks. It is an allied health profession done by occupational therapists, who are educated professionals and possess a license for practicing.

Work of Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapists work with people who have physical/mental/ social problems, regardless of whether the problem has been from birth or is the result of an accident, illness/ageing. The purpose of the OT is to work out what people need and want to do for themselves in their daily lives and to maximize their ability to achieve this, however it may not always be possible to achieve or restore all the functions they may desire. To establish exactly what the individual person wants to achieve the OT begins with a thorough assessment of his or her needs and lifestyle. The therapists also seek to establish the reason why a person is unable to perform certain tasks. He or she may be then adapt the living or working environment of the persons, teach a different way of coping with particular difficulties or recommend therapeutic activities to improve coordination, concentration or strength.

OT 's work with other professionals from different areas such as physical and speech therapy, audiology, nursing, social work, clinical psychology and medicine. OT works with the clients using the occupational therapy process through a sequence of actions which includes evaluation components, intervention and the outcomes/results. Treatments are always tailored to the individual and a large proportion of the occupational therapist's work will take place in a person own home/work environment. Making simple adjustments such as repositioning furniture equipment, or changing its height can make a significant difference to someone's independence. As a person level of functioning improves the occupational therapist, will focus on other aspects of life-meal preparation, leisure and social interests or employment opportunities. Since recovery rates vary, the occupational therapist will design a personalized treatment plan, based on the individual person's; lifestyle and ability.

How Occupational Therapy can help or benefit

  • Occupational therapy helps children and youth in various ways. It helps in promoting wellness programs for children in schools to prevent obesity and enables learning disabilities and handwriting development. It provides treatment for sensory processing difficulties in individuals and helps students to develop the skills required for their transition to employment. They help children to develop skills that help them to take part in meaningful occupations. It may include activities such as feeding, playing, socializing and attending school.
  • In adult rehabilitation OT's address the need for rehabilitation by working with adults with autism, they help in increasing the quality of life for cancer patients by providing stress reduction programs. The occupational therapy helps patients to manage fatigue and provide coaching to an individual with amputations of limbs and train them in the functional use of limbs. OT's work with individuals with stokes disability to regain strength and endurance and develop motion of their affected sides.
  • In industries and work setting, they work with clients who want to return to work after having an injury. They also help in preventing injuries due to work-related activities. OT's also work with populations such as refugees, prisoners, homeless people and survivors of natural disasters.
  • Occupational therapy can be a stressful and emotional experience for people who are trying to perform activities that they find difficult and perhaps embarrassing. They are not just releasing basic skills, but have to comfort to their own limitations and may be struggling with extremes of hope and despair. They need to be prepared to become fully involved both mentally and physically.

Where do Occupational Therapists work

The place of work of an occupational therapist is patients home, hospitals, day care centres, schools, colleges, social service departments, nursing homes, clinics, industrial and commercial organizations, prisons, charities and voluntary organizations.

What to study to become OT

To become OTs one should study Bachelor of Occupational Therapy course of three years duration. The students who wish to pursue the course must have completed 10+2 or equivalent from a recognized university with 50% in aggregate in science stream. The subjects of study in Occupational therapy course includes Medical terminology, Human development, Anatomy, Physiology, General psychology, General sociology or Anthropology, Abnormal psychology, Statistics, Physics and Kinesiology.

Universities that offer Occupational Therapy Courses in India

  • Annamalai University
  • ADN Institute of Paramedical Science and Hospital
  • Bihar Education Paramedical Institute
  • Christian Medical College
  • Delhi Institute of technology and research

Universities Abroad that offer best Occupational Therapy Masters Program

  • Boston University
  • Washington University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Colorado State University
  • Washington University in St Louis


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