Occupational therapists work with patients who have injuries, illnesses, or emotionally or mentally disabling conditions, from strokes to attention deficit disorder. They help their patients improve, regain and develop the skills needed for daily life and work, such as basic motor functions and reasoning abilities.
These analyzers and healers need a combination of critical thinking and problem solving paired with patience, empathy, and interpersonal skills. They need to genuinely enjoy working with patients and helping them progress. OTs generally spend a lot of time on their feet while working with patients, so physical stamina is also a must. Their duties include conducting physical assessment of clients, developing treatment plans, assessing work and home environments of clients, and developing physical rehabilitation programs. They may also provide long-term patient care and acute patient care. About half of occupational therapists work in hospitals or occupational therapy offices, with the other half working in schools, nursing homes, and home health services.
OTs typically have a master’s degree in occupational therapy, and all states require them to be licensed. Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 18% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.