Most occupational therapists worked in hospitals or in the offices of other health professionals. Many worked in nursing care facilities and schools.
OTs spend a significant amount of their workday standing. They often have to lift patients and heavy equipment.
Certain personal qualities contribute to one's success in this field. An occupational therapist needs good communication skills in order to relay instructions to their patients. He or she must also be a good listener. Strong interpersonal skills will help him or her establish relationships with clients that are based on trust and respect. An OT must also have good writing skills since he or she often shares information with other members of a patient's healthcare team.
A Day in an Occupational Therapist's Life:
- assist clients in performing activities of all types
- use physical exercises to help patients increase strength and dexterity
- use activities to help patients improve visual acuity and the ability to discern patterns
- use computer programs to help clients improve decision-making, abstract-reasoning, problem-solving, memory, sequencing, coordination and perceptual skills
- design or make special equipment needed at home or at work
- develop computer-aided adaptive equipment and teach clients with severe limitations how to use that equipment in order to communicate better and control various aspects of their environment
Occupational therapists may work with particular populations, for example children or the elderly, or they may work in specialized settings including mental health.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Occupational Therapists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm (visited December 17, 2012).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Occupational Therapists, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/link/details/29-1122.00 (visited October 17, 2012).