What's it like to be an Occupational Therapist?
As an Occupational Therapist (OT) your primary goal is to help people carry out daily tasks independently. You may work in hospitals, workplaces, schools, nursing homes, private clinics or private homes.
Tasks and duties
- Assessing injured workers to determine the best way to help them get back to work.
- Visiting workplaces to gain an understanding on what challenges an injured worker may face when trying to get back to work.
- Reviewing high risk manual tasks at workplaces to determine how they can be performed more safely.
- Providing clinical opinions and justification through comprehensive report writing.
- Running workshops on health and wellbeing topics.
- Consulting with insurers, medical practitioners and employers.
- Conducting Pre-Employment Assessments to help ensure workers are fit for work.
Occupational Therapists focus on providing personal care for individuals (such as bathing, dressing, preparing food), aiding their productivity (including assisting them at work, in volunteer work or at school), and supporting them with leisure activities (such as involvement in sports, art or music). The OT works in consultation with each of their clients to address their goals and provide assistance where necessary.
OTs tend to focus on tasks that will alleviate physical discomfort and promote social connectedness, independence, emotional wellbeing and general health for their clients.
What can I earn as an Occupational Therapist?
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How to become an Occupational Therapist
- Complete an undergraduate degree in Occupational Therapy. Undergraduate occupational therapy courses in Australia generally take 4 years.
- Alternatively, after completing an undergraduate degree in any field, you may complete a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. This pathway would generally take 5 to 5 ½ years (3 years for the undergraduate degree and 2 to 2 ½ years for the master’s program). There may be prerequisite subjects that you must complete in your undergraduate course to be eligible to apply for a master’s program to become an Occupational Therapist.
- Gain work experience. This may include, for example, working as a nanny for a child with special needs or working at a summer camp for people with disabilities.
- Register with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia and meet the Board's registration standards in order to practise in Australia.
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