What Does an Occupational Therapist Do?

If you are a generally healthy person, it may be difficult for you to grasp just how many different medical professionals are out there. From standard nurses and doctors such as general practitioners, to much more niche professionals such as nephrologists or perfusionist – pretty much every part of the body and every function can have its own special kind of medical professional.

And no wonder, our bodies are hugely complex and impossible for just one person to fully understand and be able to heal. One of such lesser-known professions is an occupational therapist.

At Ventura MedStaff, we offer traveling short-term employment to many different profiles of medical professionals, including occupational therapists so we came up with this profile overview for anyone interested in becoming one.


Educational Background

In order to become an occupational therapist, you typically only need a bachelor’s degree in this field. That being said, most OTs go on to complete a master’s degree as well. Not only is it better paid, but you also have an opportunity to specialize in a particular field that interests you.

If you are considering becoming an OT, make sure that your educational program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

Upon the completion of your education, fieldwork is essential. This, like in most other medical professions, is supervised by a mentor – a certified occupational therapist. After a year of internship, you are ready to complete the national certification exam to obtain a license to practice occupational therapy.


What Are the Work Duties of an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational therapists help people through therapeutic activities in order to compensate for some problems, or to recover after an injury, for example. These activities may include physical, mental, developmental or emotional help which means that an OT needs to have a varied set of skills and a lot of patience and abilities to think on their feet – no two cases are likely to be the same.

As an occupational therapist, you will help your patients regain or achieve independence and the ability to lead a normal life. This is a gradual process, so patience is crucial.


Who Does an Occupational Therapist Work With

As mentioned before, the range of people who can benefit from the services of an OT is wide. It can be young children with developmental issues, through people with mental conditions who need help, workers recovering from injuries, all the way to old people requiring help to adjust to their new lives.

Occupational therapists can also continue their education and become specialized in one or a few of the fields in OT, such as gerontology, mental help, pediatrics, school support, physical rehabilitation, etc.


How to Find Your Niche

With such a broad field of interest, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right niche for yourself, and you may even spend years doing odds and ends before you find what really interests you.

However, there might be a fairly easy solution to the conundrum – traveling medical professionals sign up for short-term contracts in different parts of the country in different settings and they get to experience the broadest range of situations their respective professions have to offer. If you are unsure where your place is, perhaps this is the right choice for you, too. It also helps that traveling medical professionals, on average, earn significantly more than the residents at the same facility.

Earning more and discovering your true calling, while experiencing different parts of the US – if that sounds like something you would be interested in, reach out to Ventura MedStaff, and our recruiters will give you the full details on how it works.



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