Occupational therapy is a vital health care service that uses occupation as the basis for treatment of people of all ages with a wide variety of physical, developmental, and emotional disabilities. Occupations are everyday, purposeful activities that all people engage in as part of their daily routines.
What do occupational therapists do?
Occupational therapists help disabled people of all ages acquire or regain the skills they need to live independent, productive, and satisfying lives. They work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, public and private schools, and home health agencies.
Occupational therapists are responsible for evaluating clients and developing treatment plans to assist clients in achieving their goals. They provide functional treatment activities for clients individually and in groups, and they choose or fabricate equipment that helps people function more independently. Occupational therapists supervise certified occupational therapy assistants in carrying out treatment plans and possess skills to work with a variety of allied health professionals. Money Magazine names the Occupational Therapist as one of 50 top jobs. For more information please see the AOTA press release (PDF).
Graduate Program Information
A graduate degree in occupational therapy includes coursework focusing on theoretical constructs and their application to clinical practice, research competencies, and professional leadership skills. The occupational therapy program requires six to nine months of full-time (usually 40 hours per week) internships in a variety of health care settings. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from clinical facilities as well as any other costs associated with clinical placements.
To ensure continuity of application of academic concepts, all fieldwork must be completed within 24 months following academic preparation and 2 months prior to the NBCOT Certification Examination date.
The Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) Program has been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE's phone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is ACOTEonline.org.
Graduates are able to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT), located at One Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. NBCOT sets its own criteria for taking the exam, which may include questions on the applicant's criminal history. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT Certification examination or attain state licensure.
For more information on these limitations, you can contact NBCOT at (301) 990-7979. After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.