Feeling Good: The History of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy assistants provide creative solutions and therapeutic aid under the close supervision of registered occupational therapists. Occupational therapy assistants aid people with mental and physical challenges by improving skills for independence relative to daily living. This is done through involvement in relevant daily tasks and activities.

Occupational Therapy: The Past

In the early 1900s, Susan Tracy began using the term “occupational nurse.” The term describes nurses who treat mentally ill patients through therapeutic occupation or activity. Tracy then began training nurses in this specialty.

By 1914, architect George Edward Barton made contact with Dr. William R. Dunton, Jr. to formally establish an association for people interested in learning about “occupational work,” a term synonymous with occupational therapy.

Three years later, in 1917, the National Society for the Promotion of Occupational Therapy (NSPOT) was founded with charter members Susan Tracy and George E. Barton. Four years later, NSPOT’s name was changed to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Formal accreditation for occupational therapists was formalized with the development for the first educational curriculum in 1923.

Demand for trained occupational therapists increases over the next few decades. By 1958, AOTA approves the formal certification process for occupational therapy assistants, in an attempt to help meet the demand. The formalization of occupational therapy education was completed in the 1960s, when St. Catherine’s University became the first university to offer a two year Associate’s Degree Program for occupational therapy assistants.

Occupational Therapy: The Present

So now that we’ve established the history of occupational therapy – a fairly recent profession – what does the current state of the industry look like? Nowadays, an occupational therapy assistant needs to attend a school accredited by the Council for Occupational Therapy Education. The field is dominated by women; in fact, 90% of occupational therapists are women.

As far as pay rate goes, most occupational therapists can expect to earn between $19.53 and $27.29 per hour; overtime can equal between $28.25 and $39.72 per hour. Bonuses average between $102.33 and $1441, making the total annual pay range for therapists between $39,557 and $56,383.

A certified occupational therapy assistant can usually command a salary range between $39,557 and $56,383. Senior certified occupational therapy assistants usually average a bit higher, between $46,560 and $62,593. On average, occupational therapists can expect to make between $50,042 and $69,779. The difference in salary is usually determined by years of experience and level of education attained.

It is common for occupational therapists to enjoy health benefits; in fact, 68% of therapists have medical coverage. Dental insurance is available to nearly 57% of therapists and vision care at 42%. Of all the occupational therapists working in the industry, approximately 29% (roughly a third) have no medical benefits at all.

Occupational Therapy: The Future

Currently, the top four most popular industries for occupational therapists are: occupational therapy, healthcare, long-term care, and rehabilitation. The average salary per hour of these industries is listed below:

  • Occupational therapy pays the most, at $20.20 to $27.95 per hour;
  • Healthcare comes second, at $19.38 to $26.82 per hour;
  • Long-term care comes third, at $19.91 to $26.68 per hour;
  • Rehabilitation comes last, at $19.42 to $26.64 per hour.

Currently, employment in the occupational therapy industry stands at 26,600. By 2018, that number is expected to grow to 34,600. The field already experienced an 18% growth rate in 2008, meaning that this is an occupation that will continue growing well into the future. The unemployment rate was only 3%. Average age for retirement in the field is 62 – meaning that this is a career that people can follow for their entire lives.

If you enjoy helping people and want to build a career in a growing industry, then the field of occupational therapy may be an excellent fit for your needs.

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Find the Best Occupational Therapy Colleges

Occupational therapy colleges prepare students with courses that help them learn how to work with patients. Students take courses that will help them identify areas in which their patients need assistance and determine solutions to solve their problems. Occupational therapists practice their craft in a variety of settings because they may visit work locations, homes, and schools to help their patients.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapists help their patients learn methods to complete daily tasks that may include dressing themselves, eating, getting to work, typing, or writing. Courses available in occupational therapy schools, also teach students to help patients with mental functions that may have somehow been disrupted. Occupational therapists must be able to communicate and demonstrate alternate ways to perform tasks.

The best occupational therapy colleges will provide students with training from teachers who have recently worked in the field. These professionals can give students insight on some of the special challenges and rewards associated with the career, based on their own experiences. They can also tell you about the work culture in the job, and discuss current technology and how they use this technology with their own patients. You will get a richer experience when your teachers are enthusiastic about the profession and have this recent experience.

Ask questions from other students when choosing between occupational therapy colleges. Students who are currently in the program may be able to help you select the program that will give you the best education for your money. Make a list of questions that you’d like to ask students who are in the program. If you have trouble finding students who can recommend programs, try seeking out bulletin boards that focus on occupational therapy. Read the bulletin boards for a few weeks to determine if your question is appropriate. You can also use the search engines on the forums to see if you question had previously been asked. If the question is appropriate and has not been asked dozens of times before, query the participants on the board. You are likely to get various different responses and opinions, and forum participants are likely to give you heartfelt feedback about the programs.

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Occupational Therapy Courses -3 Benefits of Advanced Training

Students with an interest in the medical field may want to consider taking occupational therapy courses. Graduation from an accredited occupational therapy program will allow the student to work towards certification as a therapist, and these programs generally only last two years. There are many benefits to completing this advanced training; this article will address three major assets that a degree program will offer you.

Gain Valuable Job Skills

In a tough economy, many people have been left unemployed or underemployed. Those needing to reeducate themselves in order to switch careers may have good luck with occupational therapy courses. These programs are often two year associates degrees, making the time investment minimal for the results obtained. If you’ve been considering a career change, research the educational options available in your area.

Potential for Growth in the Field

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for occupational therapists is expected to grow faster than average for the next few years. This means that, depending on your geographical location, you may be able to have your pick from several available jobs after completing this in demand certification. As the baby boomer generation ages, the demand for therapists, nurses, and medical professionals is likely to continue to grow.

High Salary after a Short Degree Program

The salary range for an occupational therapist ranges from $30,000-$50,000 for entry level applicants. This will vary based on your location and your individual skill set. This is a relatively high salary for someone with an Associates degree, and the salary may increase as you gain experience and advance yourself in your field.

If you’re looking to make a career change, or simply need to enter the job market quickly, occupational therapy courses may be a good way to get the education you need. Whether you choose an online or a brick and mortar school, be sure it is accredited in your state, so that your courses will count when you sit for your certification exam. As you work through your degree program, network with your professors and fellow students, so that you can use them as references in the future.

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Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs Requirements for Licensing in NY

Students completing occupational therapy assistant programs must apply for a license. Each state has their own licensing requirements. Individuals completing occupational therapy assistant programs in New York must comply with several requirements of this state. Occupational therapy assistants must be certified by the state of New York to be able to carry that title and work in their career field.

Occupational therapy assistant programs prepare the student with training and requisites to be able to apply for state certification. In New York, a candidate for certification must meet the requirements for education and must submit the application and necessary forms to the Office of the Professions. In addition, the application must be sent along with the fee for certification. The fee for occupational therapy assistant certification is $103. The fee can be paid in check or money order, and may increase. In the case of an increase, the candidate will be mailed a bill for the difference. The check or money order must be made out to the New York Estate Education Department, and must be mailed to the following address – PO Box 22063 – Albany, New York 12201.

Education requirements for occupational therapy assistants to be able to become certified are as follows: an associate degree from a New York registered program or from an AOTA – American Occupational Therapy Association – accredited program. For individuals with a degree other than a New York registered program or a non-AOTA accredited program, the requirements are a post secondary program degree on occupational therapy or the two years duration, but it must be approved by the NY State Education Department. Candidates for certification must present proof of a degree from their registrar office. The Registrar Office will mail this proof called a Certification of Professional Education to the Division of Professional Licensing Services – Occupational Therapy Unit. Individuals who have a degree from a foreign school must contact the Commission on Graduates from Foreign Nursing Schools to obtain a verification of credentials. The credentials must be validated by the CGFNS and by the New York State Education Department. The number to contact the CGFNS is 215-349-8767. Verification does not guarantee the candidate a certification. Occupational therapy assistants do not have to take an examination to be certified by the state of New York.

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Enjoy a Fulfilling Career in Occupational Therapy

What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy helps people with mental, physical or developmental disabilities perform activities of daily living and work. Patients in occupational therapy need assistance developing, recovering or maintaining the skills and abilities necessary to function successfully. Occupational therapy is a treatment method that helps disabled children thrive in school, teaches new skills to people severely and permanently injured and helps stroke survivors become as functional and independent as possible.

What Happens in Occupational Therapy?
In occupational therapy, therapists assist patients, in every stage of life, gain or regain activities and abilities that they have lost due to illness, injury or condition. They evaluate all factors and circumstances that influence the patient’s ability to succeed. Therapists assess the patient’s mental, physical and emotional condition. Assessments involve a patient’s work, home and school environments. They also consider the client’s social environments. With this information, they develop a treatment plan that may include training, therapy or special equipment for the patient, with education for family and care givers. Therapists can recommend changes in the home or work environment that allow a physically challenged person to live more independently or return to work. In working with elderly clients they may recommend ways to compensate for deteriorating cognitive or physical abilities.

Where Do Occupational Therapists Work?
Occupational therapy takes place in many settings. Mental health occupational therapy involves helping the mentally ill or developmentally challenged successfully perform activities of daily living. This can involve teaching things like shopping, budgeting, personal hygiene, or cooking. Occupational therapists work in hospitals, schools, nursing care facilities, and rehabilitation centers. Some are self-employed, working out of their home and traveling where needed.

What are the Educational Requirements for Occupational Therapy?
The minimum education requirement is a master’s degree in occupational therapy. Occupational therapy is state-regulated and requires a license obtainable after completing an accredited program and passing the national certification exam. Upon successful completion of the exam, a person receives the title Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR). Specific state licensing procedures vary between states. Educational programs must be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Full-time and part-time programs are available through many schools. Beyond class work, accredited programs require 24 weeks of supervised work in the field.

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The Occupational Therapy Salary Range

An occupational therapy salary depends on many things. Where the therapist works, how much experience they have, and what part of the country they live in can all greatly influence their salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 the average occupational therapy salary was about $70,680. This equates to approximately $33.98 an hour. The range for occupational therapists salaries generally ranges from about $57,000 to about $84,000. However, the highest earners in the profession can earn over $100,000 a year.

Therapists work in a wide variety of settings, such as doctor’s offices, elementary and secondary schools, and hospitals. The practitioners with the highest occupational therapy salary work in home health. Their annual salary is about $81,000 a year, or a little over $39 an hour. Other settings which offered occupational therapists the highest annual salaries were: employment services (where therapists averaged around $80,000 annually), doctors offices (about $78,000 annually), and nursing homes ($75,000 annually).

An occupational therapy salary can also differ, depending on what part of the country the occupational therapists works in. The state with the highest annual wages for occupational therapists is California, where they average $82,600 annually. Other states with high annual salaries for occupational therapists are: Nevada ($81,300 annually), New Jersey ($80,000 annually), Maryland ($78,900 annually), and Texas ($78,400).

An occupational therapist’s own background can influence their salary. As they gain experience, their salary will also increase. Additionally, they can get a certification from the National Board for Certifying Occupational Therapy. Although this certification is voluntary, it can help an occupational therapists negotiate a higher salary and apply for higher paying positions. Occupational therapists can also increase their earnings by moving into supervisory roles.

Demand for occupational therapists is forecast to rise much faster than demand for other careers. One reason is that the population of the United States is getting older. As people age, they experience more injuries and ailments which require the services of an occupational therapists. With people in the baby boom just starting to retire, it is predicted that the demand for occupational therapy services will be high for many years in the future.

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3 Types of Occupational Therapy Assistant Jobs

There are many different types of occupational therapy assistant jobs, also known as OTA jobs. Occupational therapists work with children, adults, and senior citizens. Wondering what to do with your occupational therapy degree? Consider working with the elderly, disabled individuals, or the mentally ill.

Occupational therapy jobs with the elderly
Do you enjoy interacting with senior citizens? About one-third of occupational therapy assistants work with elderly patients, and the number is expected to increase drastically over the next few years. The main goal of occupational therapy for the elderly is to help them live their lives independently, without assistance from family members or caretakers. Some OTAs help check homes for safety hazards. Other OTAs assist the elderly with driving and transportation issues. If helping senior citizens live an active, healthy life sounds like something you would enjoy, an occupational therapy career with a focus on treating the elderly is an option you should consider.

Occupational therapy jobs with disabled individuals
Do you tend to focus on what people can do, as opposed to what they can’t? Occupational therapy assistants help disabled adults and children reach their full potential. A typical day in the life of an OTA who works with permanently disabled adults and children may include shopping, cooking, cleaning, and driving. An OTA may also accompany a disabled adult or teen at their job, or help them to secure employment. If you are patient, caring, and want to achieve others live the best life possible, working with disabled individuals might be right for you.

Occupational therapy jobs with the mentally ill
Do you work well in situations others find stressful? The mental health field is notorious for having a high turnover rate, but many occupational therapy assistants find working with the mentally ill to be incredibly rewarding. An OTA specializing in mental health works with individuals who are emotionally disturbed or mentally ill, as well as individuals suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction. Some OTAs help the mentally ill live independently, as opposed to in an institution. Other OTAs help individuals suffering from abuse and addiction get their life back on track. If you enjoy a challenge, you are an ideal candidate for occupational therapy assistant jobs in mental health.

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Occupational Therapy Jobs: Understanding the Different Kinds

Occupational therapy jobs generally deal directly with patients either on an individual or group basis. Occupational therapists devise, implement, and manage treatments to ensure that the patient acquires the knowledge and skills to overcome his or her disability – may it be physical, mental, developmental, or any other aspect – and led a relatively normal, independent, and happy lifestyle. Occupational therapy jobs vary according to the type of patient you would like to acquire specialized skills for treatment.

Pediatric Occupational Therapy
One kind of occupational therapy job is pediatric occupational therapy or occupational therapy for children. Children diagnosed with autism or any similar disorders are the primary candidates for pediatric occupational therapy. Occupational therapists would have better chances of succeeding with their treatment if they start early on and have the cooperation of the patient’s parents and other loved ones. If you would like to specialize in providing occupational therapy for children, you must have a keen interest and a genuine passion for caring for children. At their age, they cannot be expected to fully understand and appreciate the treatment, thus making it potentially more difficult for the treatment to succeed.

Geriatric Occupational Therapy
The second kind is geriatric occupational therapy. As people grow older, they become more vulnerable to various diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and are at higher risk of incurring a stroke or heart attack. These conditions can vastly limit their motor functions and living skills, forcing them to re-learn basic skills or learn new ones as a way of adapting to their new or changed condition. Similar to pediatric occupational therapy, specializing in this type of occupation would require an individual to be adept at working with the various traits, moods, and behaviors that are commonly associated with the age range of your patients.

Substance Abuse Therapy
Finally, the third kind is occupational therapy dealing with substance abuse or addiction. It could be an addiction to alcohol, prescription medication, or recreational drugs. Excess and unnecessary intake of such substances can have severe mental, physical, emotional, and psychological consequences that limit a person’s ability to live without support from other people. If you wish to specialize in treating patients recovering from substance abuse or addiction, you need to be prepared for the possibility that many of them would be initially hostile and reluctant to respond to treatment.

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Pediatric Occupational Therapy: Things to Know about This Program

Your child is typically in need of pediatric occupational therapy if he or she is suffering from autism, an extreme case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or any other condition that affects his or her skills or capabilities to live a normal, independent, and satisfying life.

How Pediatric Occupational Therapy Helps
Fine motor skills refer to the movement of small muscles found in your kid’s hands and fingers. Gross motor skills refer to the bigger muscles located in his or her legs and arms. Visual motor skills refer to a person’s ability to move based on his or her vision, sense of sight, or his or her perception of visual data. Oral motor skills refer to anything that has to do with the movement of a child’s mouth, tongue, lips, and jaw. This could be related to biting, sucking, chewing, and speaking. Motor planning skills refer to the ability to plan and coordinate all or a combination of the aforementioned skills to perform a sequence of actions that require the use of motor skills, such as when you are biking or playing any other sport. Finally, self-care skills refer to the ability to care for one’s self without help, which includes a person’s ability to dress and feed one’s self, read and write, perform toilet functions, and make sensible decisions. If your child is suffering from problems in acquiring or performing any of the skills mentioned here, then he or she needs pediatric occupational therapy.

How Pediatric Occupational Therapy Works
It will always begin with an evaluation or assessment session to determine if your child does need this type of therapy. If it is confirmed, then the evaluation will proceed to determine how much of what kind of help is required. In most cases, parents and other concerned parties will also be interviewed to determine the kind of home and school environment the child is exposed to. From there, the pediatric occupational therapist will devise a plan that would best suit the needs of the child.

Role of Parents in Pediatric Occupational Therapy
Support from loved ones is integral to the success of pediatric occupational therapy. Anything and everything that the child learns in therapy must be reinforced at home, in school, and any other environment that he or she is constantly exposed to.

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Boost Your Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary with Experience and Education

How much is the average occupational assistant salary? This is a legitimate question for those considering becoming an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant. Occupational therapists have an interesting, dynamic job working under the direct supervision of licensed occupational therapists. They provide a variety of services to help rehabilitate people who have been impaired by issues of all kinds, from mental and emotional problems to developmental issues. Occupational therapy assistants make anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 per year. The average salary for a certified occupational therapy assistant in the United States is about $47,000 but there are a variety of things that could affect a person’s salary.

Experience
Experience is one of the major factors that play into how much an occupational therapy assistant will make in a given year. In addition, a person working as an occupational therapy aide in a big city may make more money than a person doing the same job in a more rural area.

Licensure
Certification is voluntary. More and more facilities are required occupational therapy aides to be licensed, but many people practice with a lot of experience and no certification. If you want to make the most money possible it is important to get licensed. The requirements and certification process varies from state to state, but proper licensure is critical to achieving a desirable salary.

Education
Consider pursuing an associate’s degree as an occupational therapy aide. You can go even further and pursue a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy so you can be a therapist, and not just an aide or assistant. The more education you have, the more you are worth. Consider taking continuing education classes to stay abreast of changing trends and technologies and make yourself more marketable at the same time.

A career as an occupational therapist can be rewarding, to say the least. There are many things to consider before you start your career, and the issue of occupational therapy assistant salary is an important consideration.

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