So You Want to Have a Career Helping People Get or Stay Healthy
Today, landing a job in the healthcare industry might be easier than ever. Jobs for occupational therapy assistants, for example, are expected to increase by 34% from 2020-2030, a rate that is much faster than average.1
So what does an occupational therapist do?
- Work with people in, or recovery from, cancer treatment to lessen the side effects on daily functioning
- Perform health risks assessments such as the potential for falls, the effect of low vision and/or cognitive issues on safety in daily tasks, and how well the home accommodates current and potential disabilities
- Evaluate children for gross and fine motor, sensory processing, or adaptive behavior deficits that may result in or from developmental delays
- Teach strategies to incorporate healthy habits and routines into daily activities for clients of all ages and abilities
- Identify solutions to personal and environmental barriers (e.g., mental health issues, lack of community mobility) that are limiting clients from engaging in healthy activities
- Provide skills training in areas such as socialization, caregiving, parenting, time management, stress management, etc.
Once would-be occupational therapy practitioners discover that OT is a perfect fit, the next question they tend to ask is simple: Where do occupational therapy practitioners provide health promotion services?
The list is virtually limitless, but a few examples include things like:
- Community-based fall prevention programs for seniors
- Workplace injury prevention and wellness programs
- Office ergonomic assessments for computer workstations to decrease repetitive motion and musculoskeletal disorders
- Stress and anger management programs for children in juvenile detention programs
- Parenting classes for teens, parents in homeless shelters, or those recovering from drug dependency
- School backpack safety programs to prevent injury from heavy loads
- Self-management programs to enable those with chronic diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiac conditions to optimize health through appropriate routines (modifications when necessary) and participate in meaningful occupations
- CarFit programs for drivers to accommodate their needs (e.g., limited neck mobility) through minor adaptations and adjustments to the car
- Caregiver education programs to prevent injury and/or burnout
Occupational therapy practitioners look at all aspects of a person’s life and areas of function to support optimal health. By promoting a client-centered approach to performing daily activities (occupations related to self-care, home management, and community participation), and adoption of healthy habits and routines (medication management, safety), occupational therapy practitioners facilitate health across the lifespan.
Does all this sound rewarding to you? If so, consider a degree in occupational therapy! Visit huntington.edu/OTA to learn more about the first accredited occupational therapy assistant bachelor’s degree program in the nation. Huntington University also offers a doctoral degree in occupational therapy.