Occupational Therapy (OT) Practitioner
Occupational Therapy (OT) practitioners contribute to improving independence and quality of life for people of all ages in a diversity of settings concerned with health care, education, community and social services. They serve individuals or groups who experience impairment, loss of activity, or the ability to participate fully in meaningful occupations secondary to genetic disorders, chronic conditions, illness, trauma, mental impairment, or social conditions such as poverty and violence. “Occupations” refer to all the things people do in their daily living that reflect their cultural value, provide structure to routines and roles, and give meaning to their lives. These are all the activities that people engage in that meet the needs for self care, enjoyment, and participation in society. The occupational therapy process includes assessment of the strengths, limitations, and challenges that people experience in doing the things they need, want or are expected to do. Intervention focuses on the remediation of skills to regain independent function, or the modification of the tasks or of the environment to facilitate one’s ability to perform occupations and ensure their maximal productivity. Occupational Therapists earn a Master’s Degree and Occupational Therapy Assistants an Associate Degree. There are also Doctoral Degrees in Occupational Science for therapists seeking roles in research or education. Occupational therapists may seek Board Certification through the American Occupational Therapy Association in specialty areas including Gerontology, Mental Health, Pediatrics, or Physical Rehabilitation. Specialty Certifications can also awarded for specialized training and experience in driving and community mobility, feeding eating and swallowing, environmental modification, and low vision.