How to Become an Occupational Therapist
For those looking to pursue a career in healthcare, becoming an occupational therapist may be an ideal choice. Occupational therapists assess, diagnose, and provide treatment to those with physical and mental disabilities or those recovering from injury. They help patients regain the ability to perform everyday activities, such as dressing, cooking, and using the bathroom, and develop strategies to cope with illness and disability. Becoming an occupational therapist takes dedication and hard work, but it is a rewarding and fulfilling career.
The first step to becoming an occupational therapist is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field. Examples of degree programs include exercise science, public health, psychology, and sociology. During the undergraduate program, students will gain a foundation in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and the basics of research methods. After completing the degree program, students must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam to become certified.
Next, those looking to become an occupational therapist must obtain a master’s degree in occupational therapy from an accredited college or university. Master’s programs typically require two years of study and include coursework in clinical practice and research, anatomy and physiology, and nutrition and pharmacology. Students will also gain hands-on experience in clinical settings, such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes.
Once a master’s degree has been obtained, the next step is to obtain a license and certification from the NBCOT. In order to obtain a license, candidates must pass the National Examination for Occupational Therapists. After passing the exam, a person can then apply for state licensure.
Although becoming an occupational therapist requires a great deal of dedication, it is a rewarding career that helps people improve their quality of life. With the right education, experience, and licensure, a person can become an occupational therapist and make a difference in the lives of those in need.