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Required Education & Licensure
Certification through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and a maaster’s degree is required to be an occupational therapist.
What do they do?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that occupational therapists observe patients doing tasks, ask them questions, and review their medical history, evaluate a patient's condition and needs, develop a treatment plan for patients, laying out the types of activities and specific goals to be accomplished, help people with various disabilities with different tasks, such as leading an autistic child in play activities, demonstrate exercises—for example, joint stretches for arthritis relief—that can help relieve pain for people with chronic conditions, evaluate a patient’s home or workplace and, based on the patient’s health needs, identify potential improvements, such as labeling kitchen cabinets for an older person with poor memory, educate a patient’s family and employer about how to accommodate and care for the patient, recommend special equipment, such as wheelchairs and eating aids, and instruct patients on how to use that equipment, assess and record patients’ activities and progress for patient evaluations, for billing, and for reporting to physicians and other healthcare providers.
Where do they work?
Hospitals, schools, nursing homes, physician’s offices, and home health services
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for occupational therapists was $75,400 in May 2012.