What Do Occupational Therapists Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life

Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapists assess, plan, and organize rehabilitative programs that help build or restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to persons with disabilities or developmental delays. Use therapeutic techniques, adapt the individual's environment, teach skills, and modify specific tasks that present barriers to the individual.

Salary
$87480
Becoming One
Very Hard
Education
Master's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match



Job Description

Job Description

Occupational Therapists assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that help build or restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to persons with disabilities or developmental delays. They also complete and maintain necessary records.

Other tasks include:

  • Test and evaluate patients’ physical and mental abilities and analyze medical data to determine realistic rehabilitation goals for patients.
  • Train caregivers in providing for the needs of a patient during and after therapy.
  • Evaluate patients’ progress and prepare reports that detail progress.
  • Plan, organize, and conduct occupational therapy programs in hospital, institutional, or community settings to help rehabilitate those impaired because of illness, injury or psychological or developmental problems.
  • Select activities that will help individuals learn work and life-management skills within limits of their mental or physical capabilities.
  • Recommend changes in patients’ work or living environments, consistent with their needs and capabilities.

We asked Occupational Therapists how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

77%

How meaningful is this job

91%


77% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 91% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Occupational Therapists complete and maintain necessary records. They recommend changes in patients’ work or living environments, consistent with their needs and capabilities.

A typical day for an Occupational Therapist will also include:

  • Test and evaluate patients’ physical and mental abilities and analyze medical data to determine realistic rehabilitation goals for patients.
  • Select activities that will help individuals learn work and life-management skills within limits of their mental or physical capabilities.
  • Train caregivers in providing for the needs of a patient during and after therapy.
  • Evaluate patients’ progress and prepare reports that detail progress.
  • Lay out materials such as puzzles, scissors and eating utensils for use in therapy, and clean and repair these tools after therapy sessions.

We asked some Occupational Therapists a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job? 62% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job? 62% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job? 95% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job? 48% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job? 5% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job? 57% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Occupational Therapists also consult with rehabilitation team to select activity programs or coordinate occupational therapy with other therapeutic activities. They may also help clients improve decision making, abstract reasoning, memory, sequencing, coordination, and perceptual skills, using computer programs.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Occupational Therapists Provide training and supervision in therapy techniques and objectives for students or nurses and other medical staff. They might also Design and create, or requisition, special supplies and equipment, such as splints, braces, and computer-aided adaptive equipment.

In addition, they Advise on health risks in the workplace or on health-related transition to retirement.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Provide patients with assistance in locating or holding jobs.

To some Occupational Therapists, it is also their responsibility to Evaluate patients’ progress and prepare reports that detail progress.


Working life

Working hours

Standard 40 hour work week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as an Occupational Therapist, you can expect to work 40 hour work week.

Do Occupational Therapists work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
90%


Never
5%


Do Occupational Therapists work outdoors?

Never
57%


Once a year
24%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Helpers and The Thinkers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others..

They also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

You can read more about these career personality types here.



Learn more about Occupational Therapists

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Related to Occupational Therapists Job Description

Occupational Therapists job description, what do Occupational Therapists do, typical day for Occupational Therapists, what is it like to work as an Occupational Therapist, how many hours do Occupational Therapists work, day to day work of an Occupational Therapist

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm
http://www.aota.org/


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