Occupational therapy is a career in which you help patients with disabilities achieve success in their day-to-day lives. Whether they’re young children, seniors, or somewhere in between, many people need to learn or relearn physical, behavioral, or cognitive skills so they can make their way in this world. Through occupational therapy, you can help patients gain control and achieve independence, safety, and fulfillment.
One of the many benefits of an occupational therapy degree is that you can use it in so many places. Wherever you decide to live, chances are you’ll be able to find a setting where your professional skills are needed.
Offices of physical, occupational, and speech therapists and audiologists
Schools and educational services (state, local, and private)
Home healthcare services
Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities)
Where do most occupational therapists work? In hospitals. There, a patient may have suffered a stroke or been in an accident, or a chronic disease may have worsened enough to take a toll on their abilities. While the patient receives treatment for their medical condition, an occupational therapist can work with them to improve their ability to function safely after they’re released. This might involve abilities like eating and drinking, communicating, dressing, or walking.
Occupational Therapy and Related Therapy Offices
A medical office dedicated to delivering occupational and other therapies likely serves patients from all stages of life, facing any number of challenges. Such a setting can provide you with a supportive network of colleagues, as well as the equipment and setup to best address whatever issues your patients are working to overcome.
Occupational therapists work in schools to help ensure that disabled children can have the best possible learning experience. An OT professional will help identify ways to accommodate students in the classroom and provide early intervention therapy to young children who are developmentally delayed.
The home is where most occupational therapy matters most. This is where patients spend most of their time, and where the “activities of daily living” (ADLs) matter most. Occupational therapy professionals often visit homes as part of a home healthcare team. They might perform an assessment of a patient’s functionality, make recommendations regarding the safety and navigability of the home, or provide in-home therapy.
After an illness or injury, some patients will spend time in a skilled nursing facility, where they can get round-the-clock care and any needed rehabilitation. Occupational therapy is often one of the services patients receive in a nursing facility, in order to ensure their functionality and independence once they are released and return home.