If you are someone who thinks that Occupational Therapists only work in hospitals or a clinic, you may want to think again. OTs have been educated in the basics of health and healing to include anatomy, psychology, neuroscience, and more. The health education is taught from the perspective of how it all meshes with the ability to perform daily living tasks. From there, OTs can branch out and specialize in very specific programs like designing interior spaces and creating special therapy programs. Let’s take a look at the many settings that OTs work that you might not have considered.
Hospitals – According to BLS, 26% of OTs work in state, local, or private hospitals.
Therapy Office setting – Another 24% of OTs work in an office or clinic setting, where Physical and Speech Therapy services are also provided.
Schools – Since the onset of Early Intervention services for children, more OTs are finding career opportunities in state, local, and private school systems. In 2016, 10% - 15% of all OTs worked in a school or early intervention setting.
Skilled Nursing Facilities – About 9% of OTs provide their services in a skilled nursing facility for patients who may be recovering from accidents or stroke, or other complex medical conditions.
Home Healthcare – A growing area of need for OTs is providing care directly in the patient’s home. As our elderly population grows and are choosing to remain in their home as long as possible, home care service providers travel to the patient. About 8% of the total number of OTs are currently employed in a home healthcare setting.
Other factors within the OT profession that may have an impact on the type of setting you will be working in are any specialty certifications that you choose to pursue.
Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) – This certification is for an OT professional who wants to specialize in working with people with disabilities who need assistance utilizing technology to assist them in their daily life. This may include special ergonomic controls for a computer or various household items.
Seating and Mobility Specialist (SMS) – An OT pursuing this certification will become an expert in adapting and designing seating and mobility-related aids for individuals.
Aquatic Therapeutic Exercise Certification (ATRIC) – Aquatic therapy has been growing in popularity for its low impact effectiveness for individuals who are rehabilitating or maintaining skills.
Certified Autism Specialist (CAS) – This certification provides OTs with a concentration in learning the most effective methods for providing services to those suffering from conditions on the Autism Spectrum.
There are many other certifications that can be pursued based on your individual goals and preferences. These include, but are not limited to, Certified Aging in Place Specialist, Certified Hand Specialist, Certified Brain Injury Specialist, Certified Lymphedema Therapist, and others.
Have you considered pursuing a new occupational therapy certification? If so, what certification interests you the most and why? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below or start a discussion on our Facebook page.