Occupational Therapists

Description

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.

Tasks

  • 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.
  • 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 and physical capabilities.
  • Evaluate patients' progress and prepare reports that detail progress.
  • Complete and maintain necessary records.
  • Train caregivers how to provide for the needs of a patient during and after therapy.
  • Recommend changes in patients' work or living environments, consistent with their needs and capabilities.
  • Develop and participate in health promotion programs, group activities, or discussions to promote client health, facilitate social adjustment, alleviate stress, and prevent physical or mental disability.
  • Consult with rehabilitation team to select activity programs and coordinate occupational therapy with other therapeutic activities.
  • Plan and implement programs and social activities to help patients learn work and school skills and adjust to handicaps.
  • Design and create, or requisition, special supplies and equipment, such as splints, braces and computer-aided adaptive equipment.
  • Conduct research in occupational therapy.
  • Provide training and supervision in therapy techniques and objectives for students and nurses and other medical staff.
  • Help clients improve decision making, abstract reasoning, memory, sequencing, coordination and perceptual skills, using computer programs.
  • Advise on health risks in the workplace and on health-related transition to retirement.
  • Lay out materials such as puzzles, scissors and eating utensils for use in therapy, and clean and repair these tools after therapy sessions.
  • Provide patients with assistance in locating and holding jobs.

Skills

Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Equipment Selection
Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

Abilities

Spatial Orientation
The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Response Orientation
The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
Rate Control
The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
Reaction Time
The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Glare Sensitivity
The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.
Peripheral Vision
The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one's side when the eyes are looking ahead.
Night Vision
The ability to see under low light conditions.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Sound Localization
The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.

Interests

Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Work Style

Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Work Values

Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Assistive Technology Trainer
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
Independent Living Specialist
Industrial Rehabilitation Consultant
Industrial Therapist
Job Trainer
Licensed Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA/L)
Occupational Therapist (OT)
Registered Occupational Therapist
Rehabilitation Engineer
Staff Therapist
Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
Vocational Trainer

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$36.25 hourly, $75,400 annual.
Employment (2008):
105,540 employees