If you have always been interested in rehabilitative health, you may want to consider obtaining an occupational therapy degree. Graduates help those who struggle with their mobility issues, prevent disability, and improve a patient’s general well-being. If these are what you want to do, you should know how to become an occupational therapist.
Occupational Therapy vs. Physical Therapy
Although occupational therapy and physical therapy use nearly the same therapy techniques, the requirements for obtaining a degree in either are different. Physical therapy is all about helping a patient to improve posture and regain physical strength after surgery or an accident as well as facilitate mobility in those who were born with physical defects or deformities.
On the other hand, occupational therapy is all about helping those with disability or existing illness and emotional and mental disorders to participate in activities which may have been limited due to their condition such as eating or drinking by themselves, driving, and other activities. An occupational therapist ensures that a patient has less difficulty performing tasks which are important to him/her.
What Will an Occupational Therapy Degree Teach You?
Occupational therapy focuses on helping a patient to regain adaptability to his environment by modifying tasks, re-teaching skills, and even educating the patient’s family to cooperate and assist the patient in the performance of his daily activities as well as increase his participation in family occupations, community events, etc. An occupational therapist works with professionals like nurses and speech therapists.
As the first step to become an occupational therapist, you have to obtain a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from a university or college that specifically offers such programs. You will study behavioral and biological sciences while on your freshman year and then apply such knowledge and theory to practical issues that require occupational therapy on your sophomore year.
By the time you are in your junior year, you would have learned techniques and clinical practice from community health centers, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. On your senior year, your clinical experience would have been expanded. You would also have completed studies in research techniques and statistics. Additionally, you would also have learned how to identify and resolve particular occupational therapy issues.
Unlike other courses, the student of occupational therapy will be concentrating on the practice of his degree until he decides to pursue a master’s degree in the same field for the next two years. Some universities or colleges offer both bachelor and master’s degree while others will offer only the former and others will just offer the latter, so it is really up to the student to choose which school to attend.
Schools Offering Occupational Therapy Programs
The best schools offering occupational therapy as a bachelor’s degree include the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, San Jose State University (California), Ithaca College (New York), Texas Woman’s University (Denton), Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond), Towson University (Maryland), University of Kansas (Lawrence), Saint Louis University (Missouri).
Other good schools that offer occupational therapy are the Baltimore Hebrew University (Maryland), University of Buffalo (New York), Brenau University (Gainesville) in Georgia, The University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston), University of New England (Biddeford, Maine), the University of Alabama (Birmingham), the Community College of Baltimore County (Catonsville, Maryland), and Ohio State University (Columbus).