Anybody know how to become an Occupational Therapist?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My sissy's hub lost his job, and she wants to leave him anways. She isn't making much as a school aide and is interested in Occupational Therapy. Does anyone know how long it takes to become one? She already has a four year degree.
    Anyone have a good suggestion for another career where you can make a decent living with only two years of schooling? She is kind of hard of hearing so any job requiring listening to people wouldn't work well.
    Thanks :)
  2. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Our local community college, which is a unit of our state university, offers many two year certificate programs in careers ranging from culinary to teaching assistant to paralegal to medical billing, etc. Tell her to get a catalog or look online and see what they offer. The tuition at mine is less than $4K per year. Some schools offer scholarships for older women (over 25, what a joke, like that's older!) and she might qualify for financial aid or social services benefits while she's in school.
  3. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    hmmmm what do they do again, I think they help people remaster simple tasks like holding a pen or picking up a cup???
  4. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I am pretty sure that to be an Occupational Therapist (OT) you have to have either a master's or bachelor's. But they do have Occupational Therapist (OT) assistants, and that may be a 2yr degree. However, both these jobs require listening to people. I think it would depend on how bad her hearing loss is. What about phlebotomy or medical assistant?
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It can be quite involved, being an Occupational Therapist (OT). My easy child is one. It took her four years at uni studying this specifically. If her degree is already in some area of health sciences, she could get some advanced standing in a more specific Occupational Therapist (OT) course. Other possibilities are Diversional Therapy and Physiotherapy.

    An Occupational Therapist (OT) deals with the interaction between a person with a disability (temporary or permanent) and their environment. As part of this, they will assess a person to define the level of impairment - what is affected and how much - and then look to see what they can put in place in that person's environment to help them function more effectively. For example, an Occupational Therapist (OT) will look at hand-rails, at special seats, at other ways a person could do various tasks. Over the weekend when easy child was visiting, I got her to assess my range of movement to determine which muscles are affected by my current flare-up of pain symptoms.

    When it comes to various aids - at some point it becomes a physiotherapist's department. A physio will also look at range of movement but will be looking at how to get the person back to better functioning either by exercises, providing aids (such as crutches). A Diversional Therapist will look at how to keep a person happy and productive, either in terms of hobbies or maybe changing career options.

    IN the case of a stroke patient, for example - they might have a Speech Therapist examining any speech or swallowing problems. An Occupational Therapist (OT) will examine their range of movement and strength in order to assess what they are likely to need help with. Having difficulty holding a spoon? An Occupational Therapist (OT) will find a different spoon or some way of attaching the spoon to the person's hand, so they will still try to use their weak hand to feed themselves. The physio will provide strengthening exercises and practice to help them build up the strength in that hand. The Occupational Therapist (OT) will put in any grab rail in the bathroom and make sure any mats are either non-slip or removed. The physio will visit and work the patient through various exercises and activities. The Occupational Therapist (OT) will provide a range of utelsils that may be easier for the person to use, and observe to see how they manage.
    Meanwhile the Diversional Therapist will also be in on the act. The patient likes to knit or crochet? Then the Diversional Therapist may work with the Occupational Therapist (OT) to develop a new way to hold a crochet hook.

    And so on. There is some degree of overlap and so you need to be able to compromise and adapt, also to work in harmony with other people and to delegate. You also need to work with other health professionals especially doctors, so you can get the information on the patient's health record and have a good understanding of the expectations of the health outcomes.

    Maybe a good starting point would be to call a local hospital and ask to talk to the OTs, the physios, the Diversional Therapists etc. Ask them how THEY got their qualifications. Then maybe call the relevant teaching institution and talk to them. The way it works will vary from one country to the next. For example, at Sydney Uni there is a general health sciences degree course, you can jump from that to anything from a medical degree to radiography to physio to dentistry, to pharmacy - anything. husband's niece is currently studying something similar in WA, she wants to be a radiographer. By the time she finishes she is still free to change her mind - she could switch to nursing, or be a doctor if she chooses.

    I hope your sister in law can work out what she wants and switch without too many problems.

  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I believe Occupational Therapist (OT) assistants is a 2 year degree, whereas a certified occupational therapist is a master's program.
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Devon's girlfriend is planning on becoming an Occupational Therapist (OT) and it's a Masters program.
  8. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    My sister in law is an COTA (certified occupational therapist asst) she works with special needs kids in the school in Indiana. She loves it! It was about 16 months.
    I went to school for PT I have my Asst degree and went on to get my PT license... but I had K.
    PT and Occupational Therapist (OT) are both very involved, as far as schooling. I had to have a lot of volunteer hours prior to being accepted. It also requires a lot of Internships once you are in school. I worked all night bartending so I could drive 2-3 hours one way and do an internship for 6-8 weeks. I had 4 of these.

    But I worked next to other OTA's when I was working with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)'s and Spinal Cord injuries... we had so much fun and it was something I think I could have enjoyed for a career.
    Obviously not doing it now!
    All of my friends who are OTA's, Occupational Therapist (OT)'s, PT's and PTA'a love their work. I have some friends who do all back in Idaho. Lots of sports injuries.