Occupational therapy is a rewarding and exciting career option for those who want to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people. As an Occupational Therapist in the aged care sector, you will use specialised skills in physical, psychological, and social interventions to help people improve their lives.
From learning about the profession itself to understanding what’s required to become an occupational therapist, this guide will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about pursuing a career in occupational therapy.
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is a type of therapy that helps people regain independence after an injury or illness. It can also help people with developmental disabilities, such as autism, to learn the skills needed to function in society. Occupational Therapists use activities and exercises to help their patients improve their fine motor skills, cognitive skills, and social skills.
What do occupational therapists do?
Occupational Therapists (OTs) help seniors participate in the things they want and need to do. They work with individuals who have conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabling. Occupational Therapist’s also help people who have been injured and need to regain their skills.
Occupational Therapist’s use many different techniques to support their clients. They may teach individuals how to use adaptive equipment. This may include considering changes in homes or workplaces. They may work with clients on activities of daily living such as grooming, eating, and dressing. Occupational Therapist’s also may provide splints or other devices to help patients recover the use of an arm or leg.
Seniors working with an Occupational Therapist can expect to be active participants in their own treatment. Occupational Therapists often use games and tasks that are fun but have a purpose. For example, an adult might practise using utensils while eating, to improve coordination after a stroke.
How to become an Occupational Therapist in Australia
To become an Occupational Therapist in Australia, you will need to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from an accredited university. During your studies, you will complete coursework and fieldwork placements that will give you the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in this demanding but rewarding profession. If you are wanting to work specifically in the aged care industry, you will specialise in that area.
Once you have completed your degree, you will need to register with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia (OTBA) before you can begin practising.
While completing your degree is the first step towards becoming an Occupational Therapist, it is also important to gain some experience working with clients before beginning your career. This can be done through volunteering or working as a support worker or assistant in an allied health setting such as a hospital, community health centre, or aged care facility. Not only will this give you valuable hands-on experience, but it will also help boost your resume when applying for jobs after graduation.
The future of occupational therapy
As our population ages and health care needs change, the demand for occupational therapy services is expected to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of Occupational Therapists will grow much faster than average, at 24% between 2016 and 2026.
There are many reasons for this growth. An ageing population will need more help to remain independent and safe, and people with chronic conditions will benefit from therapies that help them stay active and productive. The number of jobs in hospitals is projected to grow as well, as occupancy rates increase and length of stays decrease.
There will also be an increased demand for Occupational Therapists in home care and community-based settings such as outpatient clinics, schools, and aged care facilities. As awareness of the benefits of occupational therapy grows, more people are likely to seek out these services for themselves or their loved ones.
Occupational therapy can be an incredibly rewarding career path for those who are passionate about helping others. The field provides a unique opportunity to work with many different people and abilities, while also promoting health and wellness.
With the right education, training, and licensure requirements in place, Occupational Therapists can experience career success and enjoy job satisfaction that comes from making a real difference in the lives of senior Australians.
To learn more about your opportunities, visit our website here or to talk with us, give us a call on 136 033.