A registered occupational therapist performs occupational therapy treatments for a variety of clients, from very young children to the elderly to individuals with developmental delays and/or severe injuries. Aside from the actual therapy, registered occupational therapists perform evaluations on sensory motor, neuromuscular, and cognitive activities to determine the level of care needed. They also supervise occupational therapy assistants.
Registered occupational therapists work in a large variety of environments. These can be professional offices, but more likely, they will work in rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, schools, and even the client's home; they may occasionally work outdoors as well. Most often, registered occupational therapists see several clients in one day for a set amount of time each. Therapy times for one client usually range from a half hour to an hour.
Typical registered occupational therapists work with a variety of other professionals that vary based on their employer; these professionals can include doctors, nurses, teachers, psychologists, and counselors. In many cases, they also work closely with the family of the client to give recommendations and receive feedback on care.
Positions for registered occupational therapists may be full or part time, as well as contract- or itinerant-based. They typically work during regular business hours; however, exceptions may be made in some hospital environments and in special client circumstances. A day's service locations can span across the region; for this reason, many positions will require a reliable mode of transportation.
Registered occupational therapists must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited school. This position also requires the appropriate state licensure. Many employers will require at least one year of experience working with their target population. Occupational therapists work is often hands-on, so many employers require the ability to lift heavy objects.
Registered Occupational Therapist Tasks
- Test and evaluate patients' physical and mental abilities and analyze medical data to determine rehabilitation goals for patient.
- Help clients improve decision making, abstract reasoning, memory, sequencing, coordination and perceptual skills using computer programs.
- Select and recommend activities that will help individuals learn work and life-management skills consistent with their needs and capabilities.
- Consult with rehabilitation team to select activity programs and coordinate with other therapeutic activities.
- Record prognosis, treatment, response and progress in patient's chart or computer database.