Occupational therapy is a client-centered profession that promotes health, wellness, quality of life, and justice through engagement in the things that people want and need to do every day (occupations). Occupational therapists (OT) support people across the lifespan to participate in everyday life in the ways that are important to them. As an OT, you might work with individuals, groups, or communities. Your goal will be the same - to improve their ability to engage in meaningful life activities. If any of the following situations sound interesting to you, then OT may be a health professions career for you to consider:
- Working directly with someone to learn a new way to do something, for example helping a toddler born with Down syndrome learn how to play with a shape sorting toy of interest.
- Modifying the environment to help someone succeed, for example helping someone set up their bathroom so they can bathe independently after a hip replacement.
- Helping a person find occupations that promote their health, for example helping an adolescent with an anxiety diagnosis to build a routine of using meditation to improve their day-to-day functioning.
- Working with groups, such as a group of autistic adolescents on skill-building as they prepare to transition to college.
- Providing population level services, such as ergonomics and design consulting for a large company.
As an OT, you will have a choice of settings where you would like to work depending upon your focus, such as hospitals, schools, clinics, or community settings. You can specialize in a population of interest, from infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to older adults interested in staying active and engaged in their community. If you are interested in advocacy, OT’s are also actively engaged at the community level to help make changes to health-care and mental health regulations.