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A Career in Occupational Therapy

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A career in occupational therapy can be a perfect fit for anyone interested in a healthcare career that requires a level of creativity. Pursuing a career in occupational therapy requires academic training as well as practical experience to build the necessary skills and technical expertise. If you are a creative and comprehensive thinker who enjoys assisting people live their best lives. You can consider a career in occupational therapy.

 

Occupational therapy is a type of rehabilitation that assists people in changing their habits to improve their health. Occupational therapists assess patients’ requirements and create therapy plans to meet those needs. They are invaluable to anyone recovering from an injury, accident or sickness. These professionals make a lasting impact by treating pain and assisting patients from a variety of backgrounds in getting better.

 

You need to understand the requirements and qualifications needed to start a successful career in occupational therapy. I will discuss the steps you need to take to become an occupational therapist.

 

Steps to Become an Occupational Therapist

  1. Complete your Secondary Education

    If you have an interest in a career in occupational therapy, you must start by being a science student. Additionally, you should have a minimum of credits in science subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry and English language.

  2. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

    The first step you need to take in your career pursuit is obtaining a bachelor’s degree. You should ensure that you apply to an accredited university and study to obtain your degree. Furthermore, you should obtain a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy. Additionally, you can also obtain a degree in biology, physiology, anatomy, or health sciences.

  3. Undergo an Internship

    After your bachelor’s degree, you must participate in a minimum of one year of internship. This internship is important as it will provide you with hands-on experience in various occupational therapy settings. Additionally, it will allow you to apply your theoretical knowledge in real-life experience. Overall, this experience will enhance your skills and abilities.

  4. Pursue a Master’s Degree

    You can apply for a master’s program in occupational therapy after earning your bachelor’s degree. This program usually lasts about two to three years. Additionally, a master’s degree can enable you to choose an area of specialisation and enable you to gain knowledge on the field you wish to pursue.

  5. Develop Relevant Skills

    You need to have the required skills needed by an occupational therapist. You can develop and build these skills during your training phase. These skills will enable you to treat your patients and carry out your work effectively.

  6. Get Licensed

    Another important step is to obtain a license from the licensing body. Without a license, you cannot practice as an occupational therapist. You should register with the licensing body in your country and take the licensing examination. However, you cannot be issued a license without passing the examination. The licensing examination assesses your competence as an aspiring occupational therapist.

  7. Choose an Area of Specialisation

    There are various areas in occupational therapy that you can decide to specialise in. These areas can enable you to channel your knowledge in a particular sector and gain expertise. However, each specialisation requires that you pass an examination and receive certification.  Furthermore, these qualifications can help us extend your career opportunities and boost your earning potential.

 

Skills Needed by an Occupational Therapist

 

  1. Creative Problem-Solving Skills
  2. Communication Skills
  3. Ability to Support and Encourage
  4. Physical Strength
  5. Organizational Skills
  6. Empathy and Patience
  7. Flexibility
  8. Collaboration and Teamwork

 

Areas of Specialisation in Occupational Therapy

  1. Autism: Occupational therapists work with people who have autism and need assistance with improving physical abilities, learning strategies, social skills and taking care of themselves. Additionally, they help them gain independence while carrying out personal care routines and everyday activities.
  2. Mental Health: Occupational therapists in mental health could work in residential, community and healthcare settings. Furthermore, they help patients in areas such as socio-emotional skills, and cognitive assessment.
  3. Pediatrics: This specialisation is more suitable for occupational therapists who enjoy working with children. Additionally, they help children develop skills such as motor skills, self-care and cognitive skills.
  4. Stroke Rehabilitation: An occupational therapist who specialises in stroke rehabilitation assists patients in regaining life skills that have been compromised by a stroke.
  5. Gerontology: Occupational therapists in this field use their skills to research life expectancy, adult development and common health problems among older people. Additionally, they help older people in cognitive changes, fall prevention and driving skills.
  6. Brain Injuries: An occupational therapist in this field specialises in brain injury and works with individuals who have suffered from both traumatic and non-traumatic brain injury.

 

Universities in Africa that Offer Occupational Therapy

 

  1. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  2. Ain Shams University, Egypt
  3. University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  4. Assiut University, Egypt
  5. University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  6. Cairo University, Egypt
  7. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  8. Alexandria University, Egypt
  9. University of the Free State, South Africa
  10. Bayero University, Kano
  11. University of Ghana, Ghana
  12. Makerere University, Uganda
  13. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  14. Mansoura University, Egypt
  15. University of Pretoria, South Africa

 

 

Pursuing a career in occupational therapy entails committing to assisting people of all ages in regaining their independence and improving their daily functioning. The value of occupational therapy is enhanced as it focuses on meeting the special needs of people with disabilities or limitations. However, starting a career as an occupational therapist is both challenging and rewarding. It entails a path of personal development. education and professional advancement.

 

Good luck!

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