Occupational therapists provide services to individuals whose ability to cope with the activities of daily living are impaired by physical illness or injury, congenital or developmental disability, or the aging process. The goal of the therapist is to help their patients regain their independence and good health. Therapists use several types of activities to evaluate and treat patients. With children, they may use toys and games. In treating adults, the therapists may use computers, work simulation, leisure activities, self-care tasks, and other methods. Adoptive equipment such as wheelchairs, splints, and eating and dressing aids are provided by the therapist when needed. The effectiveness of the activity and progress of the patient are carefully monitored and recorded by occupational therapists.
To become an occupational therapist, an education program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education must be completed. Three routes are offered: a bachelor's degree, a post-baccalaureate certificate program, or a professional master's degree program. All OT education programs include a period of supervised clinical experience. There are a few certificate programs at both the professional and technical levels of education.
The State of Texas requires that occupational therapists become certified (registered) and licensed. Certification requires the completion of an accredited program of study along with six months of field work. Applicants must then take and pass the national certifying exam given by the American Occupational Therapy Certification Board (AOTCB). Those who pass are awarded the title of Registered Occupational Therapist (OTR). To become licensed, applicants must be certified (registered) and pass the exam administered by the Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy examiners. Occupational therapy programs may also be licensed by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
Related career fields include recreational therapist, gerontologist, occupational therapy assistant or aide, and physical therapist.
Click on the following to link to Texas Occupational Therapy Programs.