Occupational Therapy and Occupational Therapy Assistants

Occupational therapy is a science-driven, evidence-based profession that enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health and prevent—or live better—with illness, injury or disability.

Occupational Therapists (OTs) create customized treatment programs designed to enhance an individual’s ability to perform daily activities.  To accomplish this, OTs perform comprehensive home and job site evaluations and provide adaptation recommendations, perform skills assessments and provide treatments, recommend adaptive recommendations coupled with use training, and offer advice to family members and caregivers.

OTs often specialize in one or more of these six areas:

• Mental Health
• Productive Aging
• Children and Youth
• Health and Wellness
• Work and Industry
• Rehabilitation, Disability and Participation

Some of the health conditions that benefit from occupational therapy include:

• Work-related injuries including lower back problems or repetitive stress injuries
• Limitations following a stroke or heart attack
• Arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or other serious chronic conditions
• Birth injuries, learning problems, or developmental disabilities
• Mental health or behavioral problems including Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and post traumatic stress
• Problems with substance use or eating disorders
• Burns, spinal cord injuries, or amputations
• Broken bones or other injuries from falls, sports injuries, or accidents
• Vision or cognitive problems that threaten the ability to drive

An occupational therapist holds a master's or doctoral degree in the field.  Occupational therapists often work with occupational therapy assistants who generally hold an associate degree.  Occupational therapy assistants always work under the supervision of an occupational therapist.

OTs must complete supervised clinical internships in a variety of health care settings, and pass a national examination. Most states also regulate—license—occupational therapists. The American College of Physical Medicine is approved by the State of Illinois through its Department of Financial and Professional Regulations as a provider of CME/CEU credited courses for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants.

 

CME/CEU Courses