Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients of all ages through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for working, recreation and daily living, like getting dressed, cooking, eating and driving. Occupational therapists also assist those with emotional disabilities and mental illness learns to cope with the demands of daily living and to plan and structure work and leisure.
Occupational therapists employs tools and materials rather than the mechanical aids used by Physical Therapists. Their work is often closely coordinated with that of the Physical Therapist, since both fields involve training patients to improve their motor abilities.
Occupational therapy schools are graduate-level programs and are typically 2 to 3 years in length. Upon completion, graduates of occupational therapy schools are typically awarded a M.O.T. (Master of Occupational Therapy), a M.S. (Master of Science), or a M.A. (Master of Art) degree. There is no difference between the MOT, MA or MS degrees and all graduates can practice as generalists. Some occupational therapy programs also offer a O.T.D. (Occupational Therapy Doctorate) degree and/or a C.O.T., which is a combined bachelor and master degree. Successful completion of national board examinations and certifications are also required to practice.
Occupational therapy provides a great deal of career flexibility as there are many areas to work in after becoming a licensed occupational therapist. Many practitioners do select a specialty area of practice. Others change their area of practice throughout their careers. Occupational therapy provides a great deal of career flexibility. The most common areas are:
- Children and Youth
- Health and Wellness
- Mental Health
- Productive Aging
- Rehabilitation, Disability, and Participation
- Work and Industry
Learn more about the admission criteria for most occupational therapy programs.
View course requirements for Michigan occupational therapy schools.
Explore this profession further by accessing links to national associations, career profiles, and student resources.