How to Get a Job as an Occupational Therapist
The diversity of the field makes choosing a specialization early important for occupational therapists. "The most important thing a person coming out of school can do is know where their personal professional passion lies," says Maureen Freda Peterson, chief professional affairs officer for the American Occupational Therapy Association. "It's extremely important that they are looking for something that excites them professionally." Peterson emphasizes finding a niche within the field because specialized skills and passion for their work help aspiring occupational therapists stand out among the crowd of candidates.
Interview Questions Submitted by Real Occupational Therapists
"Describe 'functional' and what it means to you in terms of treatment." - Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital Occupational Therapist Candidate (Location Unknown)
"How do you handle a client who is aggressive and confused?" - Northridge Hospital Medical Center Occupational Therapist I Candidate (Location Unknown)
"Would I be willing to travel on occasion to help cover at other facilities if another therapist was sick or on vacation?" - Aegis Therapy Occupational Therapist Candidate (Sioux City, IA)
What is the Job Like?
While the work is often tiring because occupational therapists are on their feet a significant portion of the day and, at times, may have to lift clients and equipment, the stress of the job varies depending on the work setting. This potential for on-the-job stress can be mitigated, Peterson says. "If you are in a setting that meets your professional needs and are passionate about the work, that can help reduce stress. Being busy doesn't always equal stress." She says that in a traditional setting—working for an employer instead of running your own business—most therapists work 40 hours per week and maintain a stable schedule.
Real Reviews From Occupational Therapists
+ "Being able to make a difference in people who are ill or injured. Teaching new skills to help them achieve their highest practicable level of independence so they may return home." - Manor Care Occupational Therapist (Denver, CO)
+ "Allowed me to set my hours; very flexible with my schedule; pay is very competitive in this area; management easy to talk to." - Gentiva Occupational Therapist (Location Unknown)
- "The therapists have to pay for ALL of their materials and supplies, which gets to be very expensive considering the wide range of ages and disabilities of the patients." - Therapy 2000 Occupational Therapist (Dallas, TX)
- "As of right now, because of a high demand for therapists, but a small pool to choose from, there's a high case load, and a stress on productivity time. Sometimes it seems that they don't take into consideration that the more patients you have, the more paperwork you will have to fill out." - Hanover HealthCare Occupational Therapist (Mechanicsville, VA)
Review information and interview questions supplied by Glassdoor.