In Summary - Occupational Therapist
Occupational Therapists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos & Interviews
Tomas Flanagan, Occupational Therapist
Tomás Flanagan is an Occupational Therapist working for St Michael's House. Following his Leaving Certificate, he studied Occupational Therapy in Trinity College Dublin where he found the educational placements of particular relevance. Following graduation he got an opportunity to work with children with Autism for a year which was very challenging but offered a great learning experience.
Aoife Lyons, Occupational Psychologist
Aoife works as an Occupational Psychologist for the Public Appointments Service and is based in Dublin. After completing her primary degree, she completed her Masters in Occupational Psychology in the University of Manchester. She is directly involved in the selecting and designing of aptitude tests for various roles in the Civil Service, and in interpreting the results of these.
Videos on the Web
- Occupational Therapist- from: Youtube Search
- Occupational Therapist - from: icould [UK] Video
The Work - Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists work with people who are physically or mentally disabled. They help their clients to maximise their independence at home and in their working and social lives.
First, clients are assessed using various physical, psychological, perceptual or cognitive tests. This provides the Occupational Therapist with an understanding of the client's capabilities and potential.
The Occupational Therapist builds up a general picture of the client's needs by consulting other professionals, such as physiotherapists and social workers. They also have access to the doctor's report.
Then the Occupational Therapist and the client decide together which skills are needed in order to maximise independence. These needs are determined by the client's condition and anticipated lifestyle. For instance, physically impaired clients may need help in strengthening muscles, co-ordinating movements and improving stamina.
If someone has had an accident, they may need to re-learn basic 'living skills' (e.g. washing, cooking). Occupational Therapists help people return to work as well, by training them in simulated work situations to improve their confidence, for example.
Occupational Therapists often visit people in their homes, to advise on alterations that will make independent living easier and more comfortable. For example, the adjustment of toilet seats or work surfaces may enable elderly people to live at home safely. Occupational Therapists will also arrange for extra support for clients (e.g. home help services).
People with mental health problems are often supported by an Occupational Therapist in their own home. They may need therapy for anxiety or depression, which prevents them from going out to work. The Occupational Therapist builds up their self-confidence by improving their social and coping skills.
This may be done by practising work-related skills or through assertiveness training. Communication skills may be developed through activities such as group discussion or working on the preparation of a meal with other clients.
An Occupational Therapist may work with individual clients or with groups. Group exercises are particularly effective in teaching relaxation or communication skills. Occupational therapy helpers are often involved in
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Plan, organize, and conduct occupational therapy programs in hospital, institutional, or community settings to help rehabilitate those impaired because of illness, injury or psychological or developmental problems.
- Test and evaluate patients' physical and mental abilities and analyze medical data to determine realistic rehabilitation goals for patients.
- Select activities that will help individuals learn work and life-management skills within limits of their mental or physical capabilities.
- Evaluate patients' progress and prepare reports that detail progress.
- Complete and maintain necessary records.
- Train caregivers how to provide for the needs of a patient during and after therapy.
- Recommend changes in patients' work or living environments, consistent with their needs and capabilities.
- Develop and participate in health promotion programs, group activities, or discussions to promote client health, facilitate social adjustment, alleviate stress, and prevent physical or mental disability.
- Consult with rehabilitation team to select activity programs or coordinate occupational therapy with other therapeutic activities.
- Plan and implement programs and social activities to help patients learn work or school skills and adjust to handicaps.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Interests - Occupational Therapist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
You will need good powers of observation, to ensure that assessments and monitoring are precise. You'll also need to be practical and resourceful in devising individual programmes.
To ensure that clients follow a programme that may seem difficult and tiresome, you'll need the ability to inspire confidence, to encourage and persuade. This is slow work and results do not come easily or quickly, so you must have great patience.
Sensitivity is essential in work with patients who may be anxious or nervous. You will also need to be cheerful, as people may be depressed because of their condition.
Should you consider such a career, you are advised to visit an Occupational Therapy department. The work is demanding so persons considering applying for training should be emotionally stable, physically fit and academically able.
Entry Requirements - Occupational Therapist
Those wishing to pursue a career as an Occupational Therapist will be required to follow a relevant course of study.
Qualification is via a course leading to a B.Sc. in Occupational Therapy.
Note: From 2018 Health and Social Care Professionals who provide services to the public are required to be registered with CORU, the regulatory body. To be eligible for registration, Occupational Therapists are reqiured to have the following qualifications:
- Bachelor in Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Dublin awarded to graduates on successful completion of the four year pathway/programme to this award
- Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy) from University College Cork
- Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy) from the National University Ireland, Galway
Or - Postgraduate routes:
- Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (Professional Qualification) from the University of Limerick,
- Diploma of the College of Occupational Therapy.
Further information is available here.
Last Updated: October, 2017
Pay & Salary - Occupational Therapist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 33k - 59k
Entrants: 33 - 50
Senior: 50 - 59
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Occupational Therapist
While demand has remained strong, there is no evidence of a shortage of therapists (including physiotherapists, occupational, speech and language.
National Skills Bulletin 2018