Occupational therapy is a profession or career that mainly focuses on helping people across the lifespan. The career’s primary objective is to ensure people get to do the things they want, desire, and need. It is done through the therapeutic use of daily activities.
OT practitioners help people of all ages. An occupational therapist plans therapy programs and evaluates patients with illnesses, pain, injuries, or disabilities. They help their clients live life to the fullest by promoting health while preventing or living better with present injuries, illnesses, or disabilities.
OT is an admirable career choice as its benefits outweigh the negatives. Some common occupational therapy interventions and duties include:
- Assisting and helping people recovering from injuries to regain skills by building motor skills.
- Providing support for older adults who are experiencing physical or cognitive changes
- Helping or assisting children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social circles.
Note that OT practitioners often work with your doctor, physical therapists, psychologists, or other health professionals to make their clients’ lives comfortable.
All in all, we all know every job has its ups and downs. Before deciding on occupational therapy as a career, it is good to look at its benefits and demerits. To help present a clear understanding of all it entails, we’ll be taking you through the pros and cons of occupational therapy. Please read on.
Pros of Occupational Therapy
1. Plenty of areas for specialization: Once you venture into this career, there are many areas of specialization to choose from. You can decide on a specific path, get certifications on it, practice, and become an expert. Examples of some of the areas to choose from include;
- Orthopedics and injuries
- Physical and mobility rehabilitation
- Hand or vision therapy
2. Positive employment opportunities: The healthcare industry is ever-growing, and with this comes a growing demand for occupational therapy services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that occupational therapy is a lucrative choice with plenty of job opportunities.
3. Economic opportunities: With the increase in demand for more OT practitioners, the costs and time taken to finish occupational therapy courses will be more manageable. Despite all this, there are more significant economic benefits. You are assured of living a comfortable life due to the high payslips.
4.Work with various people: Occupational therapists work closely with people daily to improve their quality of life. Such an experience can be positive and enriching for an OT practitioner.
5. Work in a variety of settings: Being an occupational therapist, you can work in various settings as the career is accommodative. You may work in hospitals, schools, home health settings, rehab centers, physicians’ offices, nursing homes, mental health facilities, outpatient clinics, e.t.c.
6. Job satisfaction: Occupational therapists get to experience job satisfaction from helping their patients. Not only do they get to build relationships and connections with other co-workers, but they also enjoy the rewards that come with the career.
7. Opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives: Occupational therapy is a go-to career choice for anyone seeking a career to make a difference in people’s lives. You will get to interact with different people with different needs every single day. You will also help them live better lives, learn new skills, maintain or regain independence.
8. It is a great career choice for people who like working indoors: Most of the activities an OT practitioner involves their client in are mainly done indoors.
9. Conducive working environment: Occupational therapy has less workplace drama and politics. The career can be stressful enough, and working in a politically free environment helps reduce work stress levels.
10. Amazing flexibility: An OT practitioner can either work full or part-time, weekdays or during the weekend. Having such a schedule provides a perfect balance within their work and home life.
Cons of Occupational Therapy
1.Extensive study required: To become an OT, you may need to get a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree. Apart from educational achievements, there is a need for you to get a license. A lot of commitment is required, which some people may deem time-consuming.
2. Physically demanding: Many of the activities occupational therapists perform can be physically demanding. You may find yourself standing for long hours during shifts. You may also find yourself performing activities that need a lot of physical strength, like lifting clients from wheelchairs or beds and even providing support during exercises.
3. Emotionally challenging: As an OT, you may experience patients when they are in both bad and good moods. Other times you may be responsible for a critical patient whom you do not see any progress occurring despite your efforts. It may prove emotionally draining, depressing, stressful, and challenging when you do not handle such situations better. The career needs empathy and patience as your main goal is to make the patient comfortable.
4. Risk of infection: One of the limiting factors of working as an OT practitioner is the risks of infection. Most times, the duties will involve coming into contact with the patient’s bodily fluids. Anyone looking at this as the ideal career choice has to be prepared to handle these situations.
5. Long working hours: Patients may require support and help 24hours. It mainly occurs when the patient is critically ill, and there is a need for the OT practitioner to be by their side for long periods. All this will demand a lot of your time.
6. It is not a well-known career: It’s not a secret that many people have never heard of OT as many people do not pursue it as a career choice. Therefore, be ready to constantly explain to people what occupation therapy is and what it entails.
7. It is tough to get into a career: Getting into the profession is very hard as extensive skill, knowledge, and experience must be considered eligible.
8. Difficult patients: OT practitioners are extensively trained on how to work with patients. Despite this, just like any other medical practitioner, you may encounter complex patients. Some of them may make it difficult for you to build a relationship with them.
9. Difficult co-workers: Just like most careers, being an OT practitioner, you may have to work with difficult co-workers who might make your work seem more difficult, which is not the case.
10. You still need to get a license after graduating from the program.: Just like any other medical profession, you cannot begin practicing without having a license. You must first pass the licensing board exams to be a certified practitioner.