Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Occupational Therapy...a career in need!!!

As many know, I have had a career in the field of Occupational therapy for over 14 years now. Since I am now focusing on being home full time with my sweet kiddos, and fostering, I am no longer working at my pediatric job that I held for 13 years. (Also due to the fact that they now mandate flu shots for all employees, and I refuse!). So, I have been doing some on-call work for other types of facilities only about once a month, sometimes more if they can talk me into it.

I have to say my career as a pediatric OT practitioner was a DREAM JOB. Almost every day that I went to work for 13 years I would ask myself "Am I really getting paid for this?" Playing with kids all day, talking with families, watching children meet developmental milestones right before my eyes, crying and rejoicing with families as they see their child doing something they were told their child would never accomplish. It was so rewarding, and I loved every moment of it.
Over the years, this occupation has somehow become hugely needed in the field of health care. I know. Recruiters call my house...weekly! I get postcards at least a couple times a week recruiting for jobs all over the US. Recently, somehow companies have obtained my email address and they are sending me job offers left and right on line. These jobs come with great pay, benefits, and HUGE sign on bonuses, sometimes up to $20,000, which was the latest one I recieved. If I was in the market for a full time job, I could have my choice, and some of the cities and states where these jobs are located are prime locations, and very intriguing.

Occupational therapy seeks to help individuals of all ages reach their greatest potential. A child's work is play...so if I am working with a child with a disabilty that could be hindering some aspect of his play skills, my job is to assist that child and family in overcoming any barrier that may get in the way of that child playing independently and successfully. That is one example. In pediatrics, I was able to work with a wide range of children with many types of issues, from behavioral problems, social skill issues, sensory processing dysfunction, autism, developmental delay and much more.
In college I worked in psychiatric hospitals, schools, nursing homes, home health, and regular hospitals on rehab floors. It is a diverse occupation, and one that will always put you front and center working directly with individuals. That was what I had always wanted. I could never see myself working in a back office on paperwork all day. I had to be hands on, treating patients, and seeing them improve and thrive.

My point for this post is to say that if you know a young person that is looking for a career, please share this profession with them. It is in great demand, and it is a career one will always be rewarded by both personally and financially. You can get a degree as an Occupational therapist, or an Occupational therapist assistant. Both are excellent positions allowing you to carry caseloads of individiuals that need your skills, and will forever be changed in positive ways because of you!

1 comment:

Abbey said...

After meeting my boys, my little sister feels really called to becoming an OT. I do hope she follows through with that dream!