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Occupational Therapy

The career that I chose to research is Occupational Therapy. An Occupational Therapists job is to deal with people with physical disabilities, mental illnesses, and other such handicaps. There are many different applications of Occupational Therapy, like for example, one whos hired by a hospital to help with stroke victims, or one who works for a school district working with handicapped children. The person I chose to interview was the latter. There are many different classifications of OTs as well.

There are OTRs, Registered Occupational Therapists, who must be registered by theeducc state, and COTAs, Certified Occupational Therapist Assistants, who must recieve 2 years of training to assist an OTR and work under OTR supervision. The average pay of an OT is about $40,000 to $50,000 a year. In order to be an occupational therapist, one must acquire a college degree, plus the afforementioned licensing by the state of Minnesota. Also, you need to go through intense training in order to become an OTR.

Besides that, if one has a Masters Degree in teaching, one can make up to $6,000-$8,000 more a year. Some of the job expectations of an Registered Occupational Therapist working in a school environment are supervising COTAs, assessing students in the areas of fine motor skills, visual motor and visual perceptual processing, helping with assistive technology, adaptive seating, adaptations for writing, cutting difficulties, and computer program needs and adaptations.

Also, the Occupational Therapist is often required to participate in Student Study Teams to plan and implement special education assessments and programs. An OT is also required to be a expert in adaptive equipment, which may include special scissors, pencil adaptations, holding cuffs for people with weak grasp, extended shoe horns, special seats, standers, walkers, computer access adaptations, switch operated toys, games, learning tools, and anything else that may help the person be more functional despite their disability.

I talked to the Occupational Therapist I chose to interview about the specific requirements she has in her job, and she provided some details, including: traveling to every building in the district, working with kids from the Preschool level all the way up to High School age, getting information about students from their teachers, student records, from requesting medical records from nurses or parents. She is an OTR, who supervises 3 COTAs. She is currently working on getting a Masters degree.

Some things she likes about her job is the fact that it constantly varies, which means she faces something new every day, she does lots of traveling, and she gets to know people all over the district. Some things she doesnt like is the long hours required by her job, and all of the paperwork she has to do. She also denounces all of the red tape and nonsense laws, and the perception that parents have become more demanding and less appreciative in the last few years.

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