Job Sheet: Occupational Therapist
Job title: Occupational Therapist
Occupational Therapists assess and treat people who need to relearn the ability to perform their daily activities because of illness or injury. They help people to regain lost functions, develop their abilities and social skills, and maintain and promote independence. This is a real 'hands on' career where you will get to work as a part of a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals.
Qualifications required/age restrictions:
You need to study and obtain a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy which is available at AUT in Auckland and Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin.
It will cost approximately $12,000 to $15,000 to complete a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy and then there are ongoing costs to maintain your professional registration with the Occupational Therapist Registration Board.
Location of job:
Occupational Therapists are needed EVERYWHERE in New Zealand (and overseas). Where ever you decide you want to live, Occupational Therapists are needed.
There are good career opportunities in the health sector with the possibility to develop from a clinical role like Occupational Therapist into senior roles and even management. A structured career path involves first obtaining a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy and then gaining registration to the professional body in New Zealand.
A new graduate will get about $43,000 a year and an Occupational Therapist with 5 year experience can expect to get about $58,000. The salary scales are assessed every few years and increases commonly occur.
Other careers this profession could lead to:
Senior Occupational Therapist
Tips on how to increase the chances of successfully entering this industry:
- Useful school subjects include English, biology, chemistry and physics.
- Check out the website www.healthcareers.org.nz for more information or ask questions. They may be able to help you get some work experience or tour of your local hospital.
Places/websites to source information about this
Any other relevant points:
They help people to regain lost functions, develop their abilities and social skills, and maintain and promote independence. This is a real hands on career.
You could end up working in a hospital, the community, mental health or rehabilitation facility, or even a school or a rest home.
Occupational Therapists work as part of a multidisciplinary team to provide care to a patient which will include physiotherapists, nurses, doctors, social workers and health care assistants.
What will I get out of this job?
You'll never be bored! No two days are the same for an OT. And each patient provides different challenges.
You will be in demand! There is a shortage of Occupational Therapists in New Zealand so you won't have any trouble getting a job.
You can travel! Being an Occupational Therapist is truly and international career with the potential to work almost anywhere in the world.
It is a career which will give you the skills to change your focus of practice as many times as you like.
You will make a difference! Finally, you will make a real difference in the lives of your patients as you help them to regain their independence. What more could you ask for?