How to become an Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapy offers South Africans a rewarding and interesting career. If you are caring and people-orientated, why not consider a career as an Occupational Therapist? With a variety of different Occupational therapist jobs available, you can choose to specialise in an area that matches your interests. You can find Occupational therapist vacancies on Job Mail. Once you have found suitable positions, all you need to do is register your CV and apply. It’s that simple. To decide whether this is the career for you, first find out more about Occupational Therapy.

occupational therapy

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapists are also referred to as OT’s. Occupational Therapy involves helping people who have a disability. This includes temporary disabilities following an illness or surgery. People who have been in an accident may also require a consultation with an Occupational Therapist. People who have a long-term or permanent disability may benefit from consulting with an Occupational Therapist. The role of these professionals is to help clients recover from short term or long term injuries through the use of specialised exercises. If the client has a permanent disability, the Occupational Therapist will use exercises to help them reach their full potential. This includes teaching them valuable coping skills. Coping skills function to increase the client’s independence and to help them to deal with their daily tasks. It may also be necessary for this type of therapist to provide their client with guidelines on how to adjust their home to suit their unique needs. Occupational Therapist re-teach their clients how to perform everyday tasks such as dressing themselves, bathing and preparing meals. They may be required re-teach their client cognitive and social skills. OT’s help to prepare their clients to go back to school or work, which may include training in related tasks. The duties that Occupational Therapists perform do not only involve physical rehabilitation, but they also include emotional support.

What career options does an Occupational Therapist have?

The Occupational therapist jobs which are available typically fall under three categories. Following basic training, Occupational Therapists can choose to follow a career in adult physical rehabilitation or in paediatrics. Psychiatry is another option. Opportunities exist for Occupational Therapists to find employment internationally. Other careers associated with this position include that of an Occupational Health Sister and Occupational Medical Practitioner. Occupational Therapists can find employment opportunities in Hospitals and community clinics. Special needs schools also require the services of an Occupational Therapist. Another option is to go into private practice.

occupational therapist jobs

What are the duties of an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational therapist jobs require you to assess clients in order to determine the most effective treatment plan to follow. Once they have a clear idea of their client’s requirements, they develop treatment programs with the aim of aiding their client’s recovery. OT’s assist their clients to perform the exercises which are detailed in their personal program. Offering clients advice on helpful tools is another important part of this position. Keeping reports on each client’s progress is an essential task.

What skills, qualifications and training do Occupational Therapists need?

To be an Occupational Therapist, you will need to have a caring personality with excellent interpersonal skills. If it is important to you that your career involves helping people, then Occupational therapy is a great choice. Other personal traits that are vital for this position include patience and emotional stability. To qualify for Occupational Therapist jobs, you will need to have a tertiary education. A four year BSc (Occupational Therapy) is required to work in this position. Although each educational institute stipulates their own requirements, a general guideline for entry requirements includes mathematics and physical science. It is also beneficial to have studied Life Sciences. There are a number of educational institutes in South Africa which offer accredited Occupational therapy qualifications. Stellenbosch University and the Tygerberg Campus offer an Occupational Therapy course. Subjects include Psychology, Special Physics and Anatomy. Once you complete the program, it is necessary to do a year of community service.

What are useful resources for Occupational Therapists in South Africa?

The Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa (OTASA) aims to serve the needs of local Occupational Therapists and to develop the profession in South Africa. The South African Journal of Occupational Therapy offers useful information on workshops as well as events and professional networking opportunities. The Health Professions Council of South Africa also plays a vital role in the Occupational Therapists Profession.

occupational therapy jobs

What remuneration can an Occupational Therapist expect?

According to Payscale, the average annual salary for Occupational Therapists is currently R182, 233.

Working with people and helping them on their journey to recovery can be a rewarding career. If you are considering pursuing this career, browse the Occupational therapist vacancies on Job Mail to discover the employment opportunities that are out there. Occupational therapist jobs play a vital role in the health of South Africans, so register your CV on Job Mail and start applying for exciting opportunities today.

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Annabel Schoeman

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SEO'er, blogger and lover all things weird, wacky and interesting.

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