what is an occupational therapist?
An occupational therapist (OT) is a healthcare professional who works with people of all ages. You help them overcome physical, mental, or developmental challenges that prevent them from participating in activities they need or want to do.
You are trained to look at the whole person, not just their symptoms or conditions. You work with individuals to identify their goals and create a personalised treatment plan to help them achieve those goals. Treatments may include exercises and activities to improve strength, flexibility, coordination, and cognitive or behavioural interventions to address mental health concerns.
One of the unique aspects of occupational therapy is that it is often focused on helping people achieve independence in their daily activities. This independence can include things like bathing, dressing, cooking, and other tasks that may seem routine but can be challenging for someone with a physical or mental health condition.
As an occupational therapist, you are a skilled and compassionate healthcare professional dedicated to helping your patients live their lives to the fullest, despite any challenges they may be facing. You work with them every step of the way, providing guidance, support, and encouragement.
If a career as an occupational therapist appeals to your compassionate nature and desire to help others, keep reading to find out what skills and qualifications will help you to thrive in this profession.
average salary of an occupational therapist
According to Payscale, the average salary of an occupational therapist is a little under ₹400,000 per year. Entry-level positions tend to earn closer to ₹200,000 per year, while more experienced occupational therapists can make over ₹800,000 per year. The average salary for an occupational therapist with over ten years of experience is around ₹12,00,000 per year.
factors that affect occupational therapists' pay
One of the most significant factors that can impact your salary is your level of education and experience. Typically, occupational therapists with advanced degrees or certifications earn more than those with only a bachelor's degree. Additionally, if you have more years of experience in the field, you will generally have a higher salary than those who are just starting out.
Another key factor that can affect your salary is your location and type of employer. Occupational therapists working in urban areas or larger cities tend to earn more than those in rural areas or small towns. Similarly, those who work in hospitals or special clinics may earn more than those in schools or private practices.
Your specialism can also impact your salary. If you specialise in high-demand areas like paediatrics, geriatrics, or mental health, you may earn more than those in other practice areas.
types of occupational therapist
There are many different types of occupational therapists. Each type of OT specialises in a particular area and has unique skills and expertise that can benefit individuals with a range of conditions and needs. Here are the most common types of occupational therapists:
- paediatric occupational therapists: you work with children from infancy to adolescence to help them develop the skills they need to participate in everyday activities. You may help children learn to dress themselves, use utensils, or complete schoolwork.
- geriatric occupational therapists: in this role, you work with older adults to help them maintain their independence and quality of life. You may provide interventions to address age-related conditions like arthritis, dementia, or Parkinson's disease.
- mental health occupational therapists: you help individuals with mental health conditions to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being. You may work with individuals who have depression, anxiety, addiction, or other mental health concerns.
- hand therapy occupational therapists: you specialise in treating conditions and injuries affecting the hands and upper extremities. You work with individuals who have carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures, or tendon injuries, among other problems.
- neurological occupational therapists: in this role, you work with individuals who have suffered a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other neurological condition. You help these individuals re-learn essential skills like walking, talking, and performing daily tasks.
working as an occupational therapist
The specific duties of an occupational therapist include:
occupational therapist job description
- evaluation: one of your primary responsibilities is to evaluate your client's needs and develop a personalised treatment plan. You work with your client to identify their goals and develop strategies to help them achieve those goals. You use exercises and activities to improve strength, flexibility, and coordination, as well as cognitive or behavioural interventions to address mental health concerns.
- education: another important aspect of your job is to provide education and support to your clients and their families. You work with them to help them understand their condition or injury and teach them how to manage their symptoms and prevent further injury.
- documenting and reporting: as an occupational therapist, you are often responsible for managing and maintaining client records and documentation. You keep track of progress with written notes, treatment plans, and other important information related to your client's care.
- collaboration: collaboration with other healthcare professionals is also essential to your job. You may work with physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and other professionals to ensure that your client receives comprehensive and coordinated care.
Your specific work environment may vary depending on what kind of organisation you work for, though you are typically situated in the same type of clinical setting. If you work for a private practice, your workspace may be a quiet, private room, whereas a hospital environment will likely be busier. Depending on the nature of your work, you may occasionally travel. For example, you may visit schools as a paediatric occupational therapist.
who are your colleagues?
As with any specialist healthcare professional, your main colleagues are other healthcare professionals. You collaborate with these professionals to ensure your clients get the best care possible. Such colleagues include physicians, nurses, and dietitians.
A typical schedule for an OT is a standard full-time workload of 40 to 48 hours per week. In most cases, these hours will align with standard business hours. If you work in a hospital, you may work shifts. In that case, your hours may include early mornings and late nights.
The rising demand for occupational therapists in India may be partly to do with the relatively few programs for gaining the necessary qualifications. Another potential reason for the growing demand is a general rise in awareness of personal health among Indians.
advantages of finding an occupational therapist job through randstad
Finding your occupational therapist job through Randstad provides important advantages such as:
- a wide variety of training and development opportunities
- an experienced contact person to provide help if needed
- a range of opportunities in your area
- get paid on a monthly basis
- temporary and permanent contracts
Want a permanent contract? A temporary job as an occupational therapist is often a stepping stone to an attractive permanent job. Every year, thousands of people earn a permanent contract with great employers thanks to a temporary job found through Randstad. What's more, many companies recruit their permanent employees through Randstad too!
education and skills
Some of the academic qualifications for occupational therapists include:
- 12 standard: you require at least a bachelor's degree to become an occupational therapist. To be accepted onto such a program, you need at least a 12-standard education in a science stream.
- bachelor's degree: a bachelor's in occupational therapy should be enough to meet most employers' requirements. It also provides reassurance to your clients to know that their therapist is highly qualified.
- certifications: another option is to gain a certificate in occupational therapy. This qualification has the advantage of being obtainable online, though some employers may prefer a bachelor's degree.
occupational therapist skills and competencies
Some of the qualities of an occupational therapist include:
- interpersonal communication: you work closely with clients and their families, as well as other healthcare professionals, so it's important to be able to listen effectively, convey information clearly, and build strong relationships.
- problem-solving and critical thinking: as an occupational therapist, you are tasked with evaluating your client's needs, identifying challenges and barriers to their progress, and developing creative solutions to help them overcome those challenges.
- empathy and compassion: you work with clients who may be experiencing pain, frustration, or emotional distress, so it's important to understand and respond to their needs with kindness and sensitivity.
- professional development: the field of occupational therapy is constantly evolving, and it is essential to stay up-to-date on new research, technologies, and treatment approaches to provide the best possible care for your clients.
FAQs about working as an occupational therapist
Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of occupational therapy.
is occupational therapy a good career?
Occupational therapy is a rewarding profession that allows you to make a meaningful impact on your clients' lives. It is also a profession in growing demand in India and offers immense satisfaction to people who enjoy helping others.
what does an occupational therapist do?
Occupational therapists are healthcare specialists who work with people of all ages to improve their ability to perform routine tasks. The people occupational therapists work with are typically dealing with long-term issues, such as a debilitating illness, life-changing injury, or old age.
is an occupational therapist a doctor?
Occupational therapists are part of a rehabilitation team and are regarded as healthcare professionals, but they are not doctors. They do not have the authority to prescribe or dispense medicines, for example.
what are the qualifications for being an occupational therapist?
In most cases, a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy is required to be employed as an occupational therapist in India, though other certifications are available. A master's degree is not necessary but can help increase earning potential.
does occupational therapy have a future?
Occupational therapy is a profession in increasing demand in India. The importance of personal health and the desire to live better lives is becoming a significant factor for many Indians.
how do I apply for an occupational therapist vacancy?
Applying for an occupational therapist job is easy: create a Randstad profile and search our job offers for vacancies in your area. Then simply send us your CV and cover letter. Need help with your application? Check out all our job search tips here!