Occupational therapists or just OTS  work with patients who have lost their abilities to perform daily living and work activities due to physical, mental, or developmentally or emotionally disabling conditions. They help individuals recover and improve their skills by showing them how to perform exercises and teaching them to use adaptive equipment. You will learn through formal training, certain personal characteristics, also called soft skills, will help you succeed in this profession in addition to the hard skills. Think about whether you have these characteristics before you begin your pursuit of this career. Consider whether you can acquire them if not. Occupational therapists should be service-oriented. They need strong interpersonal and communication skills, including excellent speaking and listening skills. They must also be very good at problem solving, critical thinking and decision making. You will have to earn either an entry-level master's or doctoral degree from an OT program that has received accreditation from the ACOTE in case you want to become an occupational therapist. Master's level programs award an MS, MA, MOT or MSOT degree. Doctoral programs award either a DrOT or an OTD degree. Students generally spend between two and three yearsf earning a master's degree or about three years in a doctoral program. There are some master's level programs that combine undergraduate and graduate study, awarding students a bachelor's degree and then a master's degree in occupational therapy.

How to become an occupational therapist

Regardless of whether they are pursuing a master's or doctoral degree, students must also complete several fieldwork experiences which involve working with real clients under the supervision of OT professionals in addition to classroom learning. Doctoral students' training includes a 16 week residency program during which they get in depth training in one of seven areas specified by ACOTE: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, or theory development. You can expect to take many of the following courses in case you decide to go to school to become an OT: Fundamentals of Health Care and Professional Practice, Kinesiology in Occupations, Contemporary Issues in OT Practice. Admission requirements and procedures are different for each program and therefore you must get details about the ones to which you are interested in applying. As well as doctoral programs, generally require a bachelor's degree for entry, master's degree programs that do not combine undergraduate and graduate study. It can be in any subject but the student will most likely have to complete prerequisite courses in many cases. Combination bachelor and master's degree programs typically require applicants to have a high school diploma. You can find lists of ACOTE-accredited master's and doctoral level OT programs on the website of AOTA. You will have to apply for a professional license once you graduate. Each state in the US is responsible for licensing OTs and has different requirements. get in touch with the appropriate licensing authority by consulting the list of the AOTA to find out what they are in the state in which you want to work.