An occupational therapist is responsible for providing medical help and/or rehabilitation to individuals suffering from functional disabilities that prevent them from leading fully functional and healthy, independent lives, in the workplace and/or at home. These patients’ disabilities generally stem from physical or mental illness, aging, developmental problems, and/or emotional problems. Occupational therapy employs various exercises and physical and mental activities meant to challenge and thereby further improve and develop motor and sensory perception, judgment and problem-solving skills, cognition, hand functions and hand-eye coordination. Patients with physical limitations that cannot be healed or cured are taught how to circumvent those limitations in order to manage everyday activities and work-specific tasks independently, sometimes through physical or mental exercises, and sometimes by using specially designed devices.
Similar to physiotherapy, occupational therapy career may require that you be skilled at working with other people, especially patients who are disabled. Also like physiotherapists, occupational therapists use physical contact with their patients in helping them do stretches and exercises properly and safely. A key personality trait for those seeking to pursue occupational therapy might be being comfortable with using professional/medical physical contact with patients, and feeling at ease demonstrating various exercises and activities. Also, since an occupational therapist works with his/her patients as well as the patients’ families, it’s helpful to be friendly, compassionate, understanding, patient, and motivational. Strong communication skills are also important, since occupational therapists explain how and why to do exercises, how to accomplish certain tasks and how to manage mental tasks.
The requirements to become an occupational therapist are generally passing the 10+2 exam in physics, chemistry, biology and English with at least 45 to 50 percent marks, and a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (BOT), a four and a half year programme with a six-month internship.
It is important to note, however, that one must have at least a Master’s in Occupational Therapy (MOT) in order to teach the subject at a college or university. Also, while India does not require a MOT in order for practicing occupational therapy, other countries, like the United States, do. So if you are considering pursuing occupational therapy abroad, it is may be advisable to study the extra two to three years at an accredited school offering a master’s program (where you’ll have to choose a specialization such as musculoskeletal sciences, cardiovascular and respiratory sciences, developmental disabilities, neurosciences, mental health sciences or community medical sciences).
For admission to MOT program, the candidate should have passed Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (B.O.Th.) from an institution recognized by UGC securing at least 50% marks in the aggregate. There are few universities offering the course including Jamia Hamdard (New Delhi) and Manipal Academy, Karnataka.
The salary varies greatly depending on location, experience and whether the position is in the public or private sector. According to one source, PayScale.com, the average annual pay for a physiotherapist in India might range from Rs. 93,957 to Rs. 7,14,762.
Occupational therapists find jobs in hospitals, private clinics and health centres, rehabilitation centres and NGOs. More than one-third of occupational therapists work part time.
In large rehabilitation centers, occupational therapists may work in spacious rooms equipped with machines, tools, and other devices generating noise. The job can be tiring, because therapists are on their feet much of the time.
Those providing home healthcare may spend time driving from appointment to appointment. Therapists also face hazards such as back strain from lifting and moving clients and equipment.
Occupational therapists, in recent time, are increasingly taking on supervisory roles. Due to rising healthcare costs, third party payers are beginning to encourage occupational therapist assistants and aides to take more hands-on responsibility. By having assistants and aides work more closely with clients under the guidance of a therapist, the cost of therapy should be more modest.
The earnings of occupational therapists are no less encouraging. They work on full time or part time basis in hospitals/rehabilitation centres to earn handsome salary. Graduate occupational therapists get starting salary ranging between Rs 8,500 and Rs 11,500 per month. However, with one or two years of experience, remuneration increases. In the private hospitals and NGOs, the pay package is higher.
- Uttar Pradesh