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registered occupational therapist

How to Become a Registered Occupational Therapist

In the team of rehabilitation, the occupational therapist plays an important role. An occupational therapist uses assessments and interventions to help patients of all ages with various cognitive and physical disabilities and conditions. The occupational therapist emphasizes developing and maintaining the skills to perform meaningful activities, like eating, bathing, getting dressed, or occupations of daily life such as work, play, leisure time, education, social participation, and more activities of daily living (ADLs).

Registered Occupational Therapist:

  • Work with patients who have developmental and cognitive conditions like autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy and who have physical changes due to aging or injury, such as stroke, arthritis, CTS, or amputations.
  • Teach new ways to perform daily tasks
  • Demonstrate how to use assistive technology
  • Create daily routines that promote independence
  • Educate caregivers on how to best help
  • Show stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Teach how to perform tasks without pain

The majority of states in the USA have their own specific requirements for occupational therapists, and the majority set forth steps familiar to the following:

First: Meet the Requirements for Accreditation

The minimum entry-level requirements for accreditation to become a registered occupational therapist include :

  • Pre-requisite education, i.e., Bachelor’s in Occupational Therapy
  • Coursework
  • Field experience
  • Masters’ degree in Occupational Therapy

Graduate from an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) accredited educational institution in a relevant area, such as biology, health science, or psychology.

If you wish to become a Registered Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA) rather than OT, you only need to earn your associate degree in OT.

Common Coursework includes:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Occupational Therapy principles
  • Medical and Social conditions
  • Human Occupation throughout the Lifespan
  • Kinesiology and Biomechanics
  • Psychopathology
  • Therapeutic Media, Materials and Processes
  • Interpersonal and Interprofessional Communication
  • Health ethics
  • Assistive technology
  • Research methods
  • Adult and child patient care.

In order to become a Registered Occupational Therapist, fieldwork is as important as the coursework. During the fieldwork, the students are able to experience the roles, responsibilities, and rewards of facilitating occupational therapy services.

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (2009), “the purpose of fieldwork education is to propel each generation of occupational therapy practitioners from the role of student to that of the practitioner”.

Each Level I Fieldwork experience will promote professional and practice-based skills that the student obtains through the coursework up to the point of placement and will progress in expectations and rigor to promote the progression into a successful Level II Fieldwork student.

LEVEL I FIELDWORK

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (2011) states, “The goal of Level I fieldwork is to introduce students to the fieldwork experience, to apply knowledge to practice, and to develop an understanding of the needs of the clients”.

Students have to actively participate in three Level I Fieldwork rotations. These occur in three semesters and are integrated with the academic courses, completed in minimum of 32 hours in each rotation. Each rotation of the fieldwork is individualized for every student and has to be conducted over the course of the semester or during the last week of the semester.

These rotations can be completed in hospitals, school districts, pr skilled nursing facilities, and in emerging practice areas, like community-based mental health clinics, productive aging, and health and wellness centers.

LEVEL II FIELDWORK

The goal of Level II fieldwork is to develop competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapists. It includes an in-depth experience in delivering occupational therapy services to clients, focusing on the application of purposeful occupation and research, administration, and management of occupational therapy services.

Students have to actively participate in three Level I Fieldwork rotations. These occur in two semesters, completing in a minimum of 24 weeks beginning from the first semester of the second year and ending with the third year. It is to be done in a minimum of one set if it is simulated in more than one practice area, or of a maximum of four different settings.

These can be completed in traditional and emerging practice settings including administrative and service, management experiences, environmental analysis experiences, and work with disabled, age-specific, or diagnosis-specific clients. Psychological factors influencing engagement in occupation must be understood and integrated for the development of client-centered, meaningful, occupation-based outcomes.

Complete an Internship as a Registered Occupational therapist

Prior to licensing, every field demands clinical experience in the same profession. Like most other medical specialties, occupational therapy requires firsthand clinical experience acquired through an internship facilitated by the occupational therapy department at the college/university. Also, it can be attained independently through a term of service with Licensed Occupational Therapy.

Its duration varies in various states from four to six months.

Pass the NBCOT exam

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) is the certifying body for all registered occupational therapists in the United States. It works to guarantee that occupational therapy practitioners across the country meet set standards by administering a national certification exam that all occupational therapists must clear.

National certification is a prerequisite for state licensing and involves taking Registered Occupational Therapist (OTR) exam. Clearing it allows the therapist to use the title’ Occupational therapist Registered (OTR)’.

Apply for licensure

Occupational Therapists need to get licensed in the state in which they have planned to practice further. Licensure requirements vary in various states. In general, the licensure procedure requires:

  • an NBCOT score
  • academic transcripts
  • a background check

Prior to the actual application process, some states may request you to take a jurisprudence exam that evaluates the knowledge of the occupational therapists to pertinent laws and regulations regarding the Occupational Therapist profession in the state.

Some states also permit the therapists to submit a Verification of Licensure from another state where the therapist has practiced before as an Occupational Therapist instead of NBCOT certification.

Registered Occupational Therapist: Maintain the Licensure

  • Maintaining licensure is a task and for it, Occupational Therapists must meet continuing education requirements every two years (in most states). It keeps them updated with the profession’s standards and trends and also maintains their membership in the associations.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is lifelong learning through various seminars, workshops, online courses, etc. conducted as Continuing Educational Units (CEU) offered at various platforms.

[One such platform is ‘Psychology for the Body’ founded by Ari Ginsberg, PT & Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, where he provides Psychology-focused education through live and on-demand approved CEUs for Occupational Therapists. Get yours booked at psychologyforthebodyceu.com]

With the budding professional career, you must be considerate about expanding your knowledge and practice with various certified short courses, fellowship,s or residency programs.

  • They can also pursue doctoral degrees to become specialists and gain specialization certifications.

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Let's Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs

A 2.5 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – # 02517 

NY Board of Physical Therapy

The Ohio Physical Therapy Association # 21S2571

The NJ Board of PT # 2110-14

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS,

MT, NC, ND, NH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

due to recognition of approval from another state chapter of the APTA (Ohio PTA)

or another state board of PT (NY, NJ)

Objectives to facilitate clinician ethical practice

 

1. Define ethics and the Code of Ethics of the APTA/AOTA to practice in an ethical manner

2. Analyze the boundaries of ethical priniciples for PTs/OTs to solve ethical dilemmas

3. Apply APTA ethical principles to professional practice through case studies

4. Apply AOTA ethical principles to professional practice through case studies

A posttest/survey will be give after live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

Optimizing the Patient Experience

A 1 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02034

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Pending Approval by the NJ Board of PT – 2022 – 2024

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ CO, GA, IA, IL, KS, NC, NE, NH, ND, NM, OR, SC, WA, WI

Objectives related to professional development

1) Identify the components of bedside manner/ patient satisfaction and their link to healthcare outcomes

2) Apply strategies using social psychology to optimize the patient experience

3) Implement an organizational approach to improve patient satisfaction scores

A posttest/survey will be given following live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing the on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

Improving Patient Adherence to Home Exercise Programs

 1 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02036

NY Board of Physical Therapy

The NJ Board of PT # 2111-80

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ CO, GA, IA, IL, KS, NC, NE, NH, ND, NM, OR, SC, UT, WA, WI

Objectives to facilitate patient/client goal achievement

1. Identify the benefits of home exercise programs

2) Define differing theories of motivation/influence

3) Apply social psychology to HEP prescription/plan

A posttest/survey will be given following live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

The Science of Bedside Manner and Patient Satisfaction

A 2 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02037

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Ohio Physical Therapy Association # 21S2565

The NJ Board of PT # 2110-15

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS,

MT, NC, ND, NH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

due to recognition of approval from another state chapter of the APTA (Ohio PTA)

or another state board of PT (NJ, NY)

Objectives to facilitate patient/client goal achievement

1. Develop and improve empathy skills

2. Identify the link between bedside manner/patient satisfaction and health outcomes

3. Measure patient satisfaction in a valid/reliable manner

4. Apply social psychology techniques to improve patient satisfaction

5) Integrate organizational strategies to improve patient satisfaction scores

A posttest/survey will be give after live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

Effective Leadership and Communication in Rehab

A 1 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02299

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ CO, GA, IA, IL, KS, NC, NE, NH, ND, NM, OR, SC, WA, WI

Objectives related to professional development

 

1. Define leadership and various leadership styles

2. Identify successful leadership styles in healthcare/rehab

3. Implement effective leadership communication strategies in rehab

A posttest/survey will be given after live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

The New World of Rehab: Addressing Burnout

A 1-hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02035

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS,

MT, NC, ND, NH, OR, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

due to recognition by another state board of PT (NY)

Objectives related to professional development

 

1. Identify the causes of rehab burnout

2. Recognize the signs of rehab burnout

3. Apply strategies to prevent/reduce rehab burnout

A posttest/survey will be given after live and on-demand webinars. After on-demand purchase you will be redirected to a webpage with the video link/posttest link. A CEU certificate will be emailed following post-test completion