Just like every other career, occupational therapy too has some good and some bad sides. There are numerous job opportunities and a great career outlook for occupational therapists in the United States of America, but at the same time, the client centered nature of this job may lead to physical or mental pressure. It depends on the different perceptions that may vary from person to person. Such a hectic and fast moving life doesn’t suit everyone until and unless you are passionate about working for the welfare of the mentally, physically or emotionally disabled people. If you are planning to become an occupational therapist, it is a must for you to be aware of all the pros and cons of this job. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of being an occupational therapist that will definitely help you decide whether it is a right career choice for you or not.
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Advantages of Becoming an OT
1. Huge Demand
The first and foremost benefit of being an occupational therapist is the availability of tremendous job opportunities. Due to this, graduates in this field don’t face many difficulties in finding a job. As per the report of the Bureau of Labor and statistics, it is anticipated that from 2014 to 2024, there would be a growth of 27 percent in the career outlook for occupational therapists in the United States of America.
2. Meet New People
If you love to meet new people, this is a perfect job for you. An occupational therapist gets many chances to meet and deal with different clients. That is why it proves to be a good job for extrovert people.
3. Work Settings
In this profession, you have options to work in different clinical settings such as schools, home health settings, rehab centers, etc. Also, there are many job profiles for occupational therapists which would give them wide scope in their career.
There are various fields comprising geriatrics, pediatrics, hand therapy, vision therapy, etc. You can choose the one that seems the most interesting to you. You can work on a part-time or full-time basis.
5. Job Satisfaction
As an Occupational Therapist, you help people by bringing a difference in their lives. You are serving the humanity and this feeling gives you inner peace and immense satisfaction.
6. Future Scope
There are many job titles related to occupational therapists that allow you to work on various profiles. Also, this field offers many opportunities for specialization such as women’s health, Neonatal care, Lymphedema Management, Assistive technology, Low vision, etc. With an OT license, you can even pursue multiple specialties.
7. Lucrative Salary
Since the demand for the job of an occupational therapist is quite high, these are among the most well paid professionals in America. Salary is comparatively higher at the places where many people need the care and treatment of occupational therapy, but there are not sufficient OTs to meet the demand.
Disadvantages of Being an OT
1. Extensive Study Required
It is not easy to be an occupational therapist. You need to be a graduate in occupational therapy from an approved school. In addition to this, some prerequisite courses, and other requisites such as clearance of national certification exam are also essential.
2. Risk of Infection
You may have to deal with the messy fluids that come out of the bodies of your clients. Assisting the patients to clean their urine, vomit, discharge from infected wounds, blood, etc. are some tasks you may not be comfortable with.
3. Misbehavior by Patients
It is possible that the patients you are serving might misbehave. They can be frustrated or in bad moods and may yell at you. In such a situation, you have to be calm and quiet. Your wrong reaction may worsen their condition.
4. Physically Demanding
Many activities that an occupational therapist needs to perform while serving a patient are physically demanding. You have to lift patients, move them from one place to another. It would be fine if you are working for kids but if you client is an adult or a person twice your size, it wouldn’t be easy. Also, you need to stand on your feet for long hours.
5. Long Work Hours
Your clients may need your support and care throughout the day and night. If the patient is in a critical situation, you need to stand by his/her side for excessive periods. Sometimes you may also have to work on weekends, holidays or late at night.
6. Emotionally Challenging
You may face a situation in which you serve a patient for a long time but don’t see much progress in his/her condition or despite your great efforts the client may die due to illness. This situation may lead to stress and depression, especially for the new OTs.