16 Pros and Cons of Being an Occupational Therapist

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Occupational therapy is the perfect career for those looking for something that is not only challenging but rewarding.

Occupation therapists help those who have mental or physical health conditions.

An occupational therapist’s job is to help their patients take back their independence by participating in daily activities.

But before you take the dive, be sure that you educate yourself on the pros and cons of the profession so you can determine if this is the right fit for you.

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Pros of Being an Occupational Therapist

Here are some advantages of being an occupational therapist.

1. Certification is an Option

There are various certifications you can choose from when pursuing a career as an occupational therapist.

However, you may find that some types of certifications require you to undergo further training.

Furthermore, the type of medical facility you are working in will determine the type of certificate you need.

Choosing to obtain an additional certificate will benefit you as it will raise your salary.

2. Flexible Work Hours

Being an occupational therapist means that you will have many options to choose from regarding hours and the work environment.

You can choose from clinics, schools, hospitals, and various other medical facilities.

Additionally, you may even choose to start your own private practice.

You also have the option to work full-time or part-time.

Having flexibility in your career gives you control over your schedule, which is a huge plus for many people.

3. Change Patient’s Lives

One of the most rewarding parts of being an occupational therapist is the fact that you will be making a difference in people’s lives every single day.

You will be helping people overcome various challenges they are facing, whether they are physical, emotional, or cognitive.

Your goal is to help them enhance their overall well-being.

Maybe you will have a client that you need to help learn how to talk again following a stroke.

Or perhaps your client is autistic and you are teaching them how to communicate productively.

The power is in your hands to change a person’s lives significantly.

4. Great Income

Annually, occupational therapists earn $84,950.

Between 2019 and 2029, this profession is expected to increase by 16%.

You can feel confident knowing that you have a stable career all while earning a great salary.

Furthermore, occupational therapists are in-demand, which means you can count on finding an opening when it’s your time to look for a job.

5. Many Specialization Areas to Choose From

Before you begin your career as an occupational therapist, you should think about which specialty area you’d like to work in.

There are certain paths you will need to take, depending on the speciality you choose.

You will also need to make sure you get the necessary certificates.

Some examples of specialities to choose from include, pediatrics, psychiatry, orthopedics, hand or vision therapy, neurology, and physical rehab.

6. Highly Satisfying Career

You will feel good to know that your career as an occupational therapist is highly satisfying.

If you love helping people, you will receive great satisfaction from it.

The rewards that you receive from this career will be endless.

You have the opportunity to build new connections and relationships with your clients and co-workers from different types of backgrounds.

7. Low-Stress Working Conditions

Many different occupations in the medical field are highly stressful.

However, this isn’t the case for occupational therapists.

Working conditions are less stressful compared to other healthcare careers.

You will be working with patients who have varying health issues but are still capable of completing traditional therapy.

You will soon notice that your daily responsibilities aren’t stressful or you won’t be overexerting yourself.

8. Travel

If traveling is on your bucket list, you will have the opportunity to do a lot of that by being an occupational therapist.

There is such thing as “travel occupational therapists.”

These OTs travel all over the country to work in different healthcare settings.

With this comes an even more attractive salary and more benefits.

You can also take advantage of furnished housing and a lot of flexibility.

Cons of Being an Occupational Therapist

1. Immense Education Needed

 In order to become an occupational therapist, you may be required to obtain either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.

It depends on various things, including the state you are practicing in.

Aside from educational requirements, you will need to obtain a license once you have graduated from school.

If you aren’t ready to commit to these things, this may not be the best career choice for you.

A lot of people may find the education requirements too time-consuming.

2. Challenges you Emotionally 

Being an OT means that you will come across a range of different patients.

Some of them may not be in the best of moods, while others may be in great moods.

You may even come across patients that have extreme medical conditions, where you may not see any progress even though you have been trying your hardest.

This can challenge you emotionally and add unwanted stress to your job.

This is a career that requires a lot of patience.

Your main duty is to ensure your patient is as comfortable as possible.

3. Long Hours

Chances are high that you will be working long hours, as some patients may require help around the clock.

If you have a patient that is in bad health, you may need to be by their side for a long period of time.

This is a career that will require a lot of your time.

If you have other commitments in other areas of your life that are important, you may want to re-think becoming an OT.

4. Infection Risks

Your job as an OT requires you to be around different types of patients.

You will be coming in contact with different bodily fluids as well.

This puts you at a great risk of infection.

If you are following your dreams of becoming an occupational therapist, this is something you should be prepared for.

When you come across different situations, you will already know how to handle them.  

5. Challenging Patients

No doubt, working as an OT means you will come across some difficult patients.

However, occupational therapists are thoroughly trained in how to deal with different types of patients.

But, even still, you may encounter challenging patients.

This may make it harder for you to form a relationship with them.

6. Not a Popular Career Choice

If you ask many people, you’d be surprised to know that they have never heard of an OT.

This is not a popular career choice compared to other professions in the healthcare industry.

When you tell people that you are an OT, you should be prepared to constantly explain to them what your job involves.

7. Takes a Toll on you Physically

Occupational therapists engage in a lot of physically demanding activities throughout their shifts.

You may even stand for long periods of time throughout the day.

Some activities may even require a lot of energy on your part, such as lifting clients from their beds or wheelchairs.

Your support may even be required during exercises.

8. Constantly Have to Learn New Technology and Techniques

Working with patients that suffer from a wide range of disabilities is common, being an occupational therapist.

You will find that every patient is not the same.

Your approach will differ for each patient.

These things can take a toll on you both mentally and physically as you learn how to adapt to these differences.

You will also have to stay up to date on new technology and techniques in your industry.

This can be a challenge as you work to help patients daily.

16 Pros and Cons of Being an Occupational Therapist – Summary Table

Pros of Being an Occupational TherapistCons of Being an Occupational Therapist
1. Certification is an Option1. Immense Education Needed
2. Flexible Work Hours2. Challenges you Emotionally
3. Change Patient’s Lives3. Long Hours
4. Great Income4. Infection Risks
5. Many Specialization Areas to Choose From5. Challenging Patients
6. Highly Satisfying Career6. Not a Popular Career Choice
7. Low Stress Working Conditions7. Takes a Toll on you Physically
8. Travel8. Constantly Have to Learn New Technology and Techniques

Should You Become an Occupational Therapist?

Being an OT is an admirable choice as a profession.

The job of an occupational therapist involves providing support and helping people who may be recovering from injuries or are experiencing cognitive changes.

It requires you to be physically active, as you will be standing for long periods of time.

There’s also a lot of education required.

The good news is that occupational therapists can make a good income.

If you can get past the negatives of this career, you will find that the benefits of being an OT significantly outweigh them.  

This can be a rewarding career for anyone that is self-disciplined and has a drive to succeed.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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