The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calls occupational therapy one of today's fastest growing careers , pointing to growing numbers of older adults and young children who need occupational therapy services.
Nationwide, there are 324 college or university-based educational programs for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants.
Occupational therapists have at least a four-year bachelor's degree , and many have masters or doctorate degrees. Occupational therapy assistants typically have a two-year associates degree. Beginning in 2007, occupational therapists must have at least a master's degree.
Approximately 117,000 occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are licensed to practice in all states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico . Florida alone has over 6,000 licensed occupational therapy practitioners.
Occupational therapy services are delivered in a variety of settings such as schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, and mental health clinics.
Conditions benefiting from occupational therapy include:
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) was founded in 1917. The historic roots of occupational therapy lay in the movement to reform mental health care at the turn of the 20 th century, when it was shown that patients who engaged in "purposeful occupations" such as crafts and practical work experienced a more successful recovery.
The Fund To Promote Awareness of Occupational Therapy was created by AOTA in 2002 as part of a long-term strategy to raise awareness of occupational therapy. The Fund is a charitable organization committed to ongoing resource development to support targeted outreach, education, research and professional development opportunities that will increase the public's understanding and utilization of occupational therapy services.