Playing, pottery, painting, making baskets – it sounds like a hobby, but it is everyday work for occupational therapists. Because occupational therapy has its very own approach. This can already be derived from the name “occupational therapy”. “Ergo” comes namely from the Greek word ergon from, which means deed or activity.
What is occupational therapy?
Therapeia , on the other hand, means something like treatment of illness. Occupational therapy therefore assumes that diseases can be treated through targeted physical and mental activities .
The aim of occupational therapy is to enable people who are restricted by injuries, illnesses or disabilities to live an everyday life that is as independent as possible.
According to usprivateschoolsfinder, occupational therapy is prescribed, for example, to patients with mental or physical illnesses, stroke patients, children with developmental delays or people with diseases of the elderly. The prescribed occupational therapy can be just as different as these patients are. However, the focus is always on the patient acting himself.
For example, an occupational therapist can practice everyday activities with a stroke patient , such as putting on shoes. Or instruct a person with multiple sclerosis to work with modeling clay and pencil to train their fine motor skills. Advice from relatives or assistance with reintegration into the job can also be part of the work of an occupational therapist.
Combine training and studies
Occupational therapist is a classic training occupation in Germany . In the meantime, however, some universities of applied sciences also offer courses in occupational therapy. Often these are dual courses of study, in which training and study are combined, or part-time courses. Full-time courses are usually characterized by many practical phases.
In most cases, the students not only receive the academic bachelor’s degree, but can also take the state examination during their studies, which entitles them to use the professional title of occupational therapist .
The occupational therapist training includes manual and theoretical components as well as 1,700 hours of professional practice . In the vocational school, scientific and medical content, such as biology , anatomy, physiology or pathology, is on the curriculum. In addition, social science, psychological and educational content is also dealt with, such as special education or sociology .
The trainees also learn different forms of physical education , games, craft techniques and treatment methods know. The trainees do the practical part of their training in the form of internships in a total of four different institutions.
In the bachelor’s degree
In the bachelor’s degree, students approach occupational therapy from a scientific point of view . As in the training, medical, psychological, sociological and pedagogical basics are conveyed and various occupational therapy procedures are discussed and implemented in various internships. In addition, the course also teaches the basics of scientific work and research, and subjects such as quality assurance and management are taught.
In the master’s degree
If you are aiming for a scientific career or would like to qualify for management positions in the private sector, you can even add a master’s degree to the bachelor’s degree. Master’s courses in the field of occupational therapy offer the opportunity to deepen the knowledge acquired in the bachelor’s course. Depending on the university, there is also the option of specializing in a certain subject area , such as interculturality. It is also possible to pursue a master’s degree in a related subject and, for example, to pursue further training in naturopathy .
The secondary school leaving certificate or a secondary school leaving certificate plus completed vocational training are sufficient for training as an occupational therapist. Studying at a university of applied sciences requires the entrance qualification for a university of applied sciences. If you want to complete a dual course of study , you not only have to look for a study place, but also for an apprenticeship. Completed vocational training is a prerequisite for part-time studies .
Prospective occupational therapists should, above all else, enjoy dealing with people. In everyday working life, qualities such as patience, communication skills and empathy are important. For studies and training, however, an interest in subjects such as biology, medicine and psychology is also necessary. A certain manual skill and creativity should also not be missing if you want to work as an occupational therapist.
Career prospects for occupational therapists
Most occupational therapists work in the healthcare sector. For example, they are employed in hospitals , workshops for people with disabilities or dormitories for the mentally ill . Depending on the clinical picture, they use various forms of therapy that are intended to help people cope with their everyday lives as independently as possible. Quite a few set up their own practice for occupational therapy after a few years of professional experience.
In addition to working directly with the patient, advising relatives, setting up apartments for the disabled or developing auxiliary devices are possible activities. In addition, occupational therapists can also work in the areas of quality management or adult education . Masters graduates can embark on an academic career and, for example, research and teach at university.
Study occupational therapy abroad
A degree enables occupational therapists to work abroad. In order to be optimally prepared for this, it is advisable to spend one or more semesters abroad during your studies.
In any other study abroad is recommended because while insights into other ways of working can be obtained that the sharpening of one’s academic profile contribute. At the same time, foreign language skills are improved and intercultural skills are acquired, which can be very useful for later work.