Some things, like brushing the teeth or walking about, look absolutely simple to some people; for certain others, carrying out these simple tasks is an achievement in itself. This may either be because of some birth defect or some accident or trauma that they had to go through at some point in their lives. To help these people restore those parameters and obtain the necessary skills to function normally, the support and coordination of a number of healthcare professionals are needed. At the forefront of all this lies the role of occupational therapy assistants.
Occupational therapy assistants are people who are scientifically trained to come up with innovative measures to tackle the different kinds of situations that restrict a person's movements. They apply their knowledge to devise customised schedules for their patients to help them recover and lead a normal life.
In the Indian context, this is a newer profession and not many people are aware of the scope of the same. This article brings to you the world of occupational therapy assistants and tells you how you can go ahead and make a worthy career here.
• Job Roles
The main job role of an occupational therapy assistant is to coordinate with an occupational therapist and come up with a range of diverse activities that are customised for each patient. They are then responsible for encouraging the patient for the same and ensuring that the tasks and activities that were planned are successfully completed.
In the case of patients who need to use special devices, (such as patients whose limbs have been amputated; they'll need prosthetic limbs) it is the duty of the occupational therapy assistant to ensure that the patient is taught about how to go about using the same.
The progress of the patient is noted by such professionals and the same is then reported to occupational therapists. In some set-ups, physical therapy assistants are expected to perform clerical tasks like answering phones and emails and scheduling the patient's appointments.
In the case of children who have developmental disabilities, occupational therapy assistants bring about coordination and socialisation in them by leading them to a number of specially planned social activities.
• Educational Qualifications
One needs to have completed their 10 + 2 from a recognised board or university with at least 55% marks; the candidate needs to have studied the subjects of physics, chemistry and biology. Following this, one needs to have a graduate degree in occupational therapy.
This degree is usually given in the form of a Bachelor of Science, which is a three-year course in most Indian universities. In some places in the world, the course is for four years.
Once a candidate has the required qualifications, they need to apply for a license in order to be eligible to practise. This license is given out by the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). Candidates who have secured 55% during the course of their graduate degree tend to get their license easily. Others have to sit for a professional examination in order to be eligible for the same.
• Skill Set
In this field, not every type of therapy will work for every patient. Thus, it is necessary for an occupational therapy assistant to be creative and adaptive in order to come up with customised plans for each patient. Since this job role involves interacting with patients who deal with the most basic life skills, it is important for the person concerned to be compassionate.
In the same context, good interpersonal skills are needed when dealing with the patient as well as with their family. One must learn to be accountable for what they do and be able to justify all of that to the patient's family.
Since this job involves a lot of clerical activities, one has to be patient and detail-oriented. Thus, as you can see, this is a very challenging profession and you are not advised to take it up unless you are absolutely sure about the same.
• Work Environment
Occupational therapy assistants find employment in hospitals, dispensaries and clinics. Some of them may choose to not be employed under another person and directly work with the patients. Needless to say, the work environment here will depend on the type of job you take up.
In many cases, you should be prepared to work on the weekends and in shifts. Understand that constant kneeling, standing for long periods of time and stooping are a part of this profession. Thus, you need to be prepared for the same. In fact, a candidate must possess a fair amount of physical strength if they really want to do justice to this job.
The nature of the job here is rewarding; the same can be said about the monetary compensation. The average salary of such people ranges from a minimum of INR 93,957 to INR 7,14,762 per month. The sheer range of this value tells us that the amount of money that you make in this profession will depend on your client base, which will in turn be influenced by how good you are at your job.
Thus, if you are really passionate about your field and are ready to put in the required hard work, there is nothing that can stop you from shining here.
Thus, we see that a career as an occupational therapy assistant is indeed a worthy option for people who want to give back to the society. Indeed there is nothing like the mental satisfaction that comes from the fact that you have been able to get someone else to lead a normal life.
Having understood the immense career scope that exists in this field, you can now go ahead and carve a niche for yourself into the wonderful world of occupational therapy assistants.