Fort Myers occupational therapists

Report: Hiring for Occupational Therapists on the Upswing

When you imagine the fastest-growing career, your mind probably zips to something like computer programming or industry giants like Uber and Amazon. Few pay much mind to the health care field, but the reality is it is one of the most rapidly expanding market sectors. What’s more, a sizable part of that growth involves occupational therapists.

Glassdoor just ranked the job of occupational therapist as the No. 4 most desirable of 2018 among the top 50. Additionally, U.S. News & World report ranked the job of occupational therapists as No. 9 in Best Health Care Jobs and No. 11 in the Best 100 Jobs.

Our FOCUS Fort Myers occupational therapists aren’t surprised in the least. First, a growing number of physicians, patients and families are recognizing how extremely effective and profoundly positive it can be – whether an aging stroke patient, a car accident victim or a toddler with autism. Pediatric occupational therapy especially is renowned to be a highly-rewarding field. Florida occupational therapy careers are taking off, with therapists in high demand and garnering well-deserved credit for remarkable progress with patients of all challenges.

What Do Occupational Therapists Do?

Perhaps a better question is, “What can occupational therapists NOT do?” (because “can’t” isn’t in our vocabulary). It’s a broad discipline that can look very different, depending on the patient, the diagnosis, the setting, training and the resources.

Fort Myers pediatric occupational therapists at FOCUS work almost exclusively in the clinic. (Occupational therapists can also work in settings like schools, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and in clients’ homes.) After conducting careful assessments of each child, we develop a comprehensive, goal-oriented treatment plan that aims to help children tackle their individual challenges. Targeted goals can include things like:

  • Consuming a variety of foods for a healthier diet (or learning to eat in general);
  • Personal hygiene (tooth-brushing, toileting, dressing, etc.);
  • Improve poor handwriting and manual dexterity with fine motor skills;
  • Building strength, coordination, body awareness;
  • Learning effective, socially-accepted means of expression and interaction.

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it gives you an idea of how much the field encompasses. Although we don’t often think of children as having to do work or an “occupation,” they do. Their job is to learn how to be functioning members in our society. Typical children may pick up these skills without extra assistance by simply watching, copying and practicing. Many children with special needs require additional help – which is exactly what we do. We help children learn how to navigate their everyday lives, teaching them the skills they’re going to need to be successful.

Why Occupational Therapy Careers Are on the Rise

Part of the reason for expansion of the occupational therapy field has to do with the evolution of its science, as well as improved recognition. Research examining outcomes when occupational therapists are involved shows the undeniable benefits. Professionals and parents are seeing that occupational therapy is proactive and preventative – especially where children are concerned. It can be a less invasive route to success, often resulting in better outcomes than those that focus solely on immediate fixes like medication.

The other main reason? Occupational therapy is fun, enjoyable and rewarding for those who enter the field. Yes, the wages are higher-than-average, but few enter this field (or stay in it long) unless they really love what they do. It’s more than a job for us. It’s a calling and a greater purpose.

The need for occupational therapists is expected to continue its upward trajectory, according to US News, with a growth rate of 21 percent estimated between 2016 and 2026.

FOCUS offers pediatric occupational therapy in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.

Additional Resources:

What is an Occupational Therapist? 2018, US News & World Report

More Blog Entries:

Why Our FOCUS Speech and Occupational Therapists LOVE Puppets, April 2, 2018, Fort Myers Occupational Therapists Blog

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