Occupational Therapists are rehabilitation professionals, trained in physical and mental health to help people recover from injury or illness, maximize ability following permanent loss or developmental disability, and regain life roles following mental illness. They assist people in caring for themselves, returning to work, improving their ability to function in everyday life and resuming community activities.
Occupational Therapists may work with specific populations such as children or adults, or persons with distinct problems such as dementia, traumatic brain injury and chronic pain, or provide special interventions such as return-to-work programs.
An Exciting Field of Work
In general, Occupational Therapists:
- Analyse clients' capabilities and expectations related to life activities through observation, interviews and formal assessments
- Develop intervention programs to address clients' needs related to self-care, work and leisure activities
- Establish personalized care plans working as a member of an interdisciplinary team
- Consult and advise on health promotion programs to prevent disabilities and to maximize independent function in all activities of life
- Adjust work areas to reduce injuries
- Plan accessible home, school, workplace design and renovations
- Provide client and caregiver education such as implications of disease process on daily living and practice solutions to daily problems
- Diminish conditions caused by the disease process (e.g. modifying the environment, using equipment)
- Modify activity, equipment and environment to enable people to achieve greater independence, productivity and an improved quality of life
Personal Characteristics / Skills
- A genuine interest in helping people
- Patience, compassion and endurance
- Creativity and excellent problem-solving abilities
- Good organizational skills
- Good interpersonal skills
- Ability to communicate well in person and in writing
- Ability to work with little supervision
Education and Training
A bachelor degree followed by a master’s degree in occupational therapy is required.
Education program offered in New Brunswick
The Master’s degree program in Occupational therapy is not available in New Brunswick.
Length of Study / Training
6.0 - 7.0 years
Licence and certification
In New Brunswick, Occupational Therapists must be registered with the New Brunswick Association of Occupational Therapists and pass the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists national certification exam.
Helpful High School Courses
Employment and Common Working Conditions
Occupational Therapists work in a variety of settings such as:
- Hospitals and Continuing care facilities
- Rehabilitation centres
- Schools and Universities
- Government or Regional Health Authorities
- Insurance agencies
- Home health care program and services
Occupational Therapists usually work standard office hours but some positions do require evening and weekend work. In clinical settings, they may spend much of their working day standing, bending and assisting patients.
Employment Prospects - GOOD
With the aging population, the demand is expected to grow.