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Emerging Areas in Occupational Therapy

Emerging Areas in Occupational Therapy

By Megan Malugani | Monster Contributing Writer

Community Health and Wellness


More healthcare systems are launching community health initiatives, and OTs are getting involved. Specifically, OTs are taking the lead when it comes to educating people who have had strokes about how to manage their condition and prevent recurrences. Medical advances now enable more patients with chronic health issues to survive, and OTs are instrumental in helping these individuals lead productive, independent lives.

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Salary: $40,840 - $89,450
Min. Education: Master's
Related Careers: Physical Therapist, Social Worker

Ergonomics Consulting


Older workers make up one of the fastest-growing segments of the workforce, and OTs are working with employers to develop strategies that support older workers’ productivity. Furthemore, as employers become more aware of the link between ergonomics and workplace injury, OTs are stepping in as injury-prevention and workplace-modification consultants.

Technology and Assistive-Device Development and Consulting


OTs are at the forefront in using technology to help individuals compensate for cognitive, functional or mobility limitations. For example, OTs are involved in developing robots that climb steps and perform simple tasks for people with disabilities.

These areas represent just a small part of the profession’s potential scope of practice, Baum says. An OT’s mission – to help people with limitations fully participate in life – can be accomplished in many settings and capacities. “Occupational therapists find it very hard to get bored with their work,” says Baum, who is also professor of occupational therapy and neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “There are always new places to take their knowledge.”

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