What they do
Occupational therapists assist people with physical or mental health issues in their working, home and social lives. They work with people of all ages and walks to life, assessing their physical, emotional and social needs, and enabling them to develop practical everyday skills as well as skills that will help them to participate in the community. They may also arrange assistive technologies and modify their client's home and work environments to minimise disruptions to their everyday lives. They also liaise with a range of other healthcare professionals, family members, caregivers and volunteers in realising a holistic approach to their work.
Occupational therapists may work in a range of settings including hospitals, general practices, community health facilities, aged care facilities, private businesses, or in the workplaces and homes of their clients. They may work as part of a larger organisation or may work independently. They usually work regular hours, but may do shift work or work outside regular business hours to see clients at times that are more convenient for them. They may work in groups or one-on-one with their clients. They may work with clients who display erratic behaviour or suffer from emotional, intellectual or physical disabilities, and their work can be stressful at times.
Tools and technologies
Occupational therapists use a range of assessment tools to establish the needs of their clients. They also help their clients to use specialised mobility equipment including wheelchairs, orthoses and computer-sided communications devices. They may also help their client by teaching them how to use adaptive equipment such as eating and dressing aids.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become an occupational therapist, you usually need to study a degree majoring in occupational therapy.
Curtin University and Edith Cowan University both offer a four-year Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy). These are the only universities offering degrees in occupational therapy in Western Australia. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Required registration and licensing
To work as an occupational therapist in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia.