3 Tips to Develop Your Occupational Therapy Career for OT Month 2022

Last Updated on April 6, 2023

Female occupational therapist assisting senior woman to hold a ball

Happy OT Month 2022 from CareerStaff Unlimited! To mark the occasion, we’re celebrating OTs with a few tips for taking your occupational therapy career path in a new direction. Whether you’re a seasoned OT or someone who’s just entering the profession, here’s a quick guide to getting the most from your OT career in 2022.

OT Month History: Charting the Development of the Occupational Therapy Career Path

History of Occupational Therapy Month

Since 1980, Occupational Therapy (OT) Month has been celebrated each April in the United States. That year, the U.S. Congress classified occupational therapy as a qualifying service under Medicare Part B, recognizing the delivery of OT by outpatient rehab facilities in the process (as per OTCentennial.org).

While OT Month’s first year was eventful, it was just the latest milestone in the development of the occupational therapy career. For hundreds of years before that, care providers had been developed the skills now delivered by OTs and OTAs. And those are some of the most essential services in healthcare, involving the direct care of patients coping with serious clinical conditions or relearning life skills.

History of Occupational Therapy in the U.S.

Until the 1900s, this type of care was usually delivered by untrained individuals. Although some of the dates are up for debate, it was in the 1910s through the 1930s when OTs became recognized as medical professionals. This trend was accelerated by the need for OTs to assist with the mass casualties of World War I.

Around this time, Eleanor Clark Slagle and William Rush Dunton Jr. — known respectively as the mother and father of occupational therapy — had also been working to achieve formal recognition for OTs, as well. Dunton had advocated for occupational therapy since the 1800s, and had written some of the earliest textbooks on the subject.

But it was Slagle who organized the first OT educational program, in about the year 1915. Then, in 1921, a group of occupational therapists founded by Dunton officially became the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), which many see as the beginning of the modern era of occupational therapy.  

Other milestones quickly followed. More and more medical schools offered OT training, including the first OT school for African Americans in 1920. The first national registry of OTs was published in 1932, and in 1942, the completion of an exam was implemented for the first time. In 1948, a groundbreaking textbook was released that’s still very influential today.

Today, there’s no question that OTs and OTAs are essential to healthcare delivery. To that end, the AOTA actively promotes the profession as an integral part of the care continuum, and even a means to help improve policies and care systems in a “culturally responsive” way. You can read more about that here.

3 Ways to Support Your Occupational Therapy Career Path for OT Month 2022

Here at CareerStaff, we’re proud supporters of OTs and OTAs. Our nationwide staffing and recruitment services ensures job opportunities across the country. And because we offer jobs positions in a wide variety of facilities — from major hospitals and health centers to small-town SNFs, clinics, and schools — there are plenty of chances to build new types of experience in different settings.

As one of the nation’s leading OT recruiters, we’ve got a few helpful insights into how to grow your OT career, too! If you’re looking for better traction on your occupational therapy career path, you may want to consider:

#1: Pursue advanced certification.

For OTs who haven’t already done so, the AOTA advises pursuing advanced certification to expand your “knowledge, skills, and critical thinking abilities in a specialized area of practice” in an area such as geriatrics or pediatrics. And remember, if you choose a healthcare recruitment company, make sure they offer reimbursement for continuing education for their workers as part of their benefits package.

#2: Find an occupational therapy recruiter who’s focused on you.

There are many recruiters you can turn to when it’s time for a new OT career opportunity. And for just that reason, it’s important to find one that will prioritize your career needs and personal preferences.

For instance, CareerStaff Unlimited not only offers a rich variety of occupational therapy career opportunities in all types of facilities and settings, but also offers a crew of recruiters who are known within the healthcare industry for their skills, friendliness and professionalism.

You can learn more about CareerStaff’s OT opportunities here.

#3: Open up the door to more, and better OT opportunities.

In the past, career opportunities for medical professionals like OTs and OTAs were mostly restricted to the immediate areas where they lived. Today, with travel professionals, therapists have more flexibility to work in other parts of the country. You can best take advantage of this option by partnering with a company that offers opportunities across the United States.

Happy Occupational Therapy Month from CareerStaff!

If you’re looking for a new OT job, career tips, or learning your career options, CareerStaff can help! With opportunities in settings of all types across the U.S.A., we’ve got the opportunities you need to expand your OT career path in the way that works best for you. You can check out all of our OT jobs here, or get started today by filling out our quick online application

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