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Occupational therapists work with injured and ill patients and persons with disabilities to help them get better and develop important skills.

What Therapists Do

Therapists evaluate the patient’s needs, condition, and requirements based on their medical history and health status. They help patients with different tasks and teach them how to use specialized equipment and aids such as eating aids, wheelchairs, and others. Occupational therapists help improve the patient’s workplace and home environment to improve their quality of life. When working with young patients, the goal is to ensure that children have access to and participate in different school activities. Therapists also organize rehabilitation groups and teach patients different skills and techniques such as anxiety and stress management, time management, etc. In addition, they are tasked with keeping case notes, maintaining records, and educating patients, employers, and families. They also develop rehabilitation and treatment plans and report progress to hospitals, rehabilitation centres, and physicians.

Career Opportunities

Graduates can choose from different career paths and opportunities such as rehabilitation counselor, clinical specialist, sports therapist, health promotion specialist, ergonomist, dance movement psychotherapist, and art therapist. There are other career opportunities to look into, including teaching assistant, special education needs teacher, social worker, and play therapist. Other job options are mental health worker, medical sales rep, life coach, care manager, and advice worker. Therapists work in home healthcare services, nursing care homes, secondary and elementary schools, and offices of speech, occupational, and physical therapists. Other work environments include private and state hospitals and rehabilitation facilities.

Education

Different universities in Canada offer occupational therapy programs and courses, including the University of Toronto, University of Manitoba, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, and others. Students are offered a number of electives and core courses such as Determinants of Occupation, Disability Theory, Critical Inquiry Foundations, Group Theory, Therapeutic Relationships, and others. Students learn more about different concepts through laboratory sessions, interviewing, practice and fieldwork, and course content. They also learn more about occupational therapy practice, the physical dimensions of work, intervention and evaluation approaches, therapy services, and a lot more. Education costs vary from one institution to another, from about $1,500 per semester for domestic students to $4,000 per semester and higher.

Financing

There are different financing options for students enrolled in occupational therapy programs, including scholarships and grants, government-sponsored student loans, and loans, lines of credit, and credit cards offered by banks and other private providers. Some scholarships are available to students across different programs such as Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Nursing, and Rehabilitation Sciences. Other scholarships are specifically designated for students enrolled in occupational therapy programs. Examples include the Otdbase Distant Fieldwork Award and the Alison Lapage Memorial Scholarship offered by the B.C. Society of Occupational Therapists. A government-sponsored student loan is a second option to finance university education (https://www.creditavenue.ca/canadas-top-ten-secured-credit-cards/). Funding is available based on the student’s financial need. A major benefit is the fact that government loans go with attractive interest rates, and payment begins after graduation. To apply for a government loan, students must be enrolled in a certificate or diploma course or a degree program. Only permanent residents and citizens qualify for financial assistance. One alternative is to apply for a grant through the Canada Student Grants Program. Financing is available to part-time and full-time students from middle-income and low-income families as well as students with dependents and permanent disabilities. Apprenticeship incentive grants are also available. Inuit and First Nations students are welcome to apply for assistance under the Post-Secondary Student Support Program. A student loan by a credit union, finance company, or bank is a third option to pay for college (https://www.creditavenue.ca/canadian-guide-to-credit-cards-for-bad-credit/). Different institutions in Canada offer loans and student lines of credit, for example, CIBC and RBC Royal Bank. The interest rate is usually higher compared to government funding but this is one way to obtain additional financing for university fees, textbooks, room and board, daily expenses, and other school-related expenses. For more options visit: https://www.creditavenue.ca/

Students enrolled in occupational therapy courses and programs are offered different scholarships and awards to help pay for college. Financial assistance is offered to Ph.D. Master’s, and undergraduate students at Canadian colleges and universities.

Types of Scholarships Offered in Canada

Different foundations, universities, trusts, and other institutions offer occupational therapy scholarships across Canada. Financial assistance takes different forms, including awards, bursaries, special awards, open doctoral scholarships, postdoctoral fellowships, and others. Merit scholarships and research assistantships are also available.

Universities and Awards Offered

The types of scholarships available vary from one province to another. In British Columbia, for example, occupational therapy students are welcome to apply for the Rehabilitation Sciences Award, Ken F. Fraser Memorial Scholarship, and other awards. Students at the Queen’s University in Ontario are offered the Muriel Driver Memorial Bursary while students at the Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia can apply for the Barbara O’Shea Graduate Award. Some scholarships are available to students enrolled in all universities in Nova Scotia, one example being the Legion Ladies Auxiliary University Scholarship. The award is offered to students enrolled in Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, and Nursing. The list of eligible provinces includes Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and others. Only students enrolled on a full-time basis qualify. They are asked to submit a copy of their transcripts and a letter of acceptance, together with details such as university name, course or program of study, year entering and ending, etc. Unlike awards offered to students at all Canadian universities, other types of scholarships are available to students at specific institutions. Students at the University of Manitoba, for example, have plenty of choice when it comes to financial assistance. The list of awards includes the J.D. Adamson Medal and Prize, Arthritis Society Entrance Scholarship, Alice Chisholm Bursary, and many others. Eligible courses and programs include Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, Nursing, and Respiratory Therapy. Depending on the type of scholarship, students at the Master’s, doctoral, or Bachelor level are welcome to apply. Different scholarships are available to students at the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Graduate Studies, and Faculty of Physio/Occupational Therapy.

Evaluation Criteria to Meet and Qualify

The evaluation criteria vary depending on the award offered but typically include things like leadership, research potential, academic excellence, communication skills and ability, ambassadorial potential, and others. Assessment is based, for example, on whether the recommendations offer evidence of and specific details about the applicant’s performance and academic and leadership skills.

Thus academic merit is evaluated based on factors such as quality of recommendations, academic background, quality of program, and others. High-level academic performance is taken into account, including research papers and publications, research results, academic prizes and awards, and so on.

Finally, the amount offered and the minimum GPA to qualify vary by award. Awards are granted to help students fund their studies and to develop independent learning and research skills. What is more, awards help universities train motivated and highly qualified future employees for Canada’s economy.