Occupational Therapist in Canada
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.