Are you seeking a rewarding career in healthcare that is stress-free and provides high job satisfaction? If yes, a career as an occupational therapist could be for you.
Occupational therapy is an excellent career choice for those interested in working directly with patients to simplify their lives.
This unique healthcare profession allows us to transform people's lives and build close connections. Occupational therapists (OTs) are Australia's most important healthcare career.
The post below will cover all aspects of becoming an occupational therapist (OT) in Australia, including occupational therapy courses, qualifications, degrees, personal requirements, salary, and more.
1. What Is an Occupational Therapist?
An occupational therapist helps people become more productive and independent and overcome hurdles in their everyday tasks. They assist patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities in developing, recovering, and improving their daily living and working skills.
Although it takes a lot of effort and attention to become an occupational therapist, it's worth it for those who want to assist people in living productive and meaningful lives.
2. Responsibilities of Occupational Therapists in Australia
Occupational therapists (often known as OTs) work with people of all ages to help them overcome physical impediments or diseases.
They help people participate in their everyday lives, from completing an in-home assessment to assisting them with daily duties such as cooking, moving, dressing, driving, and much more.
Typically, an occupational therapist in Australia will accomplish the following:
Evaluate the patient's condition and needs using observations, solutions, and medical history.
Create a treatment plan for patients, outlining the activities and specific targets.
Assessing disabled workers to discover the best strategy to assist them in returning to work.
Visiting workplaces to appreciate the difficulties an injured worker may experience when striving to return to work.
Examine high-risk manual workplace jobs.
Providing Medical opinions and reasoning through extensive report writing.
Organising workshops on subjects related to health and well-being.
Consultation with insurers, physicians, and employers.
Conduct Pre-Employment Assessments to verify that personnel are physically and mentally fit for the job.
One of the significant roles of occupational therapists in Australia is to provide personal care to individuals, such as preparing food, bathing, and dressing.
3. Skills Required To Become an Occupational Therapist in Australia
Successful occupational therapists employ hard skills to obtain the best results for their clients. Soft skills assist them in developing relationships with clients and their social ties. Occupational therapists are sought after by health care providers who require the following skills.
The following are the skills needed to become an occupational therapist in Australia:
Verbal and Written Communication Skills
Occupational therapists in Australia must have excellent communication and active listening skills to understand their client's constraints, difficulties, and goals.
They must know which questions to ask if they require more information to see a thorough picture of their client's health. Occupational therapists often use communication skills to train clients and engage with their support network. They can create informative reports with the use of written communication skills.
Occupational therapists should have problem-solving skills to help their clients overcome obstacles. They should know how to identify their clients' constraints and design solutions to assist them in attaining their objectives.
Because each client has unique limitations and goals, the most effective occupational therapists build personalised techniques.
Interpersonal skills help occupational therapists develop strong relationships with clients and support network members, including other health professionals. Occupational therapists who have a solid rapport with their patients can usually motivate them to work harder and achieve more.
Counselling and Psychology
Occupational therapists well-versed in psychology and counselling practises can accurately assess their clients and determine how best to assist them. They understand their clients' personalities and how to approach them to learn new skills and remain motivated.
Many occupational therapists work with individuals with psychological problems that require careful management and sensitivity. Understanding these problems aids occupational therapists in developing appropriate treatment approaches.
To successfully assist their clients, occupational therapists must have strong self-management abilities. When clients are in discomfort or making slower progress than they would like, they can become frustrated. Occupational therapists can stay calm and patient while supporting their clients' efforts.
4. Steps To Become an Occupational Therapist In Australia
There are two paths to becoming an Occupational Therapist in Australia, both of which require professional qualifications.
5. Qualification Required To Become an Occupational Therapist In Australia
To become an Occupational Therapist in Australia, you need either a Bachelor's or Master's degree in occupational therapy.
Begin Your Career
You can work as an occupational assistant after finishing a Certificate IV level qualification, which can be an excellent stepping stone to a career in occupational therapy.
Improve Your Skills
To become a practising occupational therapist, you must first obtain an undergraduate or postgraduate degree from a recognised university. Then you should improve your skills such as interpersonal skills, communication skills, motivating skills, listening skills, etc.
Create Your Resume
If you want to work in research or policy, consider studying for a Graduate Certificate in Policy and Applied Social Research. If you're going to work in private practice or as a consultant, consider a business-related field.
Register with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia to work as an occupational therapist in Australia.
Make the most of your training and obtain a professional jumpstart in your health career. In your resume, emphasise your talents and achievements, and tailor your cover letter to the job description.
The demand for occupational therapy will grow in the next few years. Although many of these positions are part-time, the pay is generally above average.
6. Different Roles In Occupational Therapy in Australia
Occupational therapists can specialise in a variety of fields. They may specialise in a particular area, such as dealing with patients recovering from physical injuries, psychological issues, etc.
Others may work in corporate settings, establishing and executing injury prevention initiatives. They can also find jobs in research and policy development.
Committed Occupational Therapists
Working solely in one field is known as Dedicated occupational therapists. They are experts in their expertise in one area of occupational therapy. They develop a better grasp of the difficulties in their specific area of expertise, allowing them to give more comprehensive interventions to their clients.
Corporate Occupational Therapists
Businesses frequently hire corporate occupational therapists to work with their staff to lessen the risk of workplace injuries.
They teach employees occupational health and safety issues such as adequate workspace setup and other workplace and industry-specific challenges. They may also aid injured workers in their return to work.
Policy Development and Research
Occupational therapists can be highly beneficial in policy or research jobs. Since they have a complete awareness of the challenges connected to health, employment, special needs education, and social interactions. They generally work in academic institutions or government entities.
7. Where Do Occupational Therapists Practise In Australia?
Australia needs Occupational Therapists in several fields. The most common departments where an OT easily find vacancies are:
Public and Private hospitals
Community Health Centers
Aged Care Facilities
Industrial and Corporate settings
Mental health settings
8. How Much Does an Occupational Therapist Earn in Australia?
The salary or remuneration of an Occasional Therapist in Australia ranges from position and experience. According to Payscale.com, the following are the estimated salaries of different OT posts in Australia.
An entry-level Registered Occupational Therapist with less than one year of experience can earn an average total remuneration (tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of AU$62,940.
An early career Registered Occupational Therapist with 1-4 years of experience makes an average salary of AU$66,256.
A mid-career Registered Occupational Therapist with 5-9 years of experience gets an average salary of AU$74,083.
An experienced Registered Occupational Therapist with 10-19 years of experience makes an average salary of AU$85,065 per year.
Employees in their late career (20 years and up) earn an average of AU$90,000.
9. How To Become An Occupational Therapist Assistant in Australia
An occupational therapy assistant in Australia is a professional who helps alongside occupational therapists to assist patients with daily activities they may be having difficulty with. OTAs assist customers in reconnecting with their vocations by using a comprehensive strategy that considers all of the client's demands.
The primary distinction between an occupational therapist and an occupational therapy assistant is the one who may diagnose and prescribe treatments. At the same time, the latter can only assist the patient directly under the therapist's supervision.
An occupational therapy assistant may work in various settings, including rehabilitation centres, schools, mental health hospitals, and private practice offices.
10. Ways to Become An Occupational Therapist Assistant in Australia
Unlike an occupational therapist, an occupational therapy assistant doesn't need a master's degree.
However, you must complete high school and tertiary courses through TAFE. While having some background in biology, psychology, general physiology, and anatomy is not required, it will help you understand the job role better.
To become an Occupational Therapist Assistant in Australia, you have to meet specific criteria:
You must be at least 18 years old.
You must be in your final year of high school or comparable.
Have at least two years of related vocational experience or a Certificate II or higher certification.
11. Courses Required To Become an Occasional Therapist Assistant
After you meet the criteria mentioned above, consider enrolling in a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance. This helps you learn how to provide occupational therapy programmes to various clients. A Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance could also be helpful.
Certificate IV Allied Health Assistance
You can study Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance entirely online. However, you must complete at least 120 hours of industry training. Also, you need at least experience working with three clients in occupational therapy programmes.
This certification features a virtual clinic to explore and become acquainted with the work environment.
Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance
Another degree that will help you get started with an Occupational Therapist assistant in Australia is Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance.
It will help you learn basic medical terminology and grasp infection prevention and control regulations. Also, it lets you improve your communication skills with coworkers and patients, which is essential for an assistant. Along with online education, you must complete 80 hours of job training.
They will evaluate you on the following criteria:
Observation reports and quizzes
Short-answer questions, and more.
You must complete this certificate within twelve months.
12. How Much Does an Occupational Therapist Assistant Earn In Australia?
A full-time Occupational Therapy Assistant in Australia typically earns $1,050 per week ($54,600 annual pay) before taxes. It is a median value for full-time employees and is only a reference. As your experience grows, you should expect a better income than those fresh to the field.
A profession as an occupational therapy assistant in Australia ensures a rewarding career. Take your initial steps today if you're ready for a job that will challenge you, reward you, and allow you to help a diverse spectrum of individuals.
13. Wrapping Up The Post
A job in occupational therapy in Australia might have many advantages, but it can also be challenging. Many therapists find occupational therapy duties and obligations satisfying and complex at the same time.
The client-centred nature of this profession can be intrinsically rewarding because you can provide care and assistance to patients. Still, it can also contribute to physical and mental stress. So, if you are ready to manage all aspects of the job, go for it!