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Career and Education Opportunities for Occupational Therapists in Chicago, Illinois

Occupational therapists can find many career and educational opportunities in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 3,590 working occupational therapists in Illinois; this should grow 38% to 4,960 working occupational therapists in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for occupational therapists, which sees this job pool growing by about 25.6% over the next eight years. Occupational therapists generally assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that help restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to disabled persons.

Income for occupational therapists is about $34 hourly or $72,080 per year on average in Illinois. Nationally, their income is about $32 hourly or $66,780 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Audiology, people working as occupational therapists in Illinois earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Audiology nationally. Occupational therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: rehabilitation engineer, vocational trainer, and staff therapist.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as an occupational therapist. Occupational therapists usually hold a Master's degree, so you can expect to spend about six years studying to be an occupational therapist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, occupational therapists assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that help restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to disabled persons.

Occupational therapists formulate, organize, and conduct occupational therapy programs in hospital or community settings to help rehabilitate those impaired because of illness, injury or psychological or developmental problems. They also confer with rehabilitation teams to decide on activity programs and direct occupational therapy with other therapeutic efforts. Equally important, occupational therapists have to recommend changes in patients' work or living environments, consistent with their needs and capabilities. They are often called upon to train caregivers how to furnish for the needs of a patient during and after therapy. They are expected to complete and maintain needed records. Finally, occupational therapists advise on health risks in the workplace and on health-related transition to retirement.

Every day, occupational therapists are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they think through problems and come up with general rules.

Somewhat less frequently, occupational therapists are also expected to furnish patients with assistance in locating and holding jobs.

They also have to be able to decide on efforts that will help individuals learn work and life-management skills within limits of their mental and physical capabilities and conduct research in occupational therapy. And finally, they sometimes have to furnish patients with assistance in locating and holding jobs.

Like many other jobs, occupational therapists must have a strong concern for others and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Audiologist. Assess and treat persons with hearing and related disorders. May fit hearing aids and provide auditory training. May perform research related to hearing problems.
  • Physical Therapist. Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, and decrease or prevent deformity of patients suffering from disease or injury.
  • Speech and Language Teacher. Assess and treat persons with speech, language, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Occupational Therapist Training

University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607. University of Illinois at Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,709 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of Illinois at Chicago has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Occupational Therapy/Therapist which graduated thirty and eight students respectively in 2008.

Governors State University - University Park, IL

Governors State University, 1 University Pky, University Park, IL 60466-0975. Governors State University is a medium sized university located in University Park, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,457 students. Governors State University has a master's degree program in Occupational Therapy/Therapist.

Midwestern University - Downers Grove, IL

Midwestern University, 555 31st Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515-5514. Midwestern University is a small university located in Downers Grove, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,013 students. Midwestern University has a master's degree program in Occupational Therapy/Therapist which graduated twenty-two students in 2008.

Chicago State University - Chicago, IL

Chicago State University, 9501 S. King Drive, Chicago, IL 60628-1598. Chicago State University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,820 students and an admission rate of 61%. Chicago State University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Occupational Therapy/Therapist which graduated one and eight students respectively in 2008.

Rush University - Chicago, IL

Rush University, 600 S. Paulina St. STE 440, Chicago, IL 60612. Rush University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,764 students. Rush University has a master's degree program in Occupational Therapy/Therapist which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Health Fitness Specialist: The ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) is a degreed health and fitness professional qualified to pursue a career in university, corporate, commercial, hospital, and community settings.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist: Becoming ACSM Certified as an Exercise Specialistsays a lot about you.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

LICENSES

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST, REGISTERED

Licensing agency: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Address: 320 West Washington, Springfield, IL 62786

Phone: (217) 782-8556
Website: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.