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Career and Education Opportunities for Occupational Therapists in Columbia, Maryland

For those living in the Columbia, Maryland area, there are many career and education opportunities for occupational therapists. Currently, 2,130 people work as occupational therapists in Maryland. This is expected to grow by 31% to 2,790 people 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.

Occupational therapists earn about $37 per hour or $78,770 per year on average in Maryland and about $32 per hour or $66,780 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for occupational therapists are better than in the overall category of Audiology in Maryland, and better than the overall Audiology category nationally. People working as occupational therapists can fill a number of jobs, such as: vocational rehabilitation specialist, industrial rehabilitation consultant, and certified occupational therapy assistant.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can study to be an occupational therapist, among 109 schools of higher education total in the Columbia area. 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 Columbia 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

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has an associate's degree program in Occupational Therapy/Therapist which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Howard University - Washington, DC

Howard University, 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC 20059-0001. Howard University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,696 students and an admission rate of 49%. Howard University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Occupational Therapy/Therapist which graduated eight and ten students respectively in 2008.

Towson University - Towson, MD

Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001. Towson University is a large university located in Towson, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,111 students and an admission rate of 61%. Towson University has bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree programs in Occupational Therapy/Therapist which graduated thirty-one, two, and sixty-three students respectively 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

Licensing agency: Maryland State Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene
Address: Board of Occupational Therapy Practice, Spring Grove State Hospital, Benjamin Rush Bldg, 55 Wade Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21228

Phone: (410) 402-8560
Website: Maryland State Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene Board of Occupational Therapy Practice Spring Grove State Hospital

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.