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Career and Education Opportunities for Occupational Therapists in Charlotte, North Carolina

Occupational therapists can find many career and educational opportunities in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. There are currently 2,450 working occupational therapists in North Carolina; this should grow 32% to about 3,240 working occupational therapists in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for occupational therapists are expected to grow by about 25.6%. 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 earn about $31 hourly or $65,960 annually on average in North Carolina and about $32 hourly or $66,780 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for occupational therapists are better than in the overall category of Audiology in North Carolina, and better than the overall Audiology category nationally. Jobs in this field include: industrial rehabilitation consultant, staff therapist, and rehabilitation engineer.

The Charlotte area is home to forty-three schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Charlotte 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 starting with 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 Charlotte 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.
  • Recreational Therapist. Plan, direct, or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutions. Activities include sports, trips, and arts and crafts. May assess a patient condition and recommend appropriate recreational activity.
  • 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

Lenoir-Rhyne University - Hickory, NC

Lenoir-Rhyne University, 625 7th Avenue NE, Hickory, NC 28601. Lenoir-Rhyne University is a small university located in Hickory, North Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,548 students and an admission rate of 81%. Lenoir-Rhyne University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Occupational Therapy/Therapist which graduated fourteen and fourteen 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: NC Board of Occupational Therapy
Address: Post Office Box 2280, Raleigh, NC 27602

Phone: (919) 832-1380
Website: NC Board of Occupational Therapy

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina photo by Alaskan Assassin

Charlotte is located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 687,456, which has grown by 27.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charlotte, 86, is well below the national average.

The three big industries for women in Charlotte are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 36.4% of Charlotte residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charlotte is 9.7%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Charlotte residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.0%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. New Hampton Church, New Emmanuel Church and New East Stonewall Church are all churches located in Charlotte. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Charlotte is home to the Crown Point Plaza and the Providence Square as well as Kilborne District Park and Little Rock Road District Park. Shopping malls in the area include Heckinger Shopping Center, Hampshire Hills Shopping Center and Providence Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Charlotte can choose from American Motel, Extended Stay America - Charlotte/Tyvola and Drury Inn and Suites Charlotte for temporary stays in the area.