What is Occupational Therapy?

There are many definitions describing the profession of occupational therapy. These descriptions differ depending on the area of treatment. Occupations therapists work in many areas of health, wellness, industry and education.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) describes Occupational therapy as "skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives. Occupational Therapy gives people the Skills for the Job of Living. These skills are the ones all people need inorder to live satisfying lives.


Occupational Therapy Services typically include:

  • Customized treatment programs aimed at improving abilities to carry out the activities of daily living
  • Comprehensive evaluation of home and job environments and recommendations on necessary adaptation
  • Assessments and treatment for performance skills
  • Recommendations and training in the use of adaptive equipment to replace lost function
  • Guidance to family members and attendants in safe and effective methods of caring for individuals.

Occupational therapy practitioners are skilled professionals whose education includes the study of human growth and development with specific emphasis on the social, emotional, and physiological effects of illness and injury.       

The occupational therapist enters the field with a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree. The occupational therapy assistant generally earns an associate's degree. 

Practitioners must complete supervised clinical internships in a variety of health care settings, and pass a national examination. Most states also regulate occupational therapy practice.

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MAOT - Massachusetts Association for Occupational Therapy, Inc.
 57 Madison
Road - Waltham, MA 02453-6718
 p: 781.647.5556 - f: 781.642.9742 - e: info@maot.org