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This leaflet is addressed to young women of
high schooJ .and college age.

Its purpose is to

furnish iob information on the important field of
occupational therapy-to give an idea of what
such work entails, of the training required, of the
opportunities

for

advancement-and of

the

present and future demand for qualified persons.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Martin P. Durkin , Secretary
WOMEN'S BUREAU
Frieda S. Miller, Director
Washington : 1953
Leaflet 16


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Basic Facts About

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
Occupational therapy is the use of creative, industrial, and
recreational activities to help sick, injured, and disabled .individuals recover and become as useful as possible.
This treatment is used for many types of patients-injured and
handicapped persons, mental patients, crippled children, and old
people.
A wide variety of occupations can be used for effective therapy .
In fact, variety and adaptation to individual situations are of the
greatest importance. Among the activities which are frequently
used are:
Weaving
.__Woodwork
Metalwork
Leatherwork
Gardening

Ceramics
Plastics
Printing
Photography

While physical or mental recovery of the patient is its primary aim,
occupational therapy never loses sight of an important s~condary
goal-the acquisition of a job skill. Many former patients are
today earning their living by using the activity learned through
occupational therapy.

Why It

Is a Promising Field

There are more job opportunities than there are trained workers
to fill them; therefore, girls who are interested in this type of
career can expect to find employment readily. The growing
recognition of the usefulness of occupational therapy, and the
needs of the Armed Forces, insure job opportunities in this field
for a long time to come. At present 98 percent of all workers
in this occupation are women.

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Pottery work may be used to improve finger dexterity.

Duties of the
Occupational Therapist
Part nurse, social worker, and teacher, the occupational therapist
must use initiative and resourcefulness, as well as her technical
training, to arouse and maintain the patient's interest in the treatment which will hasten his recovery. The physician diagnoses the
ailment and explains what the treatment should do for the patient;

the occupational therapist selects and carries out the specific
treatment.
Depending upon her place of employment, she may perform
one or more of the fol lowing duties:
Teach a young amputee leatherwork, jewelry repair, or some other
work suitable to his physical limitations.


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3

Select and supervise treatment which will help an injured serviceman
regain finger dexterity-metal work, for instance.
Help tubercular and heart patients , as their condition permits, to become
skilled in textile crafts, reed and cane work , or bookbinding .
Provide activity which will strengthen injured hands or arms-pottery
work or weaving.
Supervise work and recreational therapy for mental patients-gardening,
art classes , games.
Select activities which will hold the interest of, and at the same time
meet physical needs of, handicapped children-riding a tricycle, o r
pulling colored pe9s from a pegboard , or some other game that will
exercise legs or arms.

W he re Opportunities Will Exist
In the future, as today, the greatest number of jobs for young
entrants to this profession will be in the hospital field inHospitals and clinics of the Veterans ' Administration , of the Armed
Forces, and of other Federal and State agencies.
Other hospitals, both public and private, especially mental hospita ls
and children's hospitals.
Cardiac and tuberculosis sanatoria .

There also will be opportunities, though fewer in number, in:
Homes for the aged , the deaf , and the blind.
Schools and institutions for crippled children.
Centers operated by insurance companies and other businesses , churches,
and various organizations .
Teaching , tesearch , and writing.

Some young women also may desire careers in the Armed Forces
and, if accepted, qualify for commissions in the service of their
choice.
Other newcomers may choose to work in specialized undertakings
such as the curative workshop or the home visitation program,

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either in the city or in rural areas. The therapist who participates
in the latter, like the country doctor of old, will visit many villages
and farms, serving those who are bedridden or unable to leave
their homes.

Earnings
In general, the salaries of occupational therapists compare favorably with those of nurses and of other medical technicians. However, as is the case with all workers, earnings are influenced by the
locality and size of the institution, the size of the therapy department and the therapist 's experience, degree of specialization,
and extent of responsibility.
Recent salaries reported for beginners in State institutions and in
private hospitals ranged from $2,700 to $2,800 a year, with
maintenance provided in many instances. In Federal civil service
jobs, for beginners with a year of graduate work, the pay . was
$3,410 a year. Therapists in the military forces, as commissioned
officers, received slightly higher remuneration .

Opportunities for Advancement
Some of the more responsible, better-paying jobs are:
Chief of an occupational therapy department
Administrative position in the Federal Government in occupational
therapy
Director of a curative workshop
Directors or instructors in training schools
Clinical specialists-in work with cardiacs, paraplegics, the blind, and
the aged
Higher commissions in the Armed Forces

.

Because of the shortage of occupational therapists and a high
turnover due to marriage, opportunities for advancement to these
positions are relatively good.


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Education and Training
High School Preparation-Such courses as chemistry and biology,
psychology, sociology, and the arts and crafts.
College (Academic) and Hospital Practice-The usual training
period for qualified occupational therapists is 4, and sometimes 5,
years beyond high school in schools acceptable to the Council on
Medical Education and Hospitals of the American Medical
Association. This training, of which a minimum of 9 months
hospital practice is a part, leads to the Bachelor of Science degree
and certification in occupational therapy.

Other acceptable training:
The college graduate with a bachelor's degree other than occupational therapy can usually obtain the required professional
training in 18 months.
The student with one or more years of college education or
equivalent professional experience in related fields (art, nursing,
or personnel) may be able to complete the required training in
a 3-year diploma course.
After one or two years of study in a junior college which gives
preoccupational-therapy courses, a student may transfer to a
diploma course in an accredited school.

Certification-To qualify as a registered occupational therapist
(OTR) the graduate must pass the national registration examination
given by the American Occupational Therapy Association, as
have more than three-fourths of the persons currently working in
this field.

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Accredited Schools of Occupational Therapy *
(as of April 1952)
Boston School of Occupational Ther- Richmond Professional Institute, College of William and Mary
apy , affiliated with Tufts College
Richmond, Va.
Boston , Mass.
Brooke Army Medical Center
Fort Sam Houston , Tex.

San Jose State College
San Jose, Calif.

College of Puget Sound
Tacoma, Wash.

State University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa

College of St. Catherine
St. Paul , Minn.

Texas State College for Women
Denton, Tex.

Colorado A & M College
Fort Collins, Colo.

University of Illinois College of Medicine
Chicago, Ill.

Columbia University
New York, N. Y.

University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kans.
Kalamazoo School of Occupational
Therapy, Western Michigan Col- University of Minnesota
lege of Education
Minneapolis, Minn.
Kalamazoo , Mich.
University of New Hampshire
Michigan State Normal College
Durham, N. H.
Ypsilanti , Mich.
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pa.
Mills Colle~e
Oakland, Calif.
University of Southern California
Milwaukee-Downer College
Los Angeles, Calif.
Milwaukee, Wis.
University of Wisconsin
Mount Mary College
Madison, Wis.
Milwaukee, Wis.
Washington University
New York University
St. Louis, Mo.
New York, N. Y.
Wayne University
Ohio State University
Detroit, Mich.
Columbus, Ohio
*Accredited by the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals of the
American Medical Association, 535 North Dearborn Street, Chicago 10,
Ill. (List subject to change.)


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For More Information
on Occupational Therapy
Consult The Outlook lor Women as Occupational Therapists,
Women's Bureau Bulletin No. 203-2, Revised. Copies
are for sale by the Superintendent of Documents, United
States Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C.
Price 20 cents.

Other Sources of Information
American Occupational Therapy Association
33 West 42d Street, New York 36, N. Y.
Department of Defense, Washington 25, D. C.
(on opportunities in the Armed Services)
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
Washington 25, D. C.
Photo by courtesy of U. S. Department of the Army, Surgeon General's Office

U. S. GOVERNMENT PR I NTING OFFICE : 1953

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office
Washington 25, D. C.-Price 5 cents.


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