Occupational therapists and physical therapists are both essential to health care, especially rehabilitation. Both help individuals who have been disabled engage in meaningful tasks through education, training, and practical assistance.
The two professions work side by side, often providing a seamless continuum of care for patients with chronic conditions or temporary disabilities.
Here’s a look at how each profession works
Occupational therapists provide therapeutic interventions that enable people to participate in daily activities, including bathing, dressing, and eating. Occupational therapy also includes occupations as engagement as well as engagement in interpersonal interactions.
To qualify as an occupational therapist, one must first obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program then take the national board exam for entry-level occupational therapists.
Occupational therapy assistants work under the direction of an occupational therapist and are typically required to have at least an associate’s degree. They assist with activities such as meal preparation, dressing, bathing, and exercising.
The primary goal is to improve people’s abilities at home, work, or school, but occupational therapy can also help those who have mental illness perform tasks that would be difficult, if not impossible, for them on their own.
Occupational Therapy focuses on:
- Eating/Feeding oneself
- Hygiene care (e.g., haircutting)
- Cooking and Food Preparation
- Using a telephone
- Taking public transportation
- Caring for pets
- Work tasks (e.g., desk work, computer use)
Physical therapists provide services that help people maintain or improve their physical function and quality of life through movement. They focus on restoring patients’ physical abilities – such as walking, bending, and carrying out daily activities – which assist them in maximizing independence.
To become a physical therapist, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program then take the national board exam for entry-level physical therapists.
Physical therapy assistants work under the direction of a physical therapist who is often required to have at least an associate’s degree. They monitor patients who are recovering from injuries or surgeries, helping them with daily activities.
The primary goal of physical therapy is to improve or restore a patient’s abilities at home, work, or school.
Physical Therapy focuses on:
- Standing up from a seated position
The foundation for both professions is a strong education and a desire to help people in need. The similarities between the two professions outweigh the differences, making it essential for those interested in healthcare careers to understand how each profession works and what they offer the world around us.