Pre-Occupational Therapy FAQs

What is the difference between working as an occupational therapist vs a physical therapist?

Both occupational and physical therapists develop treatment plans based upon their patients’ needs and goals.  However, physical therapists work to address general movement and mobility of the patient, while occupational therapists work to address specific tasks common to the patient’s daily life or work.  The occupational therapist could be addressing the patient’s movements, but this would be in the context of a very specific task, such as buttoning one’s shirt or operating one’s wheelchair. 

Physical therapists design both preventative and therapeutic or rehabilitative exercises for patients and also play an important role in non-pharmaceutical management of pain.  While occupational therapists also play a role in rehabilitative contexts, they additionally focus on developmental progression, such as helping children develop motor skills to feed themselves. 

In what types of settings do occupational therapists train and work?

Occupational therapists are trained and work in a range of settings, including hospitals/clinics, nursing homes or rehabilitation facilities, and even schools.  Some practicing occupational therapists also do consultations in the patients’ homes to work on skills and tasks specific to those settings.

Where can I find more information about becoming an occupational therapist?

AOTA- American Occupational Therapy Association

NBCOT- National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy