What Does a Travel Occupational Therapist Do?

A travel occupational therapist (OT) job description is similar to an on-site occupational therapist, as he or she typically performs the same basic tasks. The therapist's work focuses on helping individuals of all ages to develop, regain, or maintain functional skills in physical, mental, emotional, and/or social areas of their lives. An OT's main goal is to improve his or her client's quality of life and independence in performing routine, daily tasks. The obvious difference between the two positions is the travel occupational therapist visits various locations, rather than working solely from one office. This stipulated travel may be within the same region, allowing the OT to commute, or it may require relocation for a temporary position, nationally or internationally.

As a member of the allied health workforce, an OT's focus is on the clients to whom he or she provides therapy. One occupational therapist may work with children in school-based programs, while another may work with senior citizens in nursing homes. Still other occupational therapists may travel between hospitals and private practices to work with clients of varying ages. The primary duties include helping clients improve their motor skills, range of motion, and reasoning capabilities, as well as assisting them in acquiring new skills to compensate for lost abilities.

Among the travel occupational therapist's job requirements are, of course, the ability and desire to travel, rather than work in one location. A travel OT typically must have at least a bachelor’s degree, if not a master’s degree, in occupational therapy. He or she must also pass a national certification exam, as well as meet any mandatory education and certification requirements for advanced or specialty areas of expertise. The travel OT must also keep his or her license current, and obtain licenses from specific destinations prior to beginning work there.

As with many other health-related careers, occupational therapist jobs are abundant and pay well, varying by years of experience and actual place of employment. A travel occupational therapist receives premium pay, precisely because he or she is willing to travel to, and reside in, various locations. For example, based on data current as of July 2011, a travel occupational therapist based in the USA could average approximately $86,000 in annual wages. In addition to high earnings, these therapists typically receive benefits, paid expenses, travel reimbursement, and ongoing educational opportunities. Any individual with valid training who longs for the adventure of visiting other regions, or even other countries, to make a difference in people’s lives, would likely enjoy a career as an occupational therapist.

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