5 Occupational Therapy Specialties to Consider in Your Career

There are dozens of choices when it comes to picking a career specialty in occupational therapy. While this thought may not cross your mind when you are new to the career, as you get a handle on what the job entails you may find that one particular aspect of the position interests you more than others. For example, you may prefer working with a particular age demographic. Or perhaps there is one type of illness that you’d like to specialize in. Either way, there are specialty choices to consider. Here are five that you may want to look at more closely.

Pediatric OT Specialist

Working with children brings its challenges, but for some occupational therapists, it is the dream job. Occupational therapists with a professional degree and five years of experience can seek a Board Certification in Pediatrics by completing the following requirements:

  • Completing the application form and fee.
  • Providing evidence of your work with a minimum of 500 hours delivering services to a pediatric population in the past five years.
  • Completing certification and licensure with an AOTA-recognized regulatory organization.

If children aren’t the best fit, you can pursue a similar designation with gerontology patients. These credentials are the same as those for pediatrics, but obviously with a different age of the patient.

Mental Health Certification

Science Daily reports that mental health disorders have increased significantly in young adults over the past decade. Receiving a Mental Health Certification on your Occupational Therapist degree is a good way to make you more valuable to future employers and their patients. The AOTA says to receive the designation you must, “understand the effects of the interaction between lifespan issues and relevant conditions that impact occupational performance related to mental health.” These credentials require a minimum of 5,000 hours spent working with this population.

Driving and Community Mobility

Given that seniors are living longer, staying active while still living at home is an important aspect of quality of life that aging adults are concerned with. Gaining a designation in Driving and Community Mobility benefits patients who are not just elderly; for example, Occupational Therapists with this expertise could also work to improve the mobility of children who use the bus. This credential requires many of the same application processes but also 2,000 hours as a practicing OT.

Environmental Modification

According to AOTA, this specialty “is for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants who modify, adapt, or change contexts – especially the environments of home, school, work, or community.” These experts review these environments and make suggestions as to how to improve them for the patient.

Certified Hand Therapist

Given that so many jobs these days require typing or other repetitious hand movements, a CHT specialty designation should mark your expertise as highly in demand. This career path requires 4,000 hours of direct therapeutic practice with hand care, and you must pass the Certified Hand Therapy exam.

Sometimes changing your skills up a little will lead you to a new job opportunity. MAS Medical is standing by to help put your job skills and certifications to work. Please contact us to explore your options.


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