Anyone who has considered a career working for a vocational rehabilitation service probably has a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common inquiries and their answers.
What is Vocational Rehabilitation?
When a person is disabled, he or she may have difficulty finding employment. A vocational (or occupational) therapist helps a person struggling with a disability to overcome obstacles that may prevent them from getting or keeping a job. Disabilities may by physical, psychological, emotional, or cognitive. It is often important to help the disabled person understand that he or she can – either once again or for the first time – be a functioning member of society. Occasionally the therapist may work with other health care professionals to create a more integrated and individualized approach.
How Does Rehabilitation Service Work?
A service worker and the disabled individual will work together to create a plan that will lead to long-term employment. Often they will focus on techniques such as learning how to set and achieve goals, understanding what work will be most fulfilling, providing tips on self-reliance, and offering long-term case management. The occupational therapist will often develop relationships with community employers who routinely hire and work with people with disabilities.
What Qualities Make a Good Vocational Therapist?
Working for a rehabilitation service is a great career for anyone who dreams of helping others every day. A passion for enriching the lives of people with disabilities is useful, as is an empathetic, energetic personality. Since different conditions may qualify a person as having a disability, versatility is important. One client may need training for a new career because a shoulder injury prevents working at a previous job, while another client may be struggling with emotional impairment and is hoping to find a job for the first time. A unique, personal approach is required for each person that comes in for therapy.
What Studies Will Be Most Useful?
While some occupational therapy jobs require a master’s degree, some undergraduate degrees are helpful in preparing students for future careers. Sociology, psychology, and kinesiology are some of the most common concentrations. A graduate degree will often require studies of anatomy, patient care, statistics, and an understanding of the medical and social conditions that may affect future clients. Excellent writing and communication skills are also useful in this field. Once education is complete, states typically require a license to practice. Certification is acquired by completion of education, fieldwork, and passing required exams.
People who are considering working for a rehabilitation service should know that although it can be a challenging career, it is often incredibly rewarding. Few other career fields are so uniquely situated to see a real and permanent effect in a client’s life.