If you’re an occupational therapist, do yourself a favor and join at least one professional OT association.
Why? Here are just a few reasons:
Most professional associations publish newsletters and/or professional journals that they deliver to their members. Read them and you’ll be able to keep up-to-date on the latest developments and issues in OT. You’ll also know who the current leaders are as well as the up and coming “movers and shakers” in the profession. These publications also will help you research the facilities at which you’d like to work. You’ll also be one of the first to know about upcoming CIE seminars and professional conferences.
You can use your membership to help find a new position. You can contact other members of the association for help in your job search. Members often are much more likely to respond to a fellow member’s request for help than from a “complete stranger.”
Many associations’ websites have “members only” sections where you can read about new OT techniques, trends and news. You also may have access to job listings that are unavailable to non-members.
Below is a list of just a few professional OT associations. To find more, check out the National Trade & Professional Associations directory.
1) The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (www.aota.org) was established in 1917 to “represent the interests and concerns of occupational therapy practitioners and students of occupational therapy and to improve the quality of occupational therapy services.” Membership in this national association stands at 39,000 and includes OTs, OT assistants and OT students. Members live in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico as well as internationally.
According to its website, the “AOTA’s major programs and activities are directed toward assuring the quality of occupational therapy services; improving consumer access to health care services, and promoting the professional development of members.”
2) Most states (46) also have their own OT association. Visit HealthGuideUSA.org and go to the state OT associations page for links.
3) You also may wish to explore the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). This organization does not accept members. However, according to it website (www.nbcot.org) the board “is a not-for-profit credentialing agency that provides certification for the occupational therapy profession. NBCOT serves the public interest by developing, administering, and continually reviewing a certification process that reflects current standards of competent practice in occupational therapy. We also work with state regulatory authorities, providing information on credentials, professional conduct, and regulatory and certification renewal issues.”
The NBCOT’s website has many professional and credential resources for OTs.
4) The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), at www.wfot.org, may be another association worthy of your time. Founded in 1952, the WFOT, according to its website is the “key international representative for Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy around the world and the official international organization for the promotion of occupational therapy.”
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