Employers across the country are offering high-end occupational therapy careers with occupational therapists, a new study finds.
Employers are recruiting people with specialized training to help them improve their own health and work practices, but it’s not easy to find those with a full range of training, the Association of Occupational Therapists says.
They have also raised questions about the effectiveness of occupational therapy in treating the kinds of problems people with mental health issues might have.
The APT survey found that about a third of respondents said they had experienced workplace discrimination in the past year, including harassment and discrimination based on race, gender, age and religion.
And nearly two-thirds of respondents reported experiencing harassment from colleagues or supervisors at work.
The survey also found that while a quarter of employers have been working with an occupational therapist for at least three years, just a third said they would hire someone who had not trained with an employee.
And more than a third reported that their employees had difficulty expressing their opinions or making decisions.
The study found that employers are often unwilling to accept a person with a training program with a background of working with mental illness and substance abuse issues.
It found that just 1 percent of employers said they accepted an applicant who had no prior occupational therapy experience.
“It’s not an easy thing to get a job, and it’s certainly not an option for a lot of people,” said Dr. Michael L. Osterholm, a clinical psychologist and chief clinical officer of the APT.
“There’s a whole spectrum of experience, so a lot can happen at the job.”
The APA is calling for a national registry of occupational therapists and their backgrounds to be included in the federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration database to be used by employers.
It also is calling on the APA to adopt guidelines that would provide more information about the types of people with specialty training that are needed in workplaces and to create training standards for occupational therapists to follow.
The American Association of Industrial and Applied Physician Assistants also recently released a report called “The Future of Occupant Therapy.”
The study’s authors found that the majority of employers in the U.S. who have not yet had an occupational therapy program are offering a training that is tailored to their specific job and the job’s culture.
They found that many employers were offering a wide range of occupations that are in high demand and are not always a fit for people with a history of mental illness.
The researchers also found, however, that employers were generally willing to pay for occupational therapy programs that were not tailored to the needs of their specific occupation.
“Most employers were willing to spend up to $25,000 per year, with training and certification costs as low as $3,500,” the authors wrote.