Occupational Therapists provide an important service to their communities, whether they work with special needs individuals, the elderly, or recovering patients.
When you start a career in occupational therapy, you commit to providing the best patient care. Part of that is continuing to learn through the course of your career. As a therapist, your patients depend on you to stay up-to-date in the latest evidence, topics, and knowledge in the occupational therapy field.
In this article, we discuss the benefits, requirements, and trends of continuing education, as well as some free continuing education options for occupational therapists.
4 Benefits of Continuing Education for Occupational Therapists
There are many reasons why lifelong learning is important, but there are the top 4 ways continuing education can benefit you as an occupational therapist.
- Reduce Burnout
When you challenge yourself by learning about new ideas and engaging in new experiences, you will increase appreciation for your job and reduce the risk of burnout. When you get a new challenge, you will know you can handle it because you’ll be more knowledgeable from continuing your education.
- Improve Your Perspective
When you’re challenging your mind to learn new skills, you gain a greater perspective of your career and life. This is especially true when you’re actively pursuing continuing education related to your career. You can broaden your views to things that are hard to see every day, and you may gain some new insight. It’s always helpful to learn from other people in your field and their different experiences. Learning more and being more well-rounded will increase your satisfaction in your work and life.
- Elevate Patient Treatment & Experience
You studied textbooks and case studies in school, but research doesn’t stop there. New treatment methods and evidence continue after you graduate. It’s essential to continue to learn about new studies so you can best serve your patients.
- Enhance Employability
By continuing education, you keep yourself competitive in the job market. Just because you check all the boxes for what the employer is looking for doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a job. In this competitive industry, many employers are looking for OTs to be well-rounded and capable of learning. Taking continuing education courses shows you are willing to learn and you are committed to your career.
OccupationalTherapy.com: Use promo code CEU015 to receive 13 Months for Price of 12. Search courses now.
Occupational Therapist Licensing Requirements
Each state has different continuing education requirements. They all require anywhere from 10-40 class hours. Most states require that most of the hours be related to direct patient care. Deadlines also vary. Some states have special requirements for the instruction you receive. View your state’s requirements to find what you need.
Occupational Therapy Continuing Education Trends
We are still in the COVID-19 pandemic, and so continuing education has changed a little to fit OT’s needs. The biggest trends are completing continuing education online in various forms, such as webinars and online courses.
OT Webinars & Online Seminars
Webinars, or online seminars, are a great way to get in touch with other members of the occupational therapy community. Some free webinar options are:
- The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is currently offering a free webinar program for members. You can earn up to 12 free credit hours from each webinar and learn about a variety of topics, such as the opioid crisis, virtual reality in OT, and combating burnout.
- AbleNet also offers free live webinars and recorded webinars. AbleNet offers certificates of attendance when you watch one of their webinars so it can be counted toward your credits.
Online courses have increased in popularity since they’ve become available. Many people like them because they are convenient, easy to access, and cost-effective. Many OTs are opting for free online courses to count toward their continuing education credits. Some free online course options are:
- OccupationalTherapy.com offers one free class before signing up for their yearly subscription. (Use promocode CEU015 to get 13 months for the price of 12!)
- Saebo has AOTA-approved courses specializing in rehab upper extremities. The classes are self-study and can be taken at any time.
- Wild Iris is offering a free COVID-19 course worth 1.5 credits. Many of their courses are reasonably priced between $10-$65. (Use promo code CEUGROUP to save 10%)
If you need more courses, MedBridge Continuing Education is gaining popularity as an AOTA approved provider for approved continuing education courses. It is not free, but you can stream more than 1,000 courses and have access to OT exercises, activities, and resources.
Occupational therapy is important to the community and every individual who needs it. Continuing education will help you treat patients better and help you become more skilled in your field.
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