Steps to Consider in Occupational Therapy Continuing Education Classes
Occupational therapy, a division of physical therapy, requires an extensive knowledge of helping people to overcome physically, mental, developmental and even social disabilities. As such, getting occupational therapy continuing education classes on a regular basis is important.
Check with Your State
Step one in getting occupational therapy continuing education is checking with your state regulatory department to see what they require. Often the agency’s website will list the accredited schools – both online and locally – that are approved to give classes. The state will also tell you how many hours of education you need each year, and what types of classes you need to take. Sometimes you have to take a variety: a technical class, a legal or ethical class, and so on. In some states, there is not a requirement that you document the classes that you have taken, merely that you attest you have. However, even in such a case, be sure to keep documentation to prove that you have taken the classes. If, several years from now, the state does an audit of your continuing education, you’ll have to be able to prove that you have fulfilled their requirements.
Stay Current on New Developments
Given the wide variety of areas you can specialize in, you want to pick classes that keep you current with new therapy techniques and equipment. In some cases, the manufacturers of new equipment will offer free occupational therapy continuing education classes for their products. So long as the class is accredited and acceptable to your state regulatory agency, it can apply to your continuing education requirement.
Broaden Your Horizons
If you specialize in helping people with mental disabilities (as an example), consider taking some occupational therapy continuing education classes in an other discipline. You could start to learn about geriatrics, pediatric care, or some other area. When you consider that the Baby Boomer generation is getting older, the future holds great potential for geriatric care. This will give you a wider variety of clients to help, and thus broaden your client base. Also, if where you work – a hospital or physical therapy center – suffers cutbacks in one department, you’ll have the ability to move to another.
Keep Good Records
Whether you’re taking online occupational therapy continuing education classes or going to a local college or durable medical equipment company, keep records on every aspect of each class. If you’re ever required to verify that you took the class, you need records. When it comes time to prepare your taxes the year after you take the classes, all of the costs associated with the classes will be tax deductible – the class tuition, travel expenses, and so on.
Check with Organizations
When in doubt, check with groups like the American Occupational Therapy Association. They have a website at , and they can help you in finding the right classes for you, where upcoming seminars will be held, and what are the new technologies to be on the lookout for in the coming years.