Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Human life comprises hundreds of daily activities that occupy our waking hours. These activities—defined as “occupations”—have a profound impact on how we feel physically, emotionally, socially and even spiritually. They can provide a sense of satisfaction and well-being but they can also create stress, imbalance and dissatisfaction. While they do include professional, employment and work activities, occupations encompass more than just a person’s career because people of all ages, cultures and capabilities engage in occupations. Occupational therapy is the profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through engagement in everyday activity, while occupational science is the study of the phenomena of occupation.
Occupational therapy is a health care profession aimed at improving performance, preventing illness and disability and promoting adaptation to life changes. In this interdisciplinary field, occupational therapists help all people—those with and without disabilities—to realize healthier, happier and more productive lives. With demand for health care services anticipated to be strong throughout this decade, occupational therapy is also a secure career choice. In fact, the profession of occupational therapy has recently been named the:
- “No. 23 Best Job of 2016” by U.S. News & World Report
- “19 Hottest Jobs for 2016” by MSN Money
- “No. 11 Most Meaningful Job in America” by Business Insider
- “No. 9 Best Job of 2015” by CareerCast
- “No. 1 Job that Robots are Least Likely to Take Over” by Business Insider
- “No. 4 of 5 Most In-Demand Jobs Right Now” by Time Magazine
- “No. 18 of 150 Best-Paying Recession-Proof Jobs” by The 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs
- “No. 1 of 7 Jobs That Pay You to Play All Day” by careerbuilder.com
- “A Job With 2% Unemployment” by cnnmoney.com
- “The Best Master’s Degrees for Jobs,” “Hot Jobs Where Pay is Rising,” “10 Best Entry-Level Jobs,” “10 Best-Paying Jobs for Women,” and “20 Fastest-Growing Jobs for Women” by Forbes.com
- “Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.” —Bureau of Labor Statistics
Occupational Science is the scientific study of human activity. This academic discipline generates knowledge about the impact of occupation on the health of individuals, communities, nations and the world. Devoted to supporting clinical practices of occupational therapy through scientific research, occupational science draws upon multiple disciplines (such as education, physiology, pediatrics, gerontology, etc.) to understand the underlying, diverse forces that shape occupation, as well as the effect of occupation on our health and well-being.