Occupational therapists and physical therapists have many similar job responsibilities. Outsiders looking in would have a difficult time in knowing each’s roles. Both do work in the rehabilitation industries, but there are distinctive differences between the two. It is important to know which path would be better for your career future.

Both occupational and physical therapy are parts of the healthcare field, and as aforementioned, both work in the rehabilitation function of healthcare. Each therapist’s roles is to increase and improve the quality of life for every patient he or she sees. The end goal of both types of therapy is to help a patient be able to have an independent lifestyle.

Both industries work with individuals of all ages and with a multitude of health related difficulties. Both utilize the same tools such as basic exercise equipments. Finally, both types of therapists are able to prescribe and design orthopedic devices for their patients.

Differences between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

Despite the multitudes of similarities present, there are distinct differences between the two types of therapy. Physical therapists are trained in how the body works and moves. It is important that physical therapists assist patients in developing muscular strength. Physical therapists should also know the limits an individual’s body has.

An occupational therapist assists a patient in functioning in his or her daily life skills. Occupational therapists are almost more focused on an end goal of independent living. They understand how the body moves, but also understand memory related techniques, problem solving and social skill development and other life skill development techniques.

Which Career is Best for You?

Both types of therapists require the same basic types of education in receiving a bachelors degree and graduate degree. A physical therapist needs a doctorate, whereas an occupational therapist only needs a masters degree. Both types of therapists can work in similar settings including schools, hospitals, nursing homes, home health care and long term respite care.

Physical therapy schooling is more devoted to chemistry and physics to better understand how the body works. Occupational therapy schooling is devoted to neuroscience, sociology and psychology related courses. Each type of therapist must understand how to perform assessments, create treatment plans, complete documentation and utilize the tools required. Each career path also requires licensure that requires frequent updating and maintaining for effective professionalism.