Category: Blog

Career Pathways of Speech-Language Pathology Professionals

speech pathologist

Do you want to become a speech-language pathology professional but are unsure what your career trajectory looks like? Apart from the high demand for jobs, what makes this career so fulfilling is the ability to change people’s lives. As a speech therapist, you can empower patients by helping them communicate more effectively, thus boosting their self-confidence. 

If this idea appeals to you, but you still have reservations, the best way to decide is to learn more about careers for speech-language pathologists. This way, you can determine whether it’s the right path for you. In this guide, you’ll learn more about speech-language pathologist jobs to gain insight into the profession. 

speech pathologist

What Is Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-language pathology (SLP) is the scientific study of diagnosing, assessing, and treating speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders. Professionals who specialize in this field are called speech-language pathologists or speech therapists. According to the BLS, the 2021 median speech-language pathologist salary was $79,060 annually. 

If you’re wondering about how to become a speech-language pathologist, here’s the general overview:

  1. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in a related field 
  2. Obtain a master’s degree from one of the accredited speech-language pathologist graduate programs
  3. Complete a clinical fellowship
  4. Pass the Praxis Examination
  5. Apply for ASHA certification and state licensure 

Where Do Speech-Language Pathologists Work?

One of the advantages of becoming a speech-language pathologist is the ability to work in various settings. This gives you flexibility and allows you to explore different areas throughout your career. Here are just some of the places you can work in to provide you with a better idea:

Educational Facilities 

Unlike other healthcare professionals that usually only concentrate in medical settings, SLPs are highly involved in the educational space. In fact, 56% of SLPs work in an academic environment, with 53% of them in schools and the other 3% in colleges or universities. 

SLPs in this setting work with students, parents, teachers, counselors, and other professionals to help diagnose and treat communication disorders. Their tasks may include the following:

  • Screening and diagnosing speech problems
  • Working with children with disabilities 
  • Writing Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs)
  • Collaborating with teachers to create lesson plans
  • Supervising clinical fellowships and practicum

Hospitals

Next, SLPs may be employed in hospitals, where they provide a range of inpatient and outpatient services. Generally, you get to work with patients of all ages unless you choose a specialized hospital, such as a children’s or military hospital. In such cases, you’ll focus more on treating a specific patient population.

Regardless, here are some things you may do as an SLP in a hospital setting:

  • Diagnosing, evaluating, and treating speech, language, and swallowing disorders
  • Creating and performing treatment plans
  • Helping traumatic brain injury (TBI) or stroke survivors through recovery
  • Educating patients and families on communication disorders and treatments 

Residential and Nonresidential Health Care Facilities 

Besides hospitals, residential and nonresidential healthcare facilities are also common work areas for SLPs. 

Residential facilities include nursing homes and assisted living communities, where SLPs help the elderly recover from illnesses or treat speech difficulties. On the other hand, nonresidential healthcare facilities refer to outpatient settings like doctor’s offices and speech clinics. 

Generally, SLPs who work in these facilities perform similar services as those who work in hospitals. If ever, there may just be some nuances based on the patient’s specific needs. For example, you usually need to provide additional care and support in residential facilities.

Private Practice 

Finally, SLPs can also work in private practice. This option grants you the most freedom since it gives you control over your schedule, target patients, and types of cases handled. It’s good to consider if you’re passionate about a specific area in SLP or know exactly what you want to do in the field. 

In this setting, the job scope ultimately depends on you and how you set up your private practice. However, one key difference is you’ll also need to handle marketing and administrative tasks like billing and insurance—much like running a regular business.

speech pathology professional

Speech Pathologist Job Specialization

Given the broad scope of speech-language pathology, you can specialize in a particular field for more focus. While this isn’t required to practice SLP, it helps you pursue a more specific career path. Examples of specializations include: 

  • Speech Disorders

SLPs with this specialization help patients with difficulty producing sounds and speaking fluently. They treat various speech disorders like stuttering, apraxia, and articulation disorders. 

  • Language Disorders

SLPs specializing in language disorders treat patients who struggle to understand language or communicate clearly with others. This usually results from aphasia, which affects speech comprehension and the ability to write due to damage to the brain. 

  • Social Communication

SLPs here assist patients with difficulty communicating socially, whether verbally or non-verbally. They help patients learn how to take turns in speaking, follow social cues, and understand proper speech behavior in different settings. 

  • Cognitive-Communication Disorders

SLPs with this specialization work with patients with disorders that affect their memory, problem-solving, and reasoning. Often, these patients have experienced a stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

  • Speech Pathology Assistant

One of the alternate careers for speech-language pathologists is to become a speech pathology assistant, which doesn’t require enrolling in a speech-language pathologist masters program. While you can’t practice independently as an assistant, you can work with certified SLPs.

a child learning with a speech-language pathology professional

Enroll in Speech-Language Pathology Programs Abroad to Discern Your Career 

SLP is one of the best careers you can pursue, given its positive outlook and rewarding nature. If you’re still discerning your choice, the best way to decide is to expose yourself to a real-world setting through speech-language pathologist programs. Here at Therapy Abroad, we offer SLP programs abroad to immerse you into the field and help you gain hands-on experience in a different country. For more information, call us today at 949-844-6366.

Filed under: Blog, Speech Language Pathology

Occupational Therapy vs Physical Therapy: What’s The Difference?

senior patients with an occupational therapist

a physical therapist with a patient

Occupational therapy and physical therapy are two well-known healthcare professions with fulfilling work and positive job outlooks. Being under the rehabilitation sciences, these fields aim to improve a patient’s quality of life by restoring their ability to function in daily living. However, despite being very similar, the two aren’t exactly the same.

So if you’re considering any of these careers, it’s important to learn about them in-depth and understand the differences between occupational therapy vs. physical therapy. This way, you can decide what path will be a better fit for you.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) enables individuals to perform everyday activities so that they can fully engage in their lives. Unlike other fields that usually focus on a specific body part or condition, OT uses a holistic approach. For example, OTs don’t just look at the causes limiting one’s ability to participate in activities, but also their surroundings. As such, some treatments may involve making modifications to a patient’s home or workspace.

an occupational therapist with a senior patient

What is Physical Therapy?

On the other hand, physical therapy (PT) involves restoring an individual’s mobility and managing pain to improve their motor skills. As the term “physical” suggests, this field is focused on treating limitations with physical function, which may arise from injuries, disabilities, or medical conditions. PTs use methods like exercise and massage to reduce the need for prescription drugs or surgery. 

Career Opportunities

Now, you may be wondering about occupational therapy vs. physical therapy careers. What are the opportunities and prospects like for each field? Get to know more about these below. 

Occupational Therapists

OT is consistently recognized as a top healthcare profession, with US News ranking it #11 in Best Health Care Jobs. This positive career outlook can be linked to high demand in the job market, high job satisfaction, and diverse growth opportunities.

Generally, the traditional route for OTs is direct patient care, whether through your private practice or working in hospitals and similar facilities. But if you want to explore some alternative career paths for a change, here are some options:

  • Product development consultant 
  • Ergonomics consultant
  • Driving rehabilitation specialist
  • Seating mobility specialist
  • Home safety professional
  • Rehab liaison

Physical Therapists

physical therapist

Like OTs, PTs also enjoy a wide range of opportunities upon entering the workplace. According to the BLS, employment for PTs will grow by 21% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than the average. 

In terms of career options, PT is a diverse field, allowing you to explore different routes. Based on your interests or preferences, you can focus on a specific aspect of PT. Examples include pediatrics, orthopedics, geriatrics, women’s health, sports, and neurology. Alternatively, you can also look into these non-traditional career paths:

  • Personal trainer
  • Massage therapist
  • Clinical researcher 
  • Rehab liaison
  • Healthcare recruiter
  • Physical therapist educator

Salary and Common Workplaces

Next, salary is another consideration people may have when discerning careers. Take note that this amount can vary significantly based on your location, level of experience, and specialty. But to give you some idea, here’s a comparison of the average occupational vs. physical therapy salary.

Occupational Therapists

As of 2021, the median salary for OTs was $85,570 per year or $41.14 per hour. Most practitioners work in hospitals or OT offices, where they treat patients of all ages. However, some focus on a more specific patient population. For example, OTs who work in schools help children with disabilities or developmental delays. Conversely, OTs in nursing homes help the elderly with their daily activities. 

Physical Therapists

PTs make slightly more than OTs, with a median salary of $95,620 per year or $45.97 per hour in 2021. The majority of them work in outpatient clinics, which usually focus on certain specialties. Many also work in hospitals to assist patients who have been admitted or help those recovering from an injury or surgery. 

Other common workplaces for PTs include nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, sports clinics, patients’ homes, and schools.

Educational Requirements 

Whether you decide to pursue OT or PT, you’ll need to fulfill some educational requirements before you can start practicing. Knowing the differences between occupational therapy vs. physical therapy schooling will give you an idea of what to expect and help you figure out what will best fit your career plans.

Occupational Therapists

The first step to becoming an OT is completing a bachelor’s degree. There’s no specific requirement for this as long as you finish all the prerequisites, but most usually choose relevant majors like Psychology, Biology, or Kinesiology. 

After, you can proceed to take a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) or Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DOT) program in an accredited school. Whatever you choose, you’ll need to complete fieldwork hours and pass the National Board of Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) to get your license. 

senior patients with an occupational therapist

Physical Therapists

The educational requirements for PTs are relatively similar to those of OTs. First, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Then, you’ll need to enroll in a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, which usually spans three years. Some universities offer an accelerated option that allows you to complete your bachelor’s and DPT degree in six years instead of seven. 

Once you’ve completed your graduate studies, you also need to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and obtain your state license to practice.

Join Therapy Abroad’s OT and PT Programs to Prepare For Your Career

If you’re still unsure about whether to choose occupational therapy vs. physical therapy, consider getting experience in each field to see what resonates the most with you. At Therapy Abroad, we offer study abroad programs that expose you to real-world settings in these fields. By observing professionals and participating in activities, you’ll learn more about what it’s like to be an OT or PT.

For more information, call us today at 949-844-6117.

Filed under: Blog

The Ultimate Guide to Physical Therapy Internships Abroad

a physical therapist assisting an elderly patient

Physical therapy (PT) is undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing careers today. Specifically, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts employment prospects to grow by 21% from 2020 to 2030. But while this outlook is much higher than the average, it’s also important to consider how the job market will become more competitive in the coming years.

With that, it’s essential to hone your skills and expose yourself to the work environment even before completing your degree. One of the best ways to do this will be through physical therapy internships abroad. Internships are extremely valuable since they give you the opportunity to work with professionals and gain hands-on experience in a working PT setting. 

In most cases, schools also require students to take a PT internship to be credited as fieldwork before they graduate. So if you’re looking for an internship—whether for personal learning or educational requirements—here’s the ultimate guide to help you out. 

a physical therapist assisting a patient on a wheelchair

What is a Physical Therapy Internship?

A physical therapy internship is a work and learning experience that immerses students in a real-life PT environment, such as a therapy clinic. It involves working alongside professional and licensed PTs to observe what they’re doing, assist them with procedures, and get hands-on training. 

In short, an internship is a trainee program that prepares you for your future career by giving you practical experience you won’t find in a classroom. It’s an excellent opportunity to apply your learnings and understand how PTs work daily. It also counts as work experience in your resume, which gives you an edge in the job market—more so if you’re taking your internship abroad.

Generally, the curriculum of PT internships may vary from one place to another since there are many possible areas you can cover in your program. For example, some internships might focus on specific practice areas while others are more broad and holistic. Whatever you choose, you’ll surely learn many new things and hone your skills in the field. 

Intern Tasks and Responsibilities 

As a physical therapy intern, you’ll work under the direction of a professional PT and help patients with their treatment plans. Some of your tasks may include the following:

  • Evaluating and assessing patients 
  • Assisting with therapeutic exercises and rehabilitation treatments
  • Monitoring patients on exercise programs 
  • Educating and instructing patients in exercises and functional tasks
  • Cleaning tools and equipment after use
  • Caring for patients through their rehabilitation journey 
  • Observing and reporting patient progress and condition

Internship Duration

PT internships run for different lengths depending on the program’s design and objectives, but a rough estimate would be 8-12 weeks. However, take note that some may be much shorter or longer, so check the internship details carefully before applying. 

On the other hand, the learning schedule depends on whether you’re committing to a full-time or part-time position. Full-time roles involve working eight hours a day and five days a week, while part-time roles entail around 15-20 hours of work per week.

Requirements

The requirements for a PT internship differ per program. Some may require you to be enrolled in an accredited physical therapy education program, whereas others don’t have pre-requisites and allow anyone to join—regardless of major. But to give you a better idea, here are the qualifications that clinics and institutions look for in PT interns:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good hand-eye coordination and dexterity
  • Ability to multitask
  • Adaptability and professionalism
  • Caring, friendly, and enthusiastic behavior

three physical therapy interns

When is the best time to get a PT Internship?

There’s no hard rule as to when you should get a PT internship since it’s always helpful to gain experience throughout your learning journey. That said, it’s best to get one while you’re still finishing your education. Though you can still find internship opportunities after graduating, most are designed for students. Doing an internship before graduation also allows you to elevate your credentials to improve your career prospects.

How do I get experience in physical therapy?

When it comes to healthcare careers like physical therapy, internships are often the best way to gain hands-on experience. Given that PT is a technical field that requires many hard skills, it’s important to do practical work to build your experience in the field. So aside from a physical therapy internship, you can consider volunteering in a clinic or shadowing a PT. 

Where to Find Physical Therapy Internships

If you’re interested in applying for physical therapy internships but not sure where to look, here’s a list of some programs you can check out. 

Mayo Clinic: Physical Therapy Internship

The Mayo Clinic Physical Therapy Internship is an 8-12 week program for aspiring PT and PT assistant students. It gives you the opportunity to work with professionals at the Mayo Clinic Hospital or any of their healthcare facilities in states like Minnesota and Arizona. To apply for this internship, you should be enrolled in a PT course in an accredited or affiliated institution.

Aside from the clinic’s prestige, another major advantage of this internship is that it’s designed in partnership with schools to be credited as your final practicum. As such, the program costs are already covered in your tuition, but you still need to shoulder your transportation and living accommodations. Likewise, Mayo Clinic has a relatively rigorous application process, making it challenging to get accepted.

Internship Overview

The Mayo Clinic internship gives you a deep dive into the PT field by allowing you to work with patients with different therapy needs. Examples of practice areas include:

  • Amputee rehabilitation
  • Sports injury rehabilitation
  • Cardiac care
  • Neck pain
  • Back-related symptoms

The internship also offers a rich learning experience since it uses different teaching methods to build your skills and knowledge. Aside from the clinic rotations, you can participate in workshops, lectures, case studies, and many others.

STAR Physical Therapy: College Student Internship Program

STAR Physical Therapy’s college internship program is suitable for undergraduate students planning to attend PT school. One of its most significant benefits is that it doesn’t require you to be enrolled in an accredited PT program yet. Thus, it’s a great choice if you want to build experience early on or still debating whether PT is the right path for you. 

Additionally, the internship is available in STAR Physical Therapy’s 60 outpatient clinics throughout Tennessee. This gives you the flexibility to choose whatever location is most convenient. If ever, the main caveat to this internship is that it’s unpaid. Of course, the learning experience matters more in the long run, but this could still be a downside for some.  

Internship Overview

The STAR Physical Therapy internship runs for 150 hours and provides students with practical clinical experience. Aside from teaching you more about the field, it also boosts your chances of getting accepted into top PT schools. Some things you can expect from your internship include the following:

  • Training to assist in clinical operations
  • Exposure to patient care
  • Participation in services and meetings 
  • Opportunity to shadow physical therapists
  • Field trips with the Sports Medicine team 

Therapy Abroad: Pre-Physical Therapy (PT) & Occupational Therapy (OT) Program in Thailand 

While physical therapy internships are generally valuable for building your career, internships abroad come with even more benefits you won’t find in a regular program. For example, Therapy Abroad offers a pre-physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) program held in Thailand. 

This program is open to undergraduate and post-bacc students from any major, making it a great opportunity for anyone interested in PT or OT. It also stands out from other internships since it allows you to build cultural competence, learn new healthcare practices, and improve your intercultural communication skills.

Beyond all these, the program gives you international experience—a massive advantage that’ll help you stand out in graduate school and job applications. 

Internship Overview

Therapy Abroad’s PT and OT Program is a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural, cross-sectoral program in Northern Thailand. For two weeks, you’ll be working with local universities, charities, clinics, and non-government organizations (NGOs) to help children in the area. Aside from this, you can also expect to:

  • Learn from PT and OT supervisors in a group setting
  • Group reflections and one-on-one sessions with professionals
  • Shadow professionals 
  • Volunteer to help kids with special needs
  • Work with Thai university students to design a health camp 

a physical therapist assisting an elderly patient

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do physical therapists do on a daily basis?

Physical therapists work with patients to help them improve their mobility and perform everyday tasks with ease. Their daily activities generally involve examining and treating patients through manual therapy, exercise, postural correction, and other similar techniques. 

Is PT a good career?

PT is certainly a great career choice—not only because of the high employability but the sense of purpose you get from it. Moreover, PTs ranked as #10 in the 2022 Best Health Care Jobs list.

Where can I Shadow an PT?

You can try checking your local outpatient clinics, hospitals, or rehabilitation centers if you want to shadow a PT. Don’t be shy to ask these places—many other students are in the same position, looking for opportunities to shadow a professional!

Do physical therapists make a lot of money?

Back in 2020, the annual salary for physical therapists ranged from $75,360 to $106,060—with a median of $91,010. This amount is relatively high compared to other careers, but your actual income may still vary based on your credentials and experience, location, and other factors.

Is physical therapy harder than nursing?

Both careers come with their fair share of challenges, so it’s difficult to say if one is harder than the other. However, one thing to note is that the road to becoming a PT is more difficult since you need to get a doctorate degree and pass the licensure exam. In contrast, registered nurses can start working after completing an associate degree in nursing. 

Is it hard to get a job as a PT?

It can be quite challenging to find a job as a PT since the market can be competitive. However, you can take comfort in the fact that employment prospects are growing quickly for this career. Likewise, by building experience through internships and other opportunities early on, you can increase your chances of landing a good job.

Is becoming a PT worth it?

Absolutely. As a PT, you can make a difference in your patients’ lives by helping them navigate injuries or medical concerns that can limit their range of motion. With this, you’re able to help them become more comfortable with their day-to-day activities. 

Maximize Your Career Prospects with Therapy Abroad’s PT Program 

Physical therapy internships ultimately help you gain practical experience to understand what it’s like to work as a PT. Here at Therapy Abroad, we aim to give students the best possible learning experiences to mold them for their future careers. If you’re interested in a physical therapy internship abroad, our PT and OT Program in Thailand will be the perfect fit. Contact us today at 949-844-6371 to learn more about this program.

Filed under: Blog

How To Get SLP Observation Hours ?

how to get slp observation hours
slp student working on her observation hours Speech-language pathology (SLP) is a gratifying career that empowers patients to communicate effectively. It’s also a diverse field, so you can meet and work with so many different patients throughout your career. But before you can start practicing speech therapy, you’ll need to complete some education and certification requirements. One of these is your observation hours, a prerequisite to getting your ASHA certification. So to help you on your journey toward becoming an SLP, here’s a guide on how to get SLP observation hours to start your practice.

What are SLP Observation Hours

SLP observation hours refer to one component of the required practicum mandated by ASHA. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), you must finish at least 400 hours of supervised clinical experience to get your Certificate of Clinical Competence in SLP (CCC-SLP).  The 400-hour requirement is broken down into 25 hours of guided observation and 375 hours of direct patient contact. Generally, you should complete 25 hours while in undergraduate school since graduate programs require this before starting your degree program or clinical work. Aside from this, it’s important to note that observation and volunteer hours are not the same. Observation involves shadowing a professional SLP to see how they work and provide therapy services to patients. On the other hand, volunteering means offering hands-on support to clinics or other healthcare settings, usually involving administrative or clerical work.   As part of ASHA’s rule, your observation activities should fall within the scope of practice in speech-language pathology. All your activities can be done on-site or online and should be conducted under the direction of an ASHA-certified SLP. And finally, you should have your SLP supervisor document and sign your hours.

two slp students abroad talking

How to get SLP Observation hours?

So to help you finish your certification requirements, here are some ways how to get SLP observation hours. Remember—the earlier you complete them, the better! 

Check With Your Program Coordinator

The most straightforward way to get SLP observation hours is to ask your school’s program coordinator for possible opportunities. In most cases, schools allow you to have clinical observations within the campus if they have a speech clinic. If not, your coordinator may be able to connect you to some community sites where you can do your observation.  

Contact a Certified SLP

If you want to explore other outside opportunities, you can also take the initiative to look for certified SLPs in other schools, private clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. Before anything else, please contact the SLP for permission and ask them if you can observe for a certain amount of time. Remember to keep track of your hours since you’ll be responsible for all off-site observations. 

Sign Up at the Master Clinician Network

Another option is to sign up at the Master Clinician Network. This gives you access to a wide database of clinical videos with evaluation and treatment sessions. Aside from the convenience of having countless videos to choose from, you also have the chance to learn from different experts and observe many therapy procedures. Overall, you get the experience of shadowing knowledgeable SLPs from the comforts of your home. Whatever you decide to watch in Master Clinician, these can count towards your observation hours, making it easy to fulfill the required number of hours. But the main caveat is you’ll need to pay an annual membership fee of $45 for students. 

Attend Study Abroad Programs

Without a doubt, one of the best ways—if not the best—to complete 25 hours of SLP observation is through a study abroad program.  These programs allow you to observe and work alongside professionals to gain hands-on experience in the field and discover new healthcare practices. You’ll also get the chance to interact with people from different cultures. Through these experiences, you improve your cross-cultural competence and broaden your perspective on global issues.  If you’re interested in trying such opportunities, Therapy Abroad offers a range of SLP programs to help you learn more about the field. These include the SLP & AAC Program in Thailand and the Communication Sciences & Disorder Program in Belize and Dominican Republic. They all expose you to a unique multicultural environment and even grant you professional observation hours.

slp students learning from each other

The Benefits of Speech and Language Pathology Observation Hours

Observation is a requirement to receive your CCC-SLP certification. But more than that, it’s one of the best learning experiences to help in your education journey. Specifically, here are the top benefits of your SLP observation hours:
  • Preparation for Graduate Program. Clinical observations allow you to understand your course better and potentially find interests. These can ultimately prepare you for graduate school. They also aid in the discernment process and help you decide if SLP is the right career choice.
  • Learn Therapy Procedures. While observing professional SLPs, you learn more about therapy procedures. In other words, you get to see how the concepts you’ve learned in class can be applied in a real clinical setting.

Do You Want to Complete Your SLP Observation Hours Abroad?

SLP observation hours are important to get your ASHA certification. While there’s no hard rule on how you should complete them, doing your observations abroad undoubtedly comes with many advantages. Cultural awareness and higher chances of acceptance into graduate programs are just some of them.  So if you’re not sure how to get SLP observation hours, don’t hesitate to go out of your comfort zone and apply for study abroad programs. Therapy Abroad has a range of SLP programs to help you complete your observation hours while being immersed in a real clinical setting. To learn more about our programs, feel free to contact us at 949-423-6165 .
Filed under: Blog, Speech Language Pathology

5 Benefits of Speech Therapy Volunteer Abroad

student having therapy with a child
speech therapy abroad benefits Speech therapy, also known as speech-language pathology (SLP), ranks third among the best healthcare jobs and tenth in the 100 Best Jobs list from the US News. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that SLP has great employment prospects and offers flexible work options. Not to mention—it’s highly rewarding knowing that you can make a difference in people’s lives. That said, SLP is also a competitive field. So if you’re interested in pursuing this profession, consider looking for opportunities to be a speech therapy volunteer abroad. Doing this can help you through your learning journey, and better prepare you for your practice. Read on to learn more about how volunteering abroad can help you with your career as an SLP.

Is Speech Therapy right for me?

While speech therapy is undoubtedly a thriving career with several functional and emotional benefits, it’s not necessarily the right choice for everyone. To help you decide if it’s right for you, try asking yourself these questions:
  • Are you passionate about helping people?
SLPs work closely with patients to empower them to become better communicators. As such, it’s important to have that passion and willingness to help people with communication disorders and advocate for them.
  • How do you envision your career timeline?
It takes a considerable amount of time to become a licensed SLP. First, you’ll need to get a relevant bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in SLP. Then, you have to complete your post-graduate clinical fellowship and pass the praxis exam to obtain your state licensure and ASHA certification. Overall, it takes around six to eight years to finish all these, so consider whether this fits your career timeline.
  • Do you want flexibility in your career?
Contrary to popular assumptions, SLP is a highly flexible career. You can work in a wide range of settings, ranging from schools to hospitals to social service agencies. You’re also not restricted to a particular patient population, so you can work with patients of all ages and from all walks of life.

5 benefits of Speech Therapy volunteering abroad

overseas student communicating with each other Should you decide to pursue speech therapy, one of the best ways to prepare for your career will be to take SLP volunteer opportunities abroad. In general, volunteering is a great way to hone your skills and learn more about the field. But doing this abroad is especially valuable as it offers benefits you won’t get in a local setting. Check them out below.

Gain Hands-on Experience

Overseas volunteer opportunities allow you to gain hands-on experience by exposing you to a real-life work setting. You get to work alongside SLP professionals, have one-on-one time with them, and observe how they work. You’ll also have responsibilities of your own. Thus, you can apply what you’ve learned in school and better understand how different procedures work.

Improve Intercultural Communication Skills

One of the best parts about studying or volunteering abroad is it immerses you in a new culture. In turn, you can improve your intercultural communication skills. During the program, you’ll constantly be interacting with locals, thus allowing you to learn the conversational language more easily. Some SLP volunteer programs abroad may include some form of language training. For example, Therapy Abroad’s Communication Sciences & Disorders Program in the Dominican Republic comes with Spanish language immersion, allowing you to learn basic conversational Spanish through vocabulary and linguistic instruction. Foreign language skills can be a huge advantage in grad school applications or the job market since it shows that you can interact with a wider range of patients. According to a 2019 study, speaking a foreign language can increase your wage prospects by around 11%. This number is even higher for certain languages, such as 32% for Spanish and 22% for French.

Build Cultural Humility

Speech therapy programs abroad also help you build cultural humility, a form of self-reflection that respects others’ beliefs and worldviews. Throughout your time as a volunteer abroad, you meet people from all walks of life, which allows you to learn more about different cultures. It also helps with personal growth since you become more aware of your worldview and potential biases you may have. Cultural humility is extremely important in healthcare. It teaches you to embrace diversity and openness and build deep relationships with your patients. With this ability, you can treat all your patients with fairness and give them the best possible care in all contexts.

Practice in a Multicultural Environment

Through overseas volunteer opportunities for SLP, you get to practice your skills in a multicultural environment. You can also work with individuals from different cultures. As a result, you can better adapt to unfamiliar or changing environments and effectively collaborate with healthcare workers or patients.

Increase Awareness of Global Social Issues

Finally, taking SLP volunteer programs abroad can help you improve your global awareness. While studying in a new country, you don’t just see how SLP works in action but also develop a better understanding of global and social issues. Specifically, you’ll learn more about local healthcare issues and international approaches that can make you more competent in your practice.

How are Therapy Abroad’s SLP programs different from others?

speech therapy volunteer abroad As highlighted above, volunteering abroad is a great way to sharpen your skills and increase your cultural and global awareness. If you’re interested in SLP volunteer opportunities abroad, Therapy Abroad offers a range of programs you can join. These include the SLP & AAC Program in Thailand, and Communication Sciences & Disorders Program in Belize or the Dominican Republic. These programs only come with limited slots, so make sure you apply now. For more information on what you can expect to do and learn, feel free to contact Therapy Abroad today at (949) 423 6165.
Filed under: Speech Language Pathology, Blog

Where To Look For OT Volunteer Opportunities

ot volunteer opportunities

Pursuing a career in occupational therapy (OT) is highly valuable and fulfilling. But like any other healthcare field, it’s no easy feat! You’ll need to learn different practices and techniques to provide the best care for your patients.

While OT programs are designed to help you learn the ins and outs of the job, it makes a huge difference to immerse yourself in the work environment through occupational therapy volunteer opportunities. There are tons of places to find them—and in fact, you can even volunteer abroad to learn in a new environment, discover new healthcare practices, improve your interpersonal skills, and increase your cultural intelligence and cross–cultural communication skills.

If you aren’t sure where or how to start looking for OT volunteer opportunities, we’ve outlined five places where you can look.

occupational therapy in orange CA

Where to Look for Occupational Therapy Volunteer Opportunities

Generally, Google is a great starting point if you have no idea where to look. Just type in key phrases like “occupational therapy volunteer opportunities abroad,” and you should find various options in the search results. But to tailor your search, here are some specific places you can search for volunteer openings, all of which also include abroad opportunities:

Study Abroad Programs

If you want to be an occupational therapy volunteer abroad, the best place to look will be OT internships or study abroad programs. These are designed specifically to help aspiring OTs hone their knowledge and skills in the field while in a different country. With this, you won’t need to worry about things like language barriers since you’ll be guided throughout the program.

Aside from getting real-life exposure to what the OT career’s like, you get to learn new treatments and practices from the local culture. And not to mention—you get the added perk of traveling and sightseeing.

For example, Therapy Abroad offers an occupational therapy internship abroad in Bulgaria & Greece. Some key activities in the program include the following:

  • Attending group reflections and one-on-one sessions with professional Bulgarian OTs
  • Hosting a health camp with skills-based stations
  • Working with Thai PT and OT university students to design health camps
  • Providing essential services like screening and direct rehabilitation to promote health, fitness, and wellness
  • Practicing communication skills and learning about Thai culture

By having experience abroad, you ultimately get a broader perspective about the field, immerse yourself in a new culture, and gain an edge in your studies or career. Schools and employers recognize the value of international experience, so attending study abroad programs can help you get into your dream OT school or role.

Rehabilitation Centers

rehabilitation center

Rehabilitation centers are always looking for volunteers to help out, whether in your local area or abroad. Now, one of the main advantages of this option is that you’re usually exposed to different departments or services, ranging from hand therapy to gerontology to mental health. Thus, you get the chance to explore different OT specializations.

As a volunteer, you’ll be tasked to do things like:

  • Filing and keeping records
  • Greeting patients and visitors
  • Conversing and interacting with residents
  • Assisting staff with different activities
  • Escorting patients to appointments

Generally, if you’re still unsure what path to pursue in OT school, you can volunteer in a rehab center. You may also volunteer abroad, which will be a great opportunity to work with people from different cultures and assist patients along the way.

Children’s Hospitals

ot volunteer in childrens hospital

If you’re fond of kids and enjoy working around them, you can search for volunteer opportunities in your local children’s hospitals. You get to meet different children and get an insider view of the day-to-day activities in the hospital. Some of your key responsibilities as a volunteer include:

  • Filing and photocopying
  • Socializing and playing with children in waiting rooms
  • Rocking or holding infants who need interaction
  • Assisting children with play activities
  • Assisting OTs during treatment and therapy sessions

Overall, volunteering in a children’s hospital is more hands-on since you really get to interact with the kids and even assist professional OTs. Of course, while this option is open to anyone, it appeals the most to those who plan to specialize in pediatric occupational therapy.

 

Another similar option you can explore is Bulgaria & Greece: Pre-Occupational Therapy Program, which allows you to work with licensed PTs and OTs in Thailand to Bulgaria. Like children’s hospital opportunities, this program also involves working primarily with children. But the experience will be even better since you get to step out of your comfort zone and meet people from different backgrounds.

Special Needs Programs

Volunteering in special needs programs is perfect for aspiring OTs who are patient and compassionate about helping people. Compared to the other options, the volunteer opportunities here are usually more focused on building soft skills like socialization, mentoring, teamwork, and others.

To give you a better idea, here are some things you can expect to do as an OT volunteer:

  • Teaching children
  • Working with local caregivers
  • Interacting with individuals with disabilities
  • Participating in initiatives like planting

This option is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding volunteer opportunities you can take, especially if you do it abroad. Here, you get to work with different non-government organizations (NGOs) in the area, allowing you to learn more about the local health sector and unique practices.

Matching Platforms

This option is slightly different from the rest, but it’s still worth a shot if you haven’t found any lead. Matching platforms are sites that help connect you to volunteer openings based on your skills and location.

One popular example is VolunteerMatch, which allows you to find volunteer opportunities from non-profit organizations. What’s nice about the platform is that you can refine your search based on specific criteria. Examples of OT-related cause areas include health and medicine, people with disabilities, children and youth, and many others. So if you’re interested in volunteer opportunities abroad, you can filter your search to specific countries you’d like to visit.

Looking for OT Volunteer Opportunities Abroad?

volunteer teaching childrens

OT volunteer opportunities are a great way to prepare for a future OT career. Now, while you can volunteer in your local communities, there are so many more benefits to taking an occupational therapy internship or volunteer opportunities abroad.

You not only get to travel but also develop hard skills like medical and anatomical expertise and the ability to do diverse healthcare practices, as well as soft skills like adaptability, communication, cultural competence, and multi-disciplinary thinking. These ultimately allow you to stand out in front of employers as you won’t be able to build such skills without the help of occupational therapy volunteer opportunities abroad.

So if you’re interested, Therapy Abroad provides the perfect avenue to expand your OT knowledge and skills. Learn more about the Therapy Abroad PPT and OT Program by contacting us at 949-423-6165 or send us an inquiry on our website.

Filed under: News, Blog

8 Exciting Benefits of Studying Abroad

student taking course
Studying abroad may seem daunting at first, but it can be a life-changing experience. Going to college marks a new chapter in your life. Now is the perfect time to apply your newly developed knowledge cross-culturally within your field of study and experience even more personal growth. As scary as it may seem to leave your home and country and study in a new place for a while, the experience comes with many benefits. Admit it, the thought is pretty exciting. Studying in a foreign country is often a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you shouldn’t miss out on. In this article we’ll walk you through eight exciting benefits of studying abroad. More specifically, it’s focused on how those interested in becoming a physical therapist (PT) or occupational therapist (OT) will gain valuable experience that will translate into skills as well as providing opportunity to serve!

See the World

benefits of studying abroad As cliche as it sounds, studying abroad allows you to broaden your horizons and see more of the world safely and with a group just as passionate as you are. You get to witness new sights, customs, foods, environments, and ways of life that you would never be able to fully immerse in, not even in an international course.  There is only so much you can learn from the books and videos. While you might have visited other countries for leisure, you probably felt like you didn’t have enough time to fully absorb the differences in culture and truly explore, immersing yourself into the surroundings and local customs. If you’re studying in the country, you have lots more chances to do exactly that. And even while you are in class or during class activities, it’s still a different experience altogether since you get to see what life’s like for the locals.

Learn a New Language

If you’re trying to build your foreign language skills, there’s no better way to do this than by exposing yourself to people who speak it as their native language. While there’s always the option to find online resources or take classes, it’s still more effective to study a new language while abroad. During that time you’ll be completely immersed in the language. So you get to learn from every interaction and gain first hand understanding of even the smallest details. Many times, you only learn textbook information in the classroom, for example, the english language is pretty complicated, Americans have a spoken language that does not always follow the rules. But by seeing and hearing the language every day, you get to pick up colloquialisms, slang, and other common phrases that people often use.  As a PT or an OT professional, it is imperative that you are able to communicate, not only to articulate instruction, but to also understand what that patient is trying to share with you during your work together. Aside from understanding the language’s native culture, this helps you learn the right tone, inflection, choice of words, and other important things. Many times, these are hard to teach since they come naturally to a native speaker. Thus, exposing yourself to the language for an extended time allows you to adopt these mannerisms into your language skills.

Increase Cross-Cultural Competence

If you have ever moved homes or transferred schools, you probably felt a culture shock from the sudden change in environment. This is completely normal, and it will be even stronger apparent the moment you step foot in a foreign country to study. Your experience will not be the same as when traveling since you now get to experience life as a local instead of just a tourist. You will immerse yourself in a new culture—and this is one of the most significant advantages of studying abroad. As an international student, you get to meet and interact with different people, try local delicacies, visit new sights, make new friends that often last a lifetime as you engage in your profession. Overall, you become more aware of the local culture and way of life. Through this enriching experience, you ultimately increase your cross-cultural competence. This refers to your ability to comprehend and engage with people from different cultures. Generally, this skill is valuable for anyone, regardless of their career plans. But it’s especially important for aspiring healthcare professionals since cultural barriers can affect how your patient responds to communication and how well you can treat your patients.

Experience New Education Styles

Different countries and institutions have their own education styles. So by studying abroad, you can experience expanded learning opportunities. This helps you develop adaptability within your learning ability and eventually this will be translated into problem solving with your patients by helping you see different ways to approach a need.  Just as your professors have done with you during your educational experience. For example, if you’re used to a more authoritative teaching style with long lectures and presentations, you can try looking for a more hands-on program like Thailand’s Pre-PT College Prep Program in Thailand. When learning for these healthcare fields, it’s important to find opportunities for this hands-on experience since this allows you to apply your theoretical knowledge and test your skills. Even if you aren’t in graduate school yet, you can begin planning to attend relevant programs with Therapy Abroad, whose programs provide a safe overseas education experience designed to expand your ability to provide the best care possible. By doing this, you get exposed to real-life settings earlier on, which will be beneficial as a candidate for a PT or OT master’s degree program. It’s often hard to gain this type of knowledge and skill in a classroom, so a student travel program will be the perfect way to gear you up for your future studies and career.

Expand Your Skill Set

studying together Unsurprisingly, enrolling in a study abroad program allows you to expand your skill set. While previous points have already touched on benefits such as speaking a new language and developing stronger cultural competence, there’s so much you can gain from the experience. For fields like Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy, you will be more prepared for your career. When it comes to healthcare, immersion and hands-on experience are the best ways to develop beyond basic skills by allowing you to experience unique cases that may not have been available in the classroom or clinical settings. By studying abroad, you gain a wide new range of hard and soft skills that can make you more competent in your field, therefore making you the best candidate for graduate programs and competitive employment opportunities. What do we mean by hard and soft skills?
  • Hard Skills. These skills are developed directly related to your field of study such as safe exercise techniques or ways to lift a patient from a chair. With the international learning experience you can deepen your knowledge and apply your skills with patients with additional barriers to your care such as cultural and language. This will allow you to improve your verbal and written communication skills, and develop physical stamina—all which are helpful for a future PT or OT career.
  • Soft Skills. These skills are developed over time with experience. You can also expect to pick up soft skills that will ensure you are a successful practitioner which is important in the healthcare arena. Some common soft skills you’ll learn from your international experience include adaptability, self-confidence, problem-solving, independence, leadership, and a sense of responsibility.
The bottom line is that studying abroad helps you develop life skills that build your character. When you look at the soft skills listed above, you’ll notice that they’re not just useful for future careers but valuable for life as a whole. They teach you how to navigate a new environment and learn how to deal with different challenges, ultimately allowing you to come out a better person.

Elevate Your Credentials

One of the major educational benefits of studying abroad is its impact on future opportunities, whether future studies or jobs. By highlighting your experience as an international student on your resume or CV, you immediately elevate your credentials and gain an edge. If you are a bachelor’s student and planning to go to graduate school for a PT or OT program, you can increase your chances of getting accepted. Schools recognize the value in studying abroad as it shows initiative and drive for excellence. With this experience you gain more international connections, fresh perspectives and a broader toolbox of techniques, and cultural awareness. These can all boost your application and show your commitment to your chosen field. The same idea applies for the job market. Based on a survey conducted by Hostelworld on 1,006 hiring decision-makers in the US:
  • 23.3% said they would choose candidates with study abroad experience, if given the choice between two hires.
  • 41% have considered offering higher salaries to job applicants with an international education background.
As seen in the statistics, studying abroad experiences can make a huge difference in your educational journey or career hunt as employers highly value these. The previous point highlighted the many skills you can get from this experience, and employers recognize the value and are inclined to hire such candidates.

Build New Relationships

pt students studying together Another major advantage of studying abroad is the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and build lasting relationships. Aside from widening your knowledge and gaining a broader perspective, you also get the chance to make lifelong friends on your journey. Depending on your level of comfort while meeting new people, this may not seem as exciting on day one, but you will see and feel more comfortable as you spend more time with your classmates. If you’re feeling scared about being the odd one out, you don’t have to! Many times, you simply need to share with the other international students who are also likely in the same boat as you. So you can help each other succeed and enjoy the experience. Whether your program lasts days, weeks, or months, you get to live and study in a new place. This gives you the chance to build personal and professional connections, which will provide value as you move along your career. Now that the Internet is extremely accessible, you’ll be able to stay in touch with your newfound friends and colleagues long after you return home. For a PT or OT study abroad program, these interactions will be invaluable. They’ll give you insight into what it’s like to be a healthcare professional. And this is important because you’ll always be working with a diverse population of people in a clinical setting. Thus, building relationships early on can go a long way once you start practicing your field of study.

Foster Personal Development

Studying abroad is not easy and should be entered into as the important aspect it will have in your future career. It’s a bold decision that entails living and adapting to a new place for a while. In most cases, it requires moving out of your comfort zone. It can be scary to do something completely new from what you’re used to. But it’s usually these experiences that end up being most enriching—and that’s exactly what living and studying abroad offers. There are so many ways in which studying abroad allows for personal growth, one of which is through increased self-awareness. When exposed to a new culture, you get to open yourself to new perspectives and understand what’s important to you. At times, you may challenge pre-existing values and beliefs and question whether you have biases that you should reassess. Aside from this, study abroad experiences can also serve as a form of discovery. If you stay in your comfort zone, you limit yourself to a certain routine that can feel monotonous at one point. When this happens, going abroad to study helps you break out of the routine, allowing you to discover new things about yourself. Many times, you might be surprised at what you’re able to do while you study abroad. Perhaps you thought that you’d be too shy to interact, but you never know—you might be the one initiating conversations when you meet new people! Or in other cases, you might find new interests and passions that stick with you even after you return home.

Are You Interested in Studying Abroad With Us?

studying abroad If the reasons above have you convinced about the benefits of studying abroad for your PT or OT career, we’ve got the perfect program for you. Therapy Abroad offers a carefully-crafted PT and OT program designed to give you hands-on experience and see how actual professionals work in a cross-cultural setting. To learn more about the program, you can contact us at 949-423-6165 or send us an inquiry on our website. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills that you won’t find in the classroom!
Filed under: Uncategorized, Blog

Occupational Therapy Internship: The Only Guide You Need

therapy abroad

That said, it’s crucial to develop adequate skills and experience before you step into the real world. One way to do this is through an occupational therapy internship, which gives you a glimpse into how real professionals work and care for their patients.

If you’re interested in becoming an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant, consider taking an internship before you start working. Not familiar with how it works? Here’s a guide with all the information you need to find the perfect internship opportunity.

occupational therapy internship

What is an Occupational Therapy Internship?

Occupational therapy (OT) internships are short-term opportunities that give you hands-on experience and expose you to a real clinical setting to prepare you for your career. These usually involve working in a clinic, hospital, or rehabilitation center alongside other professionals to deepen your knowledge and build valuable skills.

One of the biggest benefits of taking an OT internship is the opportunity to shadow qualified practitioners who have plenty of experience in the field. As a shadower, you’re essentially an observer who gets a “behind-the-scenes” look at what it’s like to be an OT or OT assistant. In addition, you get to see how they work daily and interact with other people in the facility.

OT internships generally cover specific practice areas, such as gerontology, pediatrics, physical rehabilitation, mental health, etc. So, naturally, it’ll be best to find an internship that aligns with the field of occupational therapy you plan The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment for occupational therapists to grow by 17% from 2020 to 2030. This number is much higher than the outlook of most other occupations, which hints at a promising career for anyone planning to enter the field to specialize in. This way, you get relevant experience that will come in handy when you enter the workforce.

Intern Responsibilities

Your exact tasks as an OT intern will depend on the facility you work in and the practice areas covered in your learning plan. However, here are some general responsibilities you can expect to have in your internship:

  • Shadow an OT in their patient consultations and meetings
  • Observe professional OTs in providing specialized treatments
  • Help assess patients’ conditions using proper procedures and tools
  • Assist in developing treatment plans
  • Participate in educational sessions (lectures, workshops, and others)
  • Perform clerical duties

Internship Duration

The length of your internship may vary per program, but those in medical or rehabilitation facilities usually run around 10 to 12 weeks. Of course, you also might find some that are much shorter, especially for internships held abroad. As for working hours, most OT internships are full-time commitments of eight hours a day.

Requirements

Most OT internships need you to be enrolled in an accredited OT or OT assistant program, but some opportunities may allow you to apply even as an undergraduate in a relevant major. Generally, this is the only main requirement needed to be eligible. But to give you a better idea of what you need, here are common qualities OT interns should have:

  • Knowledge of OT treatments and interventions
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to make sound evaluations
  • Desire to help patients

therapist assisting patient

When is the best time to get an OT internship?

It’s best to get an OT internship while you’re still finishing your program. Once you start your search, you’ll notice that most internships are really designed for students since some may be required to get fieldwork experience to graduate.

That said, there’s no exact time when you should get an internship, but generally, it’s best to do this if you already have foundational knowledge in OT. This way, you can use the internship as an avenue to apply what you’ve learned to help actual patients.

How do I get experience in occupational therapy?

OT internships are one of the best ways to gain experience in the field, especially if you’re still finishing up your education. Even before you get your license, it’s important to start immersing yourself in the work environment to prepare for your career. Learning all the procedures and treatments in the classroom is one thing, but applying them in a real-life setting is another.

Aside from an internship, here are other ways to get hands-on experience in OT:

  • Volunteer in health clinics or organizations
  • Participate in OT-related workshops
  • Join international programs to learn OT in a cross-cultural setting
  • Look for service projects geared toward health concerns

Where to Find Occupational Therapy Internships

There are many places to find occupational therapy internships. In fact, you don’t need to limit yourself to your area as you can also find opportunities for placements abroad. To give you a head start in your search, here are some options you can explore and consider.

Mayo Clinic: Occupational Therapy Internship

One of the first places you can check for internships would be medical centers and healthcare facilities. For example, Mayo Clinic offers a 12-week OT internship in various states like Minnesota and Arizona to help you fulfill your program requirements. If you’re interested, you can reach out to your education coordinator to help you arrange your application. Note that this internship is only open to students who are currently enrolled in an accredited OT program.

Since this internship is done in partnership with accredited colleges, it’s highly convenient and easy to access. You can easily coordinate with your school on the specifics. Another advantage is the internship doesn’t come with any fees. Your enrollment in your program already counts as your tuition.

Unfortunately, Mayo Clinic doesn’t have financial aid options for this internship. This means you’ll need to shoulder costs like accommodations and transportation yourself. Some areas like Arizona also only accommodate small class sizes of about 10, making it harder to get accepted.

Internship Overview

In terms of how the internship works, the setup may vary based on your area. Some may design it as a one-on-one model, where you work independently under a supervisor. But others may also create a more collaborative model, where you work alongside other interns. Regardless, you’ll have patient care responsibilities and gain clinical experience treating various OT needs like:

  • Acute care
  • General orthopedic needs
  • Outpatient care
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Inpatient rehabilitation

Aside from hands-on work, you’ll also get different learning experiences. These could be through lectures, workshops, patient care rounds, case studies, and similar discussions. Schedule-wise, the program runs eight hours a day and five days a week.

therapy assistant helping patient

HSS Rehabilitation: Internship Program

Aside from hospitals and clinics, rehabilitation centers are another great place to look at when searching for OT internships. The HSS Rehabilitation Internship program is one such example, which caters to students with minimal clinical experience. It’s a full-time unpaid internship that runs for around 10 weeks and is held in any of HSS Rehabilitation’s locations in New York and New Jersey.

Internship Overview

As an intern for HSS Rehabilitation, you’ll get exposed to various aspects of OT, including clinical care, research, education, and administrative work. You’ll also participate in different projects and present results to your supervisor for feedback.

Therapy Abroad: Pre-Physical Therapy (PT) & Occupational Therapy (OT) Program in Thailand

To get a unique internship experience, consider taking yours abroad. Therapy Abroad’s two-week Bulgaria Pre-Occupational Therapy Program  is designed for undergraduates and graduate students seeking to learn from professionals with different cultures. If you want to apply for the 2022 program, the available sessions are May 14 to 29 or June 11 to 26.

Naturally, having the opportunity to study abroad is one of the best parts of this internship. However, other than this, another huge advantage is its inclusivity. The program has no prerequisites. You’re eligible to apply as long as you’re enrolled in a relevant major.

On the flip side, however, the program only accepts 12 students per session. Thus, it’ll be best to apply early and refine your requirements to increase your chances of getting in. You’ll also need to consider the cost of tuition, which is $3,850 excluding international airfare.

Internship Overview

Therapy Abroad’s PT and OT program involves partnerships with government organizations, NGOs, universities, clinics, and charities to provide therapy services for children. This cross-disciplinary approach allows you to be exposed to different working environments and a wide range of treatment methodologies.

It’s worth noting that the program is heavily focused on working with children, so it’s suitable for students interested in specializing in pediatrics-related OT fields. To help you set expectations, here are some key activities you will do in the program:

  • Group reflections
  • One-on-one time with PTs and OTs
  • Observe professionals in different settings
  • Design and facilitate a health camp using skill-based learning centers

On top of this, you get to explore the beautiful sights of Thailand during the evenings and weekends. You’ll be assisted every step of the way—from initial flight to accommodations to community visits—so you don’t need to worry about anything after finalizing your participation.

patient undergoing therapy

FAQs about Occupational Therapy as a Profession

Where can I shadow an OT?

Shadowing is an important requirement that most OT students have in their program. If you’re currently enrolled, you can ask your school for help in case they have partnerships with OT facilities. Otherwise, you can take initiative by reaching out to hospitals or nursing facilities and asking if you can volunteer to shadow an OT.

Is there a demand for OT?

Yes. In fact, the demand for OTs has been growing consistently, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting the employment growth to be higher than average in this profession. Aside from this, OTs ranked #11 in the 2022 Best Health Care Jobs list, indicating a high demand for these professionals.

Do occupational therapists make a lot of money?

Generally, OTs are known to make a very good income, with annual salaries ranging from $70,000 to $100,000 back in 2020. However, it’s important to note that your salary amount will depend on many factors, such as your location, specialty, and the type of facility you work in.

Do occupational therapists help with bathing?

OTs don’t directly bathe patients as a caregiver or home health aide would. Instead, OTs assist patients to do this on their own, so they can take better care of themselves.

Is occupational therapy harder than nursing?

Nursing and occupational therapy are equally challenging professions. Both involve providing patient care but in different ways, so the difficulty ultimately boils down to your capabilities and passion. Where nurses offer direct care for medical concerns, OTs work with patients to help them manage their pain and improve self-care.

Is it hard to get a job as an OT?

It can be hard to find a job as an OT if you’re a fresh graduate because employers want candidates with relevant experience. Given this, it’s important to be proactive and start building experience even before you graduate. One such way will be through internships.

Is becoming an OT worth it?

It’s definitely worth it. The high pay is undoubtedly attractive, but more than that is the sense of fulfillment that comes with the job. The thing about OT is that you’re not focused on healing a particular injury but instead treating a patient holistically so that they can perform their everyday tasks effectively. In doing this, you dramatically improve their quality of life.

How Therapy Abroad’s Internship Program Can Equip You to Become a Successful OT

If you’re seeking an occupational therapy internship abroad, Therapy Abroad’s OT program will be a perfect choice. Therapy Abroad offers award-winning programs to help students gain real-life experience in their chosen field. In today’s competitive job market, experience can be the determining factor that lands you a job—especially in healthcare professions like OT. Thus, an occupational therapy internship can do wonders for your career prospects.

For more information on Therapy Abroad, feel free to contact us at 949-423-6165.

Filed under: physical therapy abroad, Blog

How to Get Physical Therapy Observation Hours?

students having physical therapy observation hours

There are nearly 1.7 billion people across the globe who experience some type of musculoskeletal condition, with 568 million complaining about back pain. Moreover, these conditions will continue to surge in the next decade as the population and aging rates increase across the board.

In other words, many people could benefit from physical therapy services right away, and demand will continue to increase in the future. For this reason, physical therapy is an in-demand career choice. But before you become a professional in the field, you need to know how to get physical therapy observation hours as required by many PT schools. 

students having physical therapy observation hours

What Are Physical Therapy Observation Hours?

A reputable physical therapy school will require its students to undergo observation hours as part of the application process to join a course. This includes spending time volunteering or as a paid intern with a licensed physical therapist. You can observe the therapist treating patients as you help with cleaning treatment areas or administrative roles, such as filing paperwork. The idea is to get a snippet of how the profession works and decide if it fits you.

The number of hours required for observation varies with institutions. Ensure that you check with the school to understand the minimum hours needed to meet the threshold. You can contact the administrator or access this information from the school’s official website. Moreover, some programs may need prospective students to spend a certain amount of time on both in-patient and outpatient therapy observation. 

Also, the school may not limit you to a specific location. You can get physical therapy observation hours abroad, especially if you want to gain experience among diverse people and cultures. Sometimes, this option may even be more affordable in terms of tuition fees and accommodation if you go to developing countries, not to mention the long list of benefits you’ll get out of the program.

physical therapy abroad students smiling

How to Get Physical Therapy Observation Hours

Getting physical therapy observation hours may not be hard if you easily get along with people. Even better, you can simplify the whole process by reaching out to someone who has done it before. Hopefully, they will recommend you to an acute care hospital where you can spend time with licensed professionals. This is a highly recommended option because it saves you time and resources. Alternatively, you can get PT observation hours in the following ways. 

Show Up to a Facility in Person

With the rise of digital communication, very few students will take time to show up to a therapy facility in person. Take this approach to stand out from the rest and show how much you need to enroll in their observation program. It will help if you visit the facility during morning hours before patients start streaming in. However, you’ll have to wait until a therapist is ready to see you, which could take a while. 

Schedule a Call

Sometimes you live in a distant location, and visiting physically doesn’t work for you. In that case, calling directly is a good plan. If you’re lucky, some therapists will answer your call directly. If not, you may need to schedule a proper call after communicating with a secretary or personal assistant. Either way, expect to make several calls before finding a therapist to oversee your observation hours. Ensure that you call during regular business hours to increase your chances of getting a prompt response. 

Send an Email

As mentioned earlier, you can get your physical therapy observation hours locally or abroad, depending on what the PT institution recommends. If you opt for the latter option, sending an email is an easy way to get started due to limited availability during office hours. However, you’ll need to send tens of emails to different therapists before getting a good response. Some may even ignore your emails. Even worse, sending multiple emails at once increases the chances of ending in the spam folder. So, this method will probably be less effective than others listed here. 

Contact the Local School District

There is a high chance of getting observational hours in school therapy because it’s a less popular option for many PT students. You can start your search locally to ensure you exhaust the options around you before trying overseas. Do an online search on Google to get the contact details of your local school district, including directions if you prefer a physical visit. 

Online Networking

There is a growing presence of online therapy services, but still with the option of in-clinic treatment. It’s easier to connect with these clinics through various social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Even better, some cash-based online practices publish observation hours opportunities for students on their websites and social media pages. 

Reach Out to a Rehabilitation Center

If all these options don’t work, reach out directly to a hospital rehabilitation center. This would be a great option, especially if a volunteering center turned you down initially because they want professionals and not students. However, observation hours programs in rehabilitation centers can be pretty rigid. You’ll need to commit to an exact number of hours per week. 

Find Opportunities Abroad

If you’re interested in exploring other cultures and observe physical therapy techniques from foreign practitioners, you may get in touch with Therapy Abroad. We have programs that allow our students to develop their skills, experience their profession in a cross-cultural setting, and support local children and families with special needs.

physical therapy students talking to a patient

The Benefits of Physical Therapy Observation Hours

Completing physical therapy observation hours, whether in a skilled nursing facility, clinic, or other location, is beneficial in many ways. For instance, PT schools look at observation hours completed to verify a candidate’s eligibility. Admission committees can then determine whether the prospective candidate has a basic understanding of PT before committing to the rigorous training process. The candidate will then get admission to the institution if they meet the selection criteria. 

PT observation hours help students:

  • Understand the kind of patients physical therapists interact with in real life
  • Make informed decisions on the careers they want to pursue
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of physical therapists 
  • Experience different clinical settings 
  • Get a recommendation letter

physical therapy observership program abroad

Physical Therapy Observation Hours Tips

Physical therapy observation hours can go for weeks, or several months, depending on the amount of time you commit per week or your school’s recommendation. Either way, you want to get the most out of your program. So, here are some tips to help you get started smoothly and finish strong. 

Know What to Wear

Dress codes may vary with clinics. Check with the physical therapist to get an idea of what they expect you to wear during your time with them. Most of the facilities around are okay with business casual wear, although some may prefer scrubs. Nevertheless, there are basic rules for a professional dress code. For instance, you should put on minimal jewelry and closed-toed shoes. 

Have Etiquette 

It will help when you demonstrate high levels of etiquette around everyone in the facility. Good habits, such as saying thank you or please can go a long way in building a healthy relationship with your physical therapist. It’s also worth mentioning that whatever you learn and exude during the observation hours will likely reflect on your recommendation letter. So, do your best to make a good impression. 

Ask Questions During Observation Hours

There is no perfect time as to when to ask the questions. Make general observations on the mood, and you’ll determine when the therapist will be ready to respond to your questions. It can either be during or after a treatment session.   

What to Do After the Program 

Thank everyone at the end of your program. Actually, it’s better to appreciate every patient that allows you to observe during their treatment sessions. Being courteous may open many doors for you in the future, including full-time employment.

Prepare for Your PT Observation Hours

Leverage this guide and learn how to get physical therapy observation hours, locally, or abroad. After that, prepare for the program to ensure you get the most out of it. For instance, check various online resources to determine the type of questions you should ask while you’re completing your observation hours. 

Do You Want to Complete Your Observation Hours Abroad?

Therapy Abroad’s award winning programs Physical Therapy programs in Thailand can give you the hands-on experience you need in a cross-cultural setting. The program is designed to help students build the skills necessary to become well-rounded PTs in the future.

Contact us today for more information.

Filed under: physical therapy abroad, News, Blog

The Best Way to Get Into Speech Language Pathology Graduate School

a speech language pathologist with a patient

According to the Speech Pathology Graduate Programs website, speech-language pathology is a field of study within the broader category of communication sciences and disorders, also known as CSD.

Speech-language pathologists work to diagnose and treat a wide variety of patients, from children to elderly adults, who have speech, communication, or swallowing disorders. 

In order to become a licensed speech-language pathologist, you must first attend SLP grad school. During your time in graduate school, you will learn how to assess, diagnose, and treat a variety of speech and swallowing disorders. You will have courses in both an academic and clinical setting. 

a speech language pathologist with a patient

Speech Pathology Grad School Requirements

The requirements for grad school will generally include a bachelor’s degree and an acceptable grade point average. In many cases, you will also need a certain score on a graduate entrance exam to increase your chances of getting accepted. You may also need a personal statement and letters of recommendation.

Here’s a list of requirements for getting into speech-language pathology grad programs:

A bachelor’s degree

There are no shortcuts here. The name itself suggests that it is a graduate school; therefore, a college degree is a prerequisite. And just like law school, you don’t have to graduate from a specific college course just to get in. In fact, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, you don’t have to acquire a specific major, although a degree in line with communication sciences is ideal.

A certain grade point average

The average grades that people need to get are a determining factor of the chances they have in getting into the program. However, the GPA requirement varies for different programs. What can be required from one will greatly differ from the other because of what it takes to get there and move forward from there. It must be noted though that even though the GPA varies, a competitive GPA of 3.0 is a standard. Your GPA and GRE scores can help with your application.

A GRE General Test Score

It is not mandatory as only some schools and programs offer this test. However, having this as an extra credential doesn’t hurt. If anything, it increases your chances of getting in because people would have an impression that you go the extra mile and you have the capability to excel in the field. The better your score, the better your chances are for being accepted into a graduate program.

Several letters of recommendation

A glowing review from a professional who knows you and has worked with you in the past can really give you an advantage when applying to a graduate program. When you have letters of recommendation to back you up and further strengthen your credentials, it is certainly a great help. You can ask for recommendations from school advisers and even SLPs you may know. 

A personal essay

Graduate school admissions officers want to know more about you than just your grades and test scores. Why do you want to pursue a career in speech-language pathology? What motivates you? Why would you be a great fit for their program? These are a few of the questions you may be asked to answer as part of the admissions process. Most programs and schools provide you with questions and prompts to get you started. But for others, you may have to choose your own topic to explore. 

speech language pathologist helping a little girl

How to Get into SLP Grad School

It may seem intimidating applying to grad school, but becoming a speech-language pathologist is attainable for those who are willing to put in the work. To help guide your way through this career path, here are the general steps you’ll need to take. 

Finish a college degree first

While a certain course of study isn’t required, you must have a bachelor’s degree in order to apply to grad school.

Consider taking a GRE General Test

Even though it was previously mentioned that it is not necessary, a GRE score can add to your credentials most especially when you finished a bachelor’s degree that is not related to this field. Besides, you can take this test multiple times, up to five (5) times within a year.

Observe how different speech-language pathologists do their work

Before you enter a SLP graduate program, you will want to observe several SLPs to make sure you enjoy the work. SLPs can work in a variety of settings, including preschools, colleges, private practices, corporate services, armed forces, and even the United States’ Public Health Service.

Build a network that involves speech-language pathologists

It may seem redundant, but it is important to highlight that people in your network can really help you succeed in your career. Eventually, these will be the same people who will vouch for you and refer you to institutions you can work in.

Also, building rapport and connections with actual people in this field can earn you a lifetime’s worth of mentors that can help you be better, not just as a professional but also as a person.

Do some volunteer work

Volunteering can help you gain experience in the field, and it’s also a great thing to add to your resume when applying to graduate school. It doesn’t need to be full-time work; part-time volunteering is enough. Furthermore, it allows you to discern whether you want to pursue a career in speech-language pathology at the end of the day.

 

What is the Best Way to Get Into SLP Grad School?

There aren’t really any shortcuts when it comes to getting into SLP grad school. If you earn a bachelor’s degree and maintain a good GPA, get an acceptable score on the necessary graduate entrance exam, and gain some volunteer experience in the field, you have a great chance of getting into SLP grad school. 

 

a speech language pathologist treating a little boy holding a teddy bear

FAQs About SLP Grad School

Is it hard to get into grad school for SLP?

While it’s definitely not easy, getting into SLP grad school is attainable for many people. For example, you don’t necessarily have to be a graduate of communication disorder studies to get into a good program. 

What GPA do you need to get into grad school for speech pathology?

There are no requirements for a certain GPA. It varies from program to program, but a GPA of 3.0 or higher should be acceptable.

Is a masters in speech pathology worth it?

The answer to this question is different for every individual, but we believe it is. As a speech-language pathologist, you are not just doing work that earns you money. You are also being of service to people and helping them achieve a better quality of life. It is a noble job that allows you to make a difference in the world.

What are the easiest SLP programs to get into?

According to the list from the Word Scholarship Forum, among the easiest programs to get into are New England College, Walden University, California State University Bakersfield, Boston Architectural College, Cameron University, Wilmington University, and Benedictine University.

How do I get into SLP grad school with a low GPA?

You can work on your other qualities and skills. There are resources online that can help you make a higher score on the GRE or write a fantastic personal essay. You can also talk with speech-language pathologists so that they can vouch for you. Other than that, you can also volunteer.

What is the acceptance rate to speech-language pathology grad school?

According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, the acceptance rate to speech pathology grad school is 39% in the recent school years. In fact, the average rate for those who got accepted was just 23.1% over a decade from 2010-2020.

How do you stand out for SLP grad school?

Just as internships are helpful in giving you real-life experience about the field of work you want to pursue, doing volunteer work can consequently do the same. What’s better is that it helps you stand out in SLP grad school because of the first-hand experience that comes together with textbook knowledge.

Woman who wants to getting into SLP graduate school helping a little girl

How To Get SLP Observation Hours Abroad And Make Your Application Stand Out

As mentioned, you can volunteer and shadow already established SLPs. But if you want to go beyond that, you can take a program yourself even when you are an undergraduate!

The Therapy Abroad SLP program in Thailand, for example, is a wonderful way to gain experience in a clinical setting, and it also looks great on your resume or grad school application. 

It is a two-week long program for undergraduate or graduate students ages 18 and above. This Therapy Abroad program helps students gain hands-on experience serving school-age children alongside professionals in the field. It is perfect for students specializing in speech-language pathology and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). 

Nowadays, school admissions committees want to have students who are well-rounded and equipped with some experience in their intended course of study. A Therapy Abroad experience in SLP can help you make a difference in the lives of others and strengthen your application for speech-language pathology graduate programs as well.

If you’d like to learn more, you can check out this program and apply here. You only have to provide basic information and you’re ready to go through the easy admissions process!

Filed under: Speech Language Pathology, News, Blog, Graduate School