Overview & Job Duties

Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help patients develop, recover, improve, and maintain the skills necessary for daily living. According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), typical job duties include: reviewing patients’ medical history, asking patients questions, and observing them doing tasks; evaluating a patient’s condition and needs; developing an individualized treatment plans; helping people with various disabilities perform different tasks, such as teaching a stroke victim how to get dressed; demonstrating exercises—for example, stretching the joints for arthritis relief—that can help relieve pain in people with chronic conditions; evaluating a patient’s home or workplace and, on the basis of the patient’s health needs, identifying potential improvements, such as labeling kitchen cabinets for an older person with poor memory; educating a patient’s family and employer about how to accommodate and care for the patient; recommending special equipment, such as wheelchairs and eating aids, and instructing patients on how to use that equipment; and assessing and recording patients’ activities and progress for patient evaluations, for billing, and for reporting to physicians and other healthcare providers.

Requirements

To qualify for TN status as an occupational therapist, an applicant must possess one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s (Baccalaureate) of Licenciatura degree; or
  • State/provincial license.

Please note: a qualifying degree must be in the same field or a closely related field. Adjudicating officers are instructed to use “good judgment” in determining whether a degree in an allied field is appropriate.

In addition, an applicant must also obtain a Health Care Worker (Visa Screen) certificate from a USCIS-approved credentialing organization. The certification verifies that the foreign national has met the minimum requirements for training, licensure, and English proficiency in his or her field. Keep in mind, the visa screen is required for the initial TN application, as well as for TN visa renewal applications.