Similarities and Differences Between Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy

difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy

OT or PT?

Occupational therapists and physical therapists often work side-by-side, addressing similar conditions using similar treatment methods and tools. Depending on the setting, it may be difficult to tell which practitioner is which. With so many similarities, it should come as no surprise that OT and PT were once the same—both professions were once known as reconstruction aides, who were tasked with veteran rehabilitation during World War I. Both disciplines can address developing, improving, and preventing deterioration of a patient’s physical function and ability to carry out daily living tasks, both strive to optimize a patient’s independence and quality of life, and both can work with patients across the lifespan.

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What Occupational Therapy School is Really Like

what OT school is like

Where to Begin?

Students seeking a career in occupational therapy may be unsure of where to start and what to expect. When I began applying to OT school, it seemed like no schools were exactly the same. I discovered that most schools did not even have the same admission criteria. As I began interviewing, I learned that some things were more important to certain schools than to others. For instance, I interviewed at one school that thought I didn’t have a good understanding of OT because I mentioned a strong interest in research! However, other schools like my alma mater saw this as a good quality in an applicant. Over the years, I’ve spoken to students from different programs and learned that my initial hunch was correct—every program is a little different.

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