Written By: Lynda Jennings, OTR, RAC-CT, CDP



April is National Occupational Therapy Month and what a great month to celebrate the profession of occupational therapy. I have been an occupational therapist for over 30 years graduating from the UTHSC in San Antonio, Texas in 1990. I would say that the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in conjunction with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) has provided a good foundation for the entry-level OT practitioner. However, it is up to you to decide where you want to take your career. Occupational Therapy Practitioners practice in many settings and hold a wide range of traditional and non-traditional OT roles. As clinicians, we often look to our professional organizations for support and guidance. AOTA as well as many other specialty organizations have all stepped up to the challenge and can provide a wealth of knowledge and resources. But, where do you start?


In the words of H Stanely Judd, “A good plan is like a road map; it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.”


A few tips from a seasoned professional, who has held a wide range of both professional and volunteer roles throughout her career:

  • Start with a self-assessment of your interests, values, and skills
  • Research requirements for the role or position
  • Set measurable goals and create a plan with timelines
  • Grow and develop your skills and experience
  • Attend workshops, seminars, lectures, and professional conferences
  • Network, Network, Network


I am a strong advocate of being an active participant in both your state and national professional therapy organization. In addition to providing numerous opportunities to network and meet fellow OT practitioners, there is an abundance of resources available to you.

One tool I have recommended to students and fellow OT professionals is AOTA’s Professional Development Tool. It is an oldie but, a goodie. This tool assists the clinician in identifying your goals, identifying strategies and resources as well as establishing target dates and defined measures for success. Another great resource is AOTA’s Career Center as it has resources for the new clinician as well as the more seasoned. For more information, go to AOTA Career Center | AOTA.

Despite being in this profession for many years, I am always looking for opportunities to grow both professionally and personally. I contribute my longevity and success in this profession to always being open to new ideas and willing to learn. One proud moment I have to acknowledge is being recognized by the Texas Occupational Therapy Association as the 2022 Texas OT of the Year. Reach for the stars, you never know who is watching. Happy Occupational Therapy Month!



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