As in other developed countries, achieving the occupational therapist designation is quite similar in New Zealand New Zealand has one of the highest qualities of Medical Standards in all professions including Occupational therapy. Individuals qualified from NZ health system are usually eligible to practise all over the world without any further studies in the home country. As in other countries, the occupational therapist job description in New Zealand consists of assessing and treating people who have limited ability to undertake the activities of daily life. Specifically, Occupational therapists work with sole individuals who are struggling in muscular agility and acceptance in soceity due to their disability. They assist them to regain their lost muscular power and also their confidence to gain respectable place in the social circles. However, Occupational therapist salary in New Zealand has stagnated over the last few years. According to a study performed by NZ association of OTs in 2004, occupational therapist salary vary within $33,000 to $50,000. WIth regards to the subject one should take in the school to become Occupational therapist, there are no compulsions. However, it is recommended that the student should be good at chemistry, biology and health subjects to smoothly enter the tertiary system. This establishes a strong foundation for a prosperous future as an Occupational Therapist. Once an individual has completed schooling with appropriate subjects, it is time to progress to the tertiary level of education. To become an occupational therapist you need to have a Bachelor of Health Science in Occupational Therapy. Two tertiary institutions offer this qualification in New Zealand.
1. Auckland University of Technology (AUT): is based in Auckland, which is NZ's most cosmopolitant city. It offers a 3 year course in Occupational therapy. In year 1 the mechanics of how the human body works is covered. Year 2 courses consists of information about how peoples performance in their occupation is affected by injury and illness. While year 3 is applying the skills learnt in year 2 in communities. There is often a practical internship involved at this stage. It is a comprehensive occupational therapy course covering all aspects of the profession. Once graduated, you can easily get registered as an OT in NZ. If you plan to go overseas and work in another country, it would be fairly straightforward as well.
2.Otago Polutechnic -- based in Dunedin, a small town based in South Island of New Zealand. They also offer a 3 year qualification -- similar to AUTs. While the theory will be taught on campus during the 3 years, the practical component of the programme will open itself for field work placements. These are included all throughout the programme.
Both the qualifications qualification leads to registration to practise as an occupational therapist in New Zealand, and is recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. Both the degrees establish NZ as a high quality place to study Occupational therapy at an affordable price. However, considering the low occupational therapist salary in the local market, lot of trained professionals prefer to go overseas for better work opportunities.