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Factors Influencing the Career Choice of First-Year Occupational Therapy Students

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Although there has been much literature published on occupational therapy as a career choice over the past 40 years, little has come from the United Kingdom. This quantitative study surveyed 330 first-year occupational therapy students at Brunel University, West London, between 1996 and 1999 using a purpose-designed questionnaire. Over this period there was an increase in the diversity of the student group in relation to gender and ethnic origin, with 70% of each year being over the age of 21 years. The majority of students had previously worked in a health care setting, which was the method by which 30% had first heard about occupational therapy. Although many students had pursued their interest in the profession through formal methods, 25% had used informal methods by contacting an occupational therapy service or occupational therapy friend or family member. The reasons for career choice were principally aspects of the profession such as variety and challenge and, secondly, an interest in people and a wish to help disabled people; material aspects such as job availability, promotion and salary were the least important. While the value of occupational therapists in recruitment was acknowledged, more robust and sustained promotion of occupational therapy as a career was indicated.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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