With more than 2,000 occupational therapists (OTs) and certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs) across our nationwide network, it only makes sense that VA is invested in shaping the future of occupational therapy and training qualified clinicians dedicated to the care of Veterans.
Through our annual Occupational Therapy Fellowship Programs, you can bring your expertise to VA, serving Veterans and shaping your career at the same time.
Dedicated to advancing the knowledge and skills of occupational therapists pursuing advanced practice, our fellowship programs provide training in specialized areas of practice.
Since occupational therapy covers a broad spectrum of health conditions, as well as health promotion, wellness, and management of chronic conditions, our programs are as diverse as the people who participate in them.
“These programs propel fellows towards delivering specialty and advanced practice by giving them knowledge and expertise they might not otherwise have the opportunity to gain,” said Katherine Litman, MOT, OTR/L, coordinator of the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital Neurorehabilitation OT Fellowship Program in Tampa, Florida.
At VA, you can find fellowships supporting OT specializations in:
- Assistive Technology
- Hand Therapy and Upper Extremity
- Mental Health
- Physical Rehabilitation
Each of these fellowships is accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and includes an AOTA approved curriculum, intensive mentoring, and clinical experience in a focused area of practice. That’s because we believe in the development of OTs into highly skilled practitioners through a balance between academic and clinical environments.
As a result of these fellowships, we cultivate highly qualified occupational therapy providers who deliver effective, culturally sensitive, and evidenced-based care that facilitates participation in everyday living and promotes quality of life for the Veteran population.
“The education and training provided through these programs are building a future generation of occupational therapists that can support our ability to deliver high-quality, evidence-based, specialized, and accessible care to our Veterans,” Litman added.
Occupational therapists at VA
Whether you’re working in outpatient clinics, inpatient facilities, community living centers, a Veterans’ own home, or even remotely through tele-rehabilitation, VA OTs provide Veteran-centric, state-of-the-art, and evidence-based care throughout the VA network.
You’ll find OTs throughout VA, because occupational therapy provides distinct value to patients. No other discipline holistically measures functional, physical, psychosocial, and cognitive skills through occupations. These “occupations” can be quantified as everyday activities, meaning occupational therapy aims to improve quality-of-life at home, at school, in the workplace, or in the community.
This rehabilitation is especially crucial for Veterans, many of whom have unique difficulties that stem from their military service. Getting these Veterans back on their feet (sometimes literally) is critical in fostering a sense of control, supporting their independence, and developing confidence in their abilities in civilian life.
“Through holistic, Veteran-centered evaluation and treatment, VA OTs support Veterans’ engagement in everyday activities that affect their physical, and mental health and well-being to help maximize each Veteran’s independence,” said Laurie Humiston, MS, OTR/L, CHT, coordinator of the Minneapolis VA Hand and Upper Extremity OT Fellowship Program in Minneapolis.
As the single largest employer of occupational therapists (OTs), VA understands the importance of providing this valuable therapeutic care to Veterans, which is why we’re so invested in our Occupational Therapy Fellowship Programs —and in you!
Beyond clinical mentoring with experts in their respective specializations, participants in our fellowship programs also earn additional benefits.
These fellowships provide a stipend to participants and offer access to the health care insurance used by regular VA employees—insurance that’s among the best in the nation. You’ll also earn paid time-off, sick leave, and enjoy paid federal holidays.
In addition, these programs offer leadership skills development and access to continuing education opportunities, as well as mentorship that can make a difference in your career.
“Mentorship was the primary reason I chose to pursue a fellowship versus entering the workforce as a new graduate,” explained Brighid Rebolledo, OTD, OTR/L, a former fellow of the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital Neurorehabilitation OT Fellowship Program in Tampa, Florida. “Participating in the fellowship program offered me invaluable mentorship that supported my growth towards advanced practice.”
Best of all, your work will impact the wellbeing of the nation’s Veterans. When you serve this most diverse group of Veterans in history, you’ll develop genuine bonds that allow you to better meet their needs. Your work means you’ll be giving back to America’s heroes and helping improve life for them and their families every day.
Work at VA
Learn how to be the best occupational therapist you can be under the mentorship of experts in your field through our Occupational Therapy Fellowship Programs.