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Working Abroad as an Occupational Therapist

Some people dream of living in a different country.  For Sheryl Newberger, an U.S. trained occupational therapist, that dream is a reality. With her British ancestry, Sheryl had always wanted to live there.  Years ago Sheryl practiced for two years in Ireland, and is currently preparing to leave the U.S. in a few weeks to start working in London, England.

Because British and Irish occupational therapists have very similar training as do therapists in the U.S., it was mostly a matter of paperwork that Sheryl had to complete to prove she meets the requirements. Also, the salary in London appears to be very comparable to what U.S. occupational therapists earn.

From her experience, Sheryl believes “kids are the same regardless of where you are, but it was much more research oriented in Ireland.” Sheryl was given more continuing education opportunities while abroad.  And there was a large push for evidence based practice.

Sheryl really enjoyed traveling throughout Ireland while she practiced there last time. She was able to travel throughout the country and had easy access to the rest of Europe. She felt it was neat to provide treatment in the Irish countryside because the families often let the farm animals live in the house with them.

The access to care was a little different in Ireland. The children were not followed for years; instead, they were seen for blocks of time (8 week increments).  Also, anyone needing durable medical equipment was put on a waiting list. Then a committee would decide if it was needed.

Sheryl really loved that Ireland had a more laidback atmosphere. She did not feel so rushed during her treatments compared to what she has seen in the U.S. For her, Sheryl felt it was a wonderful experience  to grow both personally and professionally.  And now London awaits.

Best of luck to you with your new adventures, Sheryl !

If you would like more information on how you may practice overseas, please email Julie McGinnis (

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One Comment

  1. Sanjay
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Most OT schools reiruqe that you have volunteer experience in OT in order to get into the program. Use what you learned from the therapist that you volunteered with. If that fails, talk about how excited you are to enter a field where you get to look at a person from a holistic perspective. also throw out terms like occupation of life daily occupations and purposeful activity . If they do ask you what you know about the field, they just want to know that you understand what it is that you are getting into. It’s competitive, and you have to portray yourself as well rounded, flexible, and eager to learn.