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OT Association Membership: Does It Matter?

Sarah Putt, MA, OTR/L

Well…do they?

And have you heard these before?

“Why do I need to be a member in my OT association?”

“What do they actually do for us?”

“Isn’t it just a waste of money?”

In addition, I hear so many people letting their membership in their state, national, or international OT association lapse once they become a practitioner (aka and aren’t encouraged by their school anymore). 

And it breaks my heart. 

Now truth be told, I didn’t always understand the value of our OT associations and wondered the same things as I questioned above. 

But once I dug deeper into what the organizations do for our profession, I realized that they are a pivotal part for our existence and continued growth as a profession. 

So what do they actually do?

OT organizations: 

~ represent the interests and concerns of OT practitioners and students 

~ work to improve the quality of OT services.

~ encourage accessibility to services and improved healthcare

~ promote professional development to its members

~ educate through sharing resources and information 

~ advocate for the profession

And so much more. 

I have been a member of my state (CA), national (AOTA), and international (WFOT) OT associations for years and will continue to be a member because I know it’s important.

And this was highlighted when I was chatting with some OT practitioners and students the other day. We were discussing why we are still so undervalued and misrepresented as a profession which led to us unpacking the importance of advocacy for OT. Advocacy for who we are, for what we do, for access to services, for job security, for fair pay, and the list goes on and on. 

And honestly it all starts with our associations. 

Which reminds me, I need to go renew one of my memberships before it lapses (just got the email reminder). BRB…

What do you think? Is being a member of our OT associations important? Are you a member of yours? What value do you see from them?

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