Full academization for OT – A current topic in Germany

Why you should read the following text:

It’s about the future of OT! The topic of academization is a very important topic in the OT world. In the following, we will discuss full academization related to the situation in Germany. Other countries are well involved too, so this may be of interest to many OT students.

Why is academization important for best practice? Who is involved? What Science says. Why now?


What does academization include?

To become an OT in Germany, one is not yet obligated to study at university. The benefit of studying is that it enables a science-based practice since research work in general is part of a bachelor’s program. Academization would lead to a gradual replacement of the mainly existing form of education in Germany – an apprenticeship.

Why is it important for best practice in therapy?

The vision is that in the future all therapeutic professions will be taught at university ensuring evidence-based practice and thus a higher quality for therapeutic care. Practice and research should be woven together tightly. By including recent study cases and methodology into the practice, the best possible care for a patient is secured. This is the main reason why the heads of the German professional associations of all the therapeutic professions (OT, PT and speech therapy) started the campaign for full academization in Germany.

The background of the movement

As in many other countries, there is a big staff shortage in therapy professions which is also due to the lack of recognition in society and low payment. The academization aims to raise the attractiveness of OT for young people. Furthermore, a rehabilitation process is most effective when all involved professions work together. Universities offer the best environment for interdisciplinary learning and exchange. And generally, in order to help OT evolve, scientific research is necessary.

Why now?

Academization is a process that takes a lot of time (around 10 years). Right now, there are not enough OTs with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Germany who are able to teach at university. Young people are needed to shape the profession by showing interest in research and politics. Politicians must be pressured and convinced by facts to change existing structures. Also, we need to meet and fulfil the increasing demands for health care in our society – starting today!

Nice to know:

  • Academization plays a big part in the professionalization of Occupational Therapy.
  • A higher form of education makes working in other countries possible.
  • Most of the students who are currently completing an apprenticeship in Germany to become a therapist are A-Level graduates. Those without A-Levels also have the possibility to study at universities through other means. Therefore, there will be no exclusion of students with a lower school degree.

Support the campaign

The campaign for full academization in Germany needs visibility and public attention, and people who are interested in politics. The campaign is fuelled by this! There is a petition for the reformation of therapeutic occupations in Germany, addressed to the health minister.

By signing you can help support the academization movement in Germany and secure a better future for our profession!

For the German readers we also want to share the link to the campaign video: https://buendnis-therapieberufe.de/

The writers of this blog entry are Kira (Blogger of SPOT) and Vera. Vera will shortly introduce herself to you:

I’m Vera, 24 years young, currently living in Osnabrueck. I am taking part in the bachelor’s program OT/PT at the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrueck. I consciously made the decision to study because of all the benefits it has for the health care. I am also very keen to promote the whole academization process. If there are any questions concerning the blog entry, please contact me via: ve**********@hs***********.de

Thank you

… for reading this far. This topic is very important for us students, especially because we live in a country where OT is not yet academized. Maybe you see similarities to your own country? It is a process, and we hope to someday achieve an international standard when it comes to OT. SPOT helps contribute to that because of you guys who are willing to connect with students in other countries and to broaden your horizons.

It is essential to think outside the box and work together internationally for OT to develop further in the future!

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