Occupational therapists are healthcare professionals who work with individuals of all ages to help them achieve their goals in daily activities, or occupations. They use a holistic approach to address the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social aspects of their clients’ lives, considering their unique needs and goals.
Occupational therapists help people perform activities that are essential to their daily lives, such as self-care, work, and leisure. They evaluate their clients’ abilities and limitations and work with them to develop personalized treatment plans. These plans can involve:
Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, rehabilitation centers, and private practices. They treat a range of conditions, such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, developmental disorders, and mental health issues.
Overall, occupational therapists help people overcome barriers and achieve their goals in daily life, promoting greater independence and quality of life.
The job outlook for occupational therapists is strong, with employment projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of occupational therapists is expected to grow 16% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The increasing demand for occupational therapists is due to several factors, including:
The aging population: As the baby boomer generation ages, there will be a growing need for occupational therapy services to help older adults maintain their independence and quality of life.
Advances in medical technology: Advances in medical technology have enabled more people to survive serious injuries or illnesses, but many of these individuals require ongoing therapy to regain their abilities to perform daily activities.
Increased awareness of the benefits of occupational therapy: More people are becoming aware of the benefits of occupational therapy, which can help individuals with a wide range of conditions to improve their quality of life.
Overall, the job outlook for occupational therapists is positive, with strong demand for their services expected to continue in the coming years. This makes occupational therapy an attractive career option for individuals who are interested in helping people achieve greater independence and quality of life.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational therapists held about 133,900 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of occupational therapists were as follows:
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||30%|
|Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists||26|
|Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private||12|
|Home healthcare services||8|
|Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities)||7|
Therapists may spend a lot of time on their feet while working with patients. They also may be required to lift and move patients or heavy equipment. Many occupational therapists work in multiple facilities and must travel from one job to another.
The salary expectations for occupational therapists (OTs) can vary depending on various factors such as geographic location, experience level, and work setting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for occupational therapists was $87,070 as of May 2020.
In terms of work setting, OTs working in nursing care facilities earned the highest median annual wage of $99,660, followed by home healthcare services with a median annual wage of $93,680. OTs working in outpatient care centers earned a median annual wage of $89,880, while those working in general medical and surgical hospitals earned a median annual wage of $87,130.
Experience can also affect an OT’s salary. Those with more experience and expertise in a particular area of occupational therapy may earn a higher salary than those who are just starting out in the field.
Overall, occupational therapists are well-compensated for their work as essential members of the healthcare team, helping patients improve their ability to perform daily activities and maintain their independence.
To become an Occupational Therapist (OT) in the United States, you typically need to earn a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy or a related field. However, some OT programs may accept students with a bachelor’s degree in another field if they have completed certain prerequisite courses.
Here are the general education requirements to become an Occupational Therapist:
Note that some states may have additional requirements beyond these general education requirements. It’s important to check the specific requirements for your state before pursuing a career in Occupational Therapy.
Go to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) for more licensing requirements.
Occupational therapists (OTs) can specialize in various areas of occupational therapy based on their interests and the needs of their patients. Here are some areas of specialization for occupational therapists:
Overall, occupational therapists work with individuals of all ages and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide patient care. They may also need to obtain additional certifications or licenses to specialize in certain areas of occupational therapy.
Occupational therapists can work in a wide variety of settings, depending on their area of specialization and interest. Some of the most common settings where occupational therapists work include:
Overall, occupational therapists can work in a variety of settings, depending on their interests and areas of expertise. This allows them to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals with a wide range of conditions and disabilities.