Occupational Therapist Career

occupational-therapist-500Occupational therapists help patients with physical limitations due to disability, illness, or injury. They help people learn to complete every day tasks, such as eating, putting on clothes, and maintaining personal hygiene. Ultimately, the goal of occupational therapy is to improve the conditions of people’s everyday lives.

Occupational therapy involves a great many components. Sometimes, occupational therapists may visit workplaces to see how they can be more accommodating to people with disabilities. At other times, they may work with parents of disabled children to see how the physical layout of the home may further encourage independence. Ultimately, occupational therapy involves so many tasks that two people may have very different experiences of the same career.

Occupational Therapist Career Snapshot

Many occupational therapists are employed by schools, hospitals, or nursing homes. Others maintain private practices or provide home based healthcare. Although they generally work a 40 hour work week, some may be asked to work on weekends or holidays as required by patients.

Further details on a career as an Occupational Therapist are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly salary for occupational therapists.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Master’s degree, 19% have a Bachelor’s degree.

Occupational Therapist Education

In order to work as an occupational therapist, you will most need a master’s degree; some occupational therapists also complete doctoral programs. To begin work, you will need to pass a licensing exam and have worked in a clinic.

Occupational Therapist Job Duties

On any given day as an occupational therapist, you may find yourself helping an arthritic patient gain a broader range of motion, teach a child how to use a wheelchair, help someone who is paralyzed dress herself, or teach someone with mental health problems time management techniques. The specific tasks you are called upon to perform will depend largely on the setting in which you are employed, and if you are interested in the career, you should think about which tasks are most appealing to you.

Occupational Therapist Job Outlook

The demand for occupational therapists is growing at a much faster than average rate of 27 percent. There were 114,600 occupational therapists in the United States in 2014, and the number is expected to rise as the Baby Boomer generation ages.

Occupational Therapist Salaries

The median salary for an occupational therapist was $80,150 in May 2015 according to the BLS.gov. The bottom 10 percent of occupational therapists earned $53,250 or less, while the top 10 percent made $116,030 or more.

Occupational Therapist Skills & Traits

Occupational Therapist Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Occupational Therapists:Typical Work Activities:
• Monitoring
• Service Orientation
• Active Listening
• Critical Thinking
• Decision Making
• Problem Sensitivity
• Deductive Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Oral Comprehension
• Adaptive communication switches
• Therapeutic balls
• Pressure care garments
• Visual presenters
• Caring for others
• Making decisions
• Solving problems
• Communicating with others
• Recording information

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