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What You Need to Know About Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapist (OT) Job Description Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that help build or restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to persons with disabilities or developmental delays.

What Do Occupational Therapists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Train caregivers how to provide for the needs of a patient during and after therapy.
  • Lay out materials such as puzzles, scissors and eating utensils for use in therapy, and clean and repair these tools after therapy sessions.
  • Help clients improve decision making, abstract reasoning, memory, sequencing, coordination, and perceptual skills, using computer programs.
  • Develop and participate in health promotion programs, group activities, or discussions to promote client health, facilitate social adjustment, alleviate stress, and prevent physical or mental disability.
  • Conduct research in occupational therapy.
  • Select activities that will help individuals learn work and life-management skills within limits of their mental or physical capabilities.

Qualities of an Occupational Therapist (OT)

Occupational Therapists state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Types of Occupational Therapist (OT) Jobs

  • Vocational Trainer
  • Assistive Technology Trainer
  • Independent Living Specialist
  • Rehabilitation Engineer
  • Staff Therapist

Is There Going to be Demand for Occupational Therapists?

There were about 130,400 jobs for Occupational Therapist in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 23.8% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 31,000 new jobs for Occupational Therapist by 2026. The BLS estimates 10,200 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Occupational Therapists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Occupational Therapist (OT) are Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Kansas, Rhode Island, or Minnesota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of an Occupational Therapist (OT)

The average yearly salary of an Occupational Therapist (OT) ranges between $55,490 and $120,750.

Salary Ranges for Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapists who work in California, New Jersey, or Nevada, make the highest salaries.

How much do Occupational Therapists make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $83,810
Alaska $86,860
Arizona $94,800
Arkansas $81,810
California $95,160
Colorado $89,770
Connecticut $90,780
Delaware $86,020
District of Columbia $94,360
Florida $81,520
Georgia $82,060
Hawaii $83,010
Idaho $81,230
Illinois $83,940
Indiana $79,870
Iowa $80,740
Kansas $78,720
Kentucky $79,460
Louisiana $85,490
Maine $72,160
Maryland $89,230
Massachusetts $87,160
Michigan $77,940
Minnesota $74,050
Mississippi $81,590
Missouri $75,120
Montana $74,940
Nebraska $76,850
Nevada $100,970
New Hampshire $79,850
New Jersey $96,600
New Mexico $81,660
New York $88,370
North Carolina $84,390
North Dakota $67,420
Ohio $85,720
Oklahoma $82,240
Oregon $90,720
Pennsylvania $81,030
Rhode Island $83,600
South Carolina $78,470
South Dakota $69,390
Tennessee $84,870
Texas $89,360
Utah $85,300
Vermont $76,840
Virginia $93,010
Washington $81,250
West Virginia $81,080
Wisconsin $73,390
Wyoming $82,010

What Tools & Technology do Occupational Therapists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Occupational Therapists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Facebook
  • FileMaker Pro
  • Internet browser software
  • HMS
  • Screen reader software
  • Text to speech software
  • Screen magnification software
  • Speech recognition software
  • Bizmatics PrognoCIS EMR System
  • Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite
  • BillingTracker
  • Language arts educational software
  • Text scanning software
  • Math educational software

How do I Become an Occupational Therapist (OT)?

What education is needed to be an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational Therapist (OT) Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become an Occupational Therapist (OT)?

Occupational Therapist (OT) Work Experience

Occupational Therapists Sector

Occupational Therapist (OT) Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Occupational Therapists work:

Occupational Therapist (OT) Industries

Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming an Occupational Therapist might also be interested in the following careers:

Those who work as an Occupational Therapist sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:


Image Credit: Barbara E. Carver via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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