As described on the American Occupational Therapy Association website, occupational therapy helps people live life to its fullest. It does this by helping people of all ages who have sustained an illness, injury or some form of debilitation relearn the skills of daily living. By focusing on physical, psychological and social needs, OT helps people function at the highest possible level, concentrating on what's important to them to rebuild their health, independence and self-esteem. Occupational therapists are specially trained and credentialed in the field and rely on evidence-based best practices and science-driven data to constantly improve patient outcomes. In an era where consumers want to increasingly be empowered and maximize life's potential, more and more people are recognizing the value of occupational therapy and as a result the field is expected to grow significantly over the coming years.
Employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase much faster than average for all occupations and a shortage of occupational therapists is expected in the workplace through 2030. Occupational Therapy is consistently rated as one of the top 15 careers in a variety of reports including Forbes magazine 2019, Glassdoor 2019, and US News and World Report 2018.
Work settings include:
Occupational therapists work in all types of private, nonprofit and public settings including schools, job training services, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, and community health agencies.
Salaries vary depending on the work setting and on the region of the country. Information regarding the occupational therapy profession and current salaries is available from the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Post Graduate Opportunities
After graduation, students may elect to pursue a post-professional degree for advanced clinical skills, teaching, or research. A post-professional OTD (Doctor of Occupational Therapy) or DHS (Doctor of Health Sciences) prepares students for advanced clinical practice and for clinical teaching at the college level. A Ph.D., Ed.D., or other research intensive degree prepares students for post-professional teaching and for research.
Additionally, many post-professional opportunities are available through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) including the Emerging Leaders Development Program and board certification in Gerontology (BCG), Mental Health (BCMH), Pediatrics (BCP), Physical Rehabilitation (BCPR), Driving and Community Mobility (SCDCM), Environmental Modification (SCEM), Feeding, Eating, and Swallowing (SCFES), Low Vision (SCLV), and School Systems (SCSS).