Start a Career as an Occupational Therapist

An occupational therapist helps somewhat invalid individuals of all ages to develop, recover, or maintain their needs for an independent life. They work with people who have physical, mental, developmental, or emotional disabilities.

The goal is to help patients achieve independence, enhance their quality of life, and participate in activities they find meaningful.


Training to Become an Occupational Therapist

To become an occupational therapist, one typically needs to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as psychology, biology, or health sciences. While some occupational therapy programs offer a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree, most require a separate bachelor’s degree for admission.

Enroll in an accredited occupational 2-3 years therapy program to earn a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) or Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree. These programs include coursework in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and occupational therapy theory and practice, as well as fieldwork experiences.

You must also complete the required fieldwork hours and pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam to be registered as a full therapist professional.


Obtain a license to practice in the state where you intend to work. Requirements vary by state, but they typically include passing the NBCOT exam and undergoing a background check.

Job Description for an Occupational Therapist

Patients engage in various therapeutic activities designed to improve their motor skills, cognitive abilities, and emotional well-being. Special equipment and the constructive use of daily activities are also common. OTs help patients improve, heal, and develop the skills they need for day-to-day work and life. They can provide patient care and emergency patient care on a long-term basis.

They also work on the following.

  • Conducting client physical and psychological evaluations and developing a treatment plan or following it.
  • Assessing customers’ home and work environments and determining what changes are needed.
  • Advising on specialized devices to facilitate daily activities for clients.
  • Developing services for physical therapy to help clients recover lost skills.
  • Help people with autism spectrum disorder learn social skills for school and work.

Average Salary of an Occupational Therapist

According to Money U.S. News, occupational therapists made a median salary of $83,200 in 2017. The best-paid 25 percent earned $100,320 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $67,970.

Job Prospects for an Occupational Therapist

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in this particular field is projected to grow 16% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the ocupational average. This growth is due in part to the aging baby boomer population.

Occupational therapists will be required as the country’s population ages to help the elderly stay independent in their homes and recover from the diseases and chronic conditions associated with aging.

After your education and training, you can apply for jobs with these websites.

  • IndeedIndeed is one of the leading job-searching platforms today.
  • Glassdoor Glassdoor helps you look for a job all over the world.

Practical occupational therapists are expected to complete continuing learning to retain their certification. Still, some OTs are seeking advanced education and training to gain additional qualifications in specialties such as driving and public mobility, environmental change, school systems, impaired vision, feeding, chewing, and swallowing.


Occupational therapists assist in educating patient caregivers and client family members, as well as helping to rehabilitate individuals to their former or new levels of functionality in the world.

This job can be very rewarding, as it focuses on improving the lives of others and making their experiences more doable. They also help evaluate client outcomes and advances in occupational therapy. For more therapy-related jobs, click here.

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