Occupational Therapist

Overview and Key Facts

Occupational therapist with child

Education
Master's degree

Median Pay
$84,950

Job Growth
15.90%
(Above US Average)

Jobs in 2029
166,000

What Do They Do?

An occupational therapist could...

Overview
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Think of all the things you do as you go about your day, like putting on your shoes, buttoning your shirt, turning on a faucet, typing on a keyboard, going grocery shopping, picking up laundry, making a sandwich, or using a spoon. Now imagine trying to maintain your independence if an injury or illness made it difficult for you to use your hands, move your arms, or even walk. Occupational therapists are the healthcare providers who help people regain independence by developing or restoring their skills so they can continue functioning in their daily lives.
Occupational Therapist
Watch this video to meet Aki Funahashi, a pediatric occupational therapist who works with infants, children, and adolescents who have a wide range of challenges, including genetic disorders, autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and sensory processing disorders.

Do You Have the Skills and Characteristics of an Occupational Therapist?


  1. Service Orientation: ?
  2. Monitoring: ?
  3. Social Perceptiveness: ?
  4. Judgment and Decision Making: ?
  5. Active Listening: ?

Core Tasks

Think about if you'd like the typical tasks an Occupational Therapist might do:
  • Complete and maintain necessary records.
  • Test and evaluate patients' physical and mental abilities and analyze medical data to determine realistic rehabilitation goals for patients.
  • Train caregivers in providing for the needs of a patient during and after therapy.
  • Evaluate patients' progress and prepare reports that detail progress.
  • Plan, organize, and conduct occupational therapy programs in hospital, institutional, or community settings to help rehabilitate those impaired because of illness, injury or psychological or developmental problems.
  • Select activities that will help individuals learn work and life-management skills within limits of their mental or physical capabilities.
  • Recommend changes in patients' work or living environments, consistent with their needs and capabilities.
  • Design and create, or requisition, special supplies and equipment, such as splints, braces, and computer-aided adaptive equipment.
  • 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.
  • Consult with rehabilitation team to select activity programs or coordinate occupational therapy with other therapeutic activities.
  • 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.
  • Plan and implement programs and social activities to help patients learn work or school skills and adjust to handicaps.
  • Provide training and supervision in therapy techniques and objectives for students or nurses and other medical staff.
  • Conduct research in occupational therapy.
  • Advise on health risks in the workplace or on health-related transition to retirement.

Salary & Job Openings

Steps to Get There: Becoming an Occupational Therapist

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On the Job

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