Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working.
About half of occupational therapists work in offices of occupational therapy or in hospitals. Others work in schools, nursing homes, and home health services. Therapists spend a lot of time on their feet while working with patients.
How to Become an Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists typically have a master’s degree in occupational therapy. All states require occupational therapists to be licensed.
Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 27 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, autism, or the loss of a limb.
This occupation supported 113,200 jobs in 2012 and 114,600 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 1.2%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 29.1% in 2022 to 146,100 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 119,700, compared with an observed value of 114,600, 4.3% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 26.9% in 2024 to 145,100 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 152,600 jobs for 2024, 5.2% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.