Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Occupational Therapists

What Occupational Therapists Do

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.

Work Environment

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.

Job Outlook

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.

Growth & Trends

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.

Occupational Therapists Employment and Labor Information 2023

Occupational Therapists Employment Brief:

Assess, plan, and organize 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. Use therapeutic techniques, adapt the individual's environment, teach skills, and modify specific tasks that present barriers to the individual.

Occupational Therapists Job Description

Here is a Job Description an employer might post for potential Occupational Therapists.

Occupational Therapists Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Train caregivers in providing for the needs of a patient during and after therapy.
  • Provide patients with assistance in locating or holding jobs.
  • 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.
  • Provide training and supervision in therapy techniques and objectives for students or nurses and other medical staff.
  • Recommend changes in patients' work or living environments, consistent with their needs and capabilities.
  • Complete and maintain necessary records.
  • Select activities that will help individuals learn work and life-management skills within limits of their mental or physical capabilities.
  • Lay out materials such as puzzles, scissors and eating utensils for use in therapy, and clean and repair these tools after therapy sessions.
  • Design and create, or requisition, special supplies and equipment, such as splints, braces, and computer-aided adaptive equipment.

Typical Daily Tasks of Occupational Therapists:

  • Documenting/Recording Information: Prepare reports summarizing patient diagnostic or care activities. Record patient medical histories.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others.
  • Getting Information: Conduct research to increase knowledge about medical issues.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work.

Occupational Therapists Skills and Requirements:

  • SpreadsheetsUsing a computer application to enter, manipulate, and format text and numerical data; insert, delete, and manipulate cells, rows, and columns; and create and save worksheets, charts, and graphs.
  • Quality Control Analysis Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Negotiation Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Operations Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Persuasion Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • NavigationUsing scroll bars, a mouse, and dialog boxes to work within the computer's operating system. Being able to access and switch between applications and files of interest.
  • Management of Material Resources Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
  • GraphicsWorking with pictures in graphics programs or other applications, including creating simple graphics, manipulating the appearance, and inserting graphics into other programs.

Occupational Therapists Education and Training:

Typical education for include: Master's degree.

Occupational Therapists Salary, Wages, and Salary and Job Outlook

Occupational Therapists average pay is: $44.8 per hour according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employees who work in Home Health Care Services are the highest paid making $50.82, while Elementary and Secondary Schools make the least at $39.94 per hour.Here are the top city/metro areas with the highest paying salaries for a Occupational Therapists:


Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

Employment per thousand jobs

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA




San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA




Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA




Santa Rosa, CA




Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA



0.78 Occupational Therapists data