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Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapists
Quick Facts : Occupational Therapists*
2010 Median Pay$72,320
Entry Level EducationMaster's degree
Work Experience in Related OccupationNone
Number of Jobs, 2012108,800
Job Outlook33% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change36,400

Occupational therapists treat patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. Therapists show patients how to use appropriate adaptive equipment, such as leg or knee braces, wheelchairs, and eating aids.

What Occupational Therapists Do

  • Establish a treatment plan for patients, laying out the types of activities and specific goals to be accomplished
  • Help people with various disabilities with different tasks, such as helping an older person with poor memory use a computer, or leading an autistic child in play activities
  • Demonstrate exercises that can help relieve pain for people with chronic conditions, such as joint stretches for arthritis sufferers
  • Evaluate a patient's home or workplace and identify how it can be better suited to the patient's health needs
  • Recommend special equipment, such as wheelchairs and eating aids, and instruct patients how to use that equipment

Work Environment

Occupational therapists held about 108,800 jobs in 2010. Forty-eight percent of occupational therapists worked in offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologist or hospitals. Others worked in schools, nursing homes, and home health services.
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Job Outlook

Employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase 33 percent from 2010 to 2020 because occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities.
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In May 2010, the average salary of occupational therapists was $72,320.
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Occupational Therapists*
Average Annual Salary, May 2010

Occupational Therapists


Healthcare Occupations


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Occupational Therapists*
Percent Change in Employment

Occupational Therapists


Healthcare Occupations


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Becoming a Occupational Therapists

Most occupational therapists enter the occupation with a master's degree in occupational therapy. A small number of programs offer doctoral degrees in occupational therapy. Occupational therapists must also be licensed.
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