Occupational therapists are allied health professionals who work with patients of all ages with varying types and severity of injuries or disabilities. They help their patients overcome the physical impairments that prevent them from performing activities/occupations of daily life. OTs evaluate and improve a patient’s functional abilities through a variety of treatment techniques and tools similar to physical therapists.
Occupational therapy is a physically demanding job, but it can also be rewarding because of the tremendous difference OTs can make in patients’ lives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth of 16% from 2019 to 2029 for OTs primarily due to an ever-growing aging population.
Occupational Therapist salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapists in staff positions earned $84,950 annually in May 2019. This salary works out to about $1,634 per week or $40.85 per hour when working 40 hours weekly.
During that same period, NurseFly data reported that top-earning travel occupational therapists made $2,212 weekly. This gross salary included additional compensations that staff therapists don’t receive. These compensations are tax-free and may include stipends for housing, meals, and other incidentals, but only travel allied healthcare professionals who can claim a permanent tax home receive these.
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Occupational Therapist FAQs
How Much Do Occupational Therapist Jobs Pay?
For jobs available on NurseFly as of Monday, October 26th 2020, the average weekly pay for Occupational Therapist jobs is $1,597, but can pay up to $2,057 per week. In 2020, Occupational Therapists jobs on Nursefly paid a gross average weekly pay of $1,619 per week working an average of 36 hours per week. This includes non-taxable compensation like living stipends, meal stipends, and housing which add up to an average value of $1,110 per week.
- min - $840
- avg - $1,597
- max - $2,057
What does an Occupational Therapist do?
OTs review patients’ medical histories, ask them questions, and observe them doing specific tasks to evaluate their unique conditions and needs. They develop individualized treatment plans and rehabilitative programs that match a patient’s specific goals and include the activities required to help them reach these goals. This may include acquiring or regaining the skills needed to perform certain everyday tasks. It also may include restoring or improving daily living, homemaking, and/or vocational skills and/or modifying tasks to overcome an individual’s barriers to leading a fully functioning life. OTs educate patients’ families and/or employers about caring for and accommodating the patient. They may recommend special adaptive equipment and show patients how to use it.
Where do Occupational Therapists work?
OTs work in a wide range of settings including public and private hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers, schools, nursing home facilities, prisons, mental health facilities, and the private offices of occupational, physical, and speech therapists. They may also work for home health agencies, private sensory gyms, social services departments, travel allied health agencies, and even in private homes.
What skills make a good Occupational Therapist?
Because occupational therapists have many things to manage, including appointments, patients’ goals, and meetings with other medical professionals, good organizational skills are a must. Creative problem-solving skills are also essential, because every patient has different problems, goals, concerns, and motivations that require unique strategies. Good OTs also have great oral communication to explain symptoms, procedures, and exercise programs and listening skills to address patients’ concerns and goals for treatment. Other key skills of top occupational therapists include patience, determination, enthusiasm, teamwork, and written communication.
How to become an Occupational Therapist Travel Nurse?
Occupational therapists must earn a bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s degree in occupational therapy from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. All states require licensing with requirements varying by state, but they all require passing the national examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. OTs wanting to demonstrate their advanced knowledge may also pursue specialty certifications through the American Occupational Therapy Association.