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Summary Report for:
29-1122.00 - Occupational Therapists

Assess, plan, organize, and participate in 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.

Sample of reported job titles: Assistive Technology Trainer, Early Intervention Occupational Therapist, Industrial Rehabilitation Consultant, Occupational Therapist (OT), Occupational Therapy Co-Director, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Registered Occupational Therapist, Rehabilitation Supervisor, Staff Occupational Therapist, Staff Therapist

Also see: Low Vision Therapists, Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and Vision Rehabilitation Therapists

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • 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 how to provide 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.
  • Plan and implement programs and social activities to help patients learn work or school skills and adjust to handicaps.
  • Help clients improve decision making, abstract reasoning, memory, sequencing, coordination, and perceptual skills, using computer programs.
  • 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.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Adaptive communication switches for the physically challenged — Computer switch interfaces; Switch use tools; Wobble switches
  • Braille devices for the physically challenged — Braille printers
  • Computer mouse or trackballs — Trackballs
  • Cutlery or utensils for the physically challenged — Adaptive cutlery
  • Domestic electric knives — Electric knives
  • Domestic sewing machines — Sewing machines
  • Drilling machines — Drill presses
  • Electronic blood pressure units
  • Gait belts for rehabilitation or therapy — Gait and transfer belts
  • Game pads or joy sticks — Joy sticks
  • Goniometers
  • Hand held camcorders or video cameras — Video cameras
  • Hand looms — Looms
  • Headpointers or mouthsticks for the physically challenged — Tongue switches
  • Keyboards — Alternative computer keyboards
  • Medical acoustic stethoscope or accessory — Mechanical stethoscopes
  • Mercury blood pressure units — Manual blood pressure cuffs
  • Mill saw file — Single-cut mill saw files
  • Notebook computers — Laptop computers
  • Orthopedic splint systems — Splints
  • Orthotics or foot care products — Orthotics
  • Patient care beds or accessories for general use — Adjustable beds
  • Patient ceiling hoists — Hoists
  • Patient lifts or accessories — Lift chairs
  • Patient scooters — Scooters
  • Personal computers
  • Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA
  • Power drills
  • Power sanders
  • Pulleys or accessories for rehabilitation or therapy — Pulleys
  • Resistive exercise bands or putty or tubing or accessories for rehabilitation or therapy — Resistive exercise bands
  • Saws
  • Scanners — Portable scanning pens
  • Soldering iron — Soldering irons
  • Therapeutic balls or accessories — Exercise balls
  • Touch pads — Trackpads
  • Tracer or duplicating or contouring lathe — Lathes
  • Vascular or compression apparel or support — Pressure care garments
  • Visual presenters — Video magnifiers
  • Voice synthesizers for the physically challenged — Voice output communication aids
  • Walkers or rollators — Wheeled walkers
  • Weights or sets or accessories for rehabilitation or therapy — Weights
  • Wheelchairs — Electric wheelchairs

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Accounting software — BillingTracker
  • Computer based training software — Language arts educational software; Special education educational software; Text reader software; Text to speech software (see all 8 examples)
  • Data base user interface and query software — FileMaker Pro Hot technology
  • Device drivers or system software — Screen magnification software; Screen reader software
  • Electronic mail software — Email software
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Computer drawing software; Mayer-Johnson Boardmaker
  • Internet browser software — Synapse Adaptive Connect Outloud
  • Medical software — Casamba Smart; HMS; Lexrotech LxPediatric; Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite
  • Music or sound editing software — Music software
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office
  • Optical character reader OCR or scanning software — Duxbury Braille Translator; Text scanning software
  • Pattern design software — Tactile graphic production kits software
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Voice recognition software — Speech recognition software
  • Word processing software — Crick Software Clicker 4; Microsoft Word; OpenOffice WRITER

Hot technology Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.

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Knowledge

  • Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

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Skills

  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • 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.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
  • Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

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Abilities

  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.

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Work Activities

  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Record patient medical histories.
  • Analyze patient data to determine patient needs or treatment goals.
  • Evaluate patient functioning, capabilities, or health.
  • Train caregivers or other non-medical personnel.
  • Monitor patient progress or responses to treatments.
  • Prepare reports summarizing patient diagnostic or care activities.
  • Design public or employee health programs.
  • Direct healthcare delivery programs.
  • Develop treatment plans that use non-medical therapies.
  • Provide health and wellness advice to patients, program participants, or caregivers.
  • Design medical devices or appliances.
  • Fabricate medical devices.
  • Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
  • Clean medical equipment or facilities.
  • Prepare medical supplies or equipment for use.
  • Supervise patient care personnel.
  • Train medical providers.
  • Conduct research to increase knowledge about medical issues.
  • Advise communities or institutions regarding health or safety issues.
  • Encourage patients or clients to develop life skills.

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 95% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 81% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Physical Proximity — 86% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 90% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail — 76% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections — 67% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 62% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 62% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 57% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 48% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 52% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Letters and Memos — 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 48% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 43% responded “Very important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 52% responded “Important results.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 52% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 29% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Consequence of Error — 29% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 48% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 62% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 29% responded “Fairly important.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 33% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 62% responded “40 hours.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 43% responded “About half the time.”

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
Related Experience Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
Job Training Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, surgeons, and veterinarians.
SVP Range (8.0 and above)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
71   Master's degree
19   Bachelor's degree
5   Professional degree Help

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: SI

  • Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Styles

  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2015) $38.54 hourly, $80,150 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2014) 115,000 employees
Projected growth (2014-2024) Much faster than average (14% or higher) Much faster than average (14% or higher)
Projected job openings (2014-2024) 52,600
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2014)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data external site and 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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