What can you do with a doctor of occupational therapy degree?

Career options in occupational therapy

Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 17 percent from 2020-2030, which is much father than average of other professions. In 2020, there were 131,600 occupational therapist jobs, and about 10,100 openings are expected each year between 2020-2030. The median wage for occupational therapists in 2020 was $86,280.

So, what can I do with a doctor of occupational therapy degree? Here are answers to some questions you might be thinking about if you’re considering a career in occupational therapy.

  1. How does occupational therapy rank in comparison to other health care professions?
  2. Where do occupational therapists work?
  3. What are the key practice areas of occupational therapy?
  4. How can occupational therapists specialize?

How does occupational therapy rank in comparison to other health care professions?

According to U.S. News & World Report:

Where do occupational therapists work?

The American Occupational Therapy Association 2019 Workforce and Salary Survey report found that nearly half of occupational therapists work in hospital or school settings. See the full setting breakdown below.

Hospital (non-mental health): 28.6% Includes acute, inpatient, hospice, hospital-based outpatient, neonatal intensive care unit, rehabilitation hospital or unit
School: 18.8% Includes public or private school system or transitional program for students
Long-term care or skilled nursing facility: 14.5% Includes hospital subacute unit or LTC or SNF with or without skilled beds
Freestanding outpatient: 13.3% Includes comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facility, physician/optomestrist office, private practice, and not-for-profit agency
Home health: 7.3% Includes home health agency or mobile treatment team/home care
Academia: 6.9% Includes college or university
Early Intervention: 4.4% Includes early intervention program or pediatric daycare program
Community: 2.4% Includes adult care program, group home, low vision program, prevention/wellness program, or senior care
Mental Health: 2.2% Includes freestanding or hospital-based behavioral health, partial hospitalized program, or mental health day program
Other: 1.6% Includes driving program, industrial rehabilitation, work program, or sheltered workshop

What are the key practice areas of occupational therapy?

The American Occupational Therapy Association has identified six key practice areas for the 21st century. The occupational therapy practice course series within the DMU OTD curriculum focuses on each of these so that students are prepared to provide occupational therapy evaluation and intervention within these practice areas.

  • Children and Youth
  • Health and Wellness
  • Mental Health
  • Productive Aging
  • Rehabilitation and Disability
  • Work and Industry

How can occupational therapists specialize?

Occupational therapists may choose to specialize in a particular area of practice based upon needs, skills, and interests. These might include trainings, certifications, and advanced practice experience. Within the DMU OTD curriculum, students will be exposed to a variety of specialty practice areas. Students will have the opportunity to design their research projects and capstone experience and project within a specialty area of practice if that aligns with their professional goals. Some category examples include:

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