Employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations.
The increasing elderly population is estimated to drive growth in the demand for occupational therapy services according to the US Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase by 26 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for occupational therapists should continue to rise as a result of the increasing number of individuals with disabilities or limited function who require therapy services.
- Occupational therapists held about 104,500 jobs in 2008.
- Job opportunities include acute hospital, rehabilitation, and orthopedic settings.
- Occupational therapists with specialized knowledge in a treatment area also will have increased job prospects.
- Driver rehabilitation, training for the elderly, and ergonomic consulting are emerging practice areas for occupational therapy.
- The largest number of occupational therapist jobs was in ambulatory healthcare services, which employed about 29 percent of occupational therapists.
- Other major employers of occupational therapists are hospitals, offices of other health practitioners (including offices of occupational therapists), public and private educational services, and nursing care facilities.
- Occupational therapists receive above average salaries. The median salary was $66,780 in May 2008.
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Graduate Education Opportunities
While doctoral level programs in occupational therapy are available, some occupational therapists pursue doctoral degrees in other areas such as education and rehabilitation.