If you are interested in a career that aids in addressing the vital importance of an individual’s psychological and physiological well-being, you should consider a career in occupational physical therapy.

While physical therapy is also a rewarding career, occupational therapy is a career that takes things a notch up. It will allow you to spend quality time with your patients and optimize their overall quality of life.

It requires understanding, sensitivity, and even compassion – all of the characteristics that most individuals in the healthcare industry value in the highest levels.

Continue reading to learn about this fascinating and highly-rewarding career. 

Occupational Therapist walking with patient
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What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a career field that specializes on the focus and treatment of patients that are recovering from a high range of maladies.

These may be physical, developmental, mental, and even emotional. In most instances, the maladies experienced have a direct impact on the patient’s ability to actively engage in and perform the activities of daily living.

The issues result in limitations to performing the activities that they value in their daily lives. 

What is the Goal of Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy helps individuals to fine-tune their fine and gross motor skills. It aids in improving the individual’s hand-eye coordination. It helps patients gain the strength and endurance needed to relearn how to do even the most basic of tasks – such as eating, personal hygiene, toileting, showering, and dressing.

The goal of occupational is simple; restore the independence of each patient and to ensure that their overall quality of life is enhanced. 

How Much Does an Occupational Physical Therapist Make?

The average salary of an occupational physical therapist ranks in at just over $84,000 each year. This averages out to be a tad over $40.00 per hour.

Based on information derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapists that work in nursing homes and other types of residential care facilities make the highest amount of money each year.

Additionally, those that work in the home health care industry do very well, in terms of income. 

What is the Career Outlook for Occupational Physical Therapists? 

From 2022 to 2030, employment in the field of occupational therapy is projected to grow approximately 17%. This is significantly higher and faster than most other types of physical therapy positions.

Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has concluded that there will be a demand for nearly 11,000 new therapists to enter the field. Occupational therapy is considered to be one of the fastest-growing of all careers. It will allow you to make a true difference in the lives of others and receive substantial pay.

Given the fact that occupational therapists are able to work in a wide assortment of settings, there will be consistent opportunities for work. 

Are Occupational Therapists in High Demand? 

Yes, the overall outlook associated with the demand for occupational therapists is very good. This is mostly due to the increase in the number of people in the aging population. Additionally, the rise of infections of various viruses and other types of illnesses that are currently being experienced in the world increases the demand.

Today, people of all ages are at a greater risk for developing a disease or experiencing a disability as a result of an injury. Many benefit immensely from the treatments issued by occupational physical therapists. 

What States Have the Highest Demand for Occupational Physical Therapists?

The states that have the highest demand for those in occupational physical therapy include the following: 

  1. Florida
  2. Colorado
  3. Texas
  4. California
  5. New Jersey
  6. Nevada
  7. New York

If you live in or near one of the above-listed states and hold a physical therapy certification/license, it is advised that you proceed academically in order to obtain a certification and license in occupational physical therapy. You are sure to discover numerous work opportunities and find that the position offers many unique benefits. 

Is Occupational Therapy Considered a Stable Career?

Yes, occupational therapy is considered to be a stable career. It is in high demand, there are many positions that may be pursued as an occupational therapist, and it pays relatively well.

Your salary and associated benefits will be impacted by the setting in which you work and the state where you perform the work, but overall, it is a highly-rewarding endeavor that you will not regret. 

Is Occupational Therapy a Highly Stressful Job? 

Based on information derived from the US News, in 2021, occupational therapy is on the Top 16 list that outlines the least stressful of all jobs available within the nation. While it is true that there may be factors that increase the stress level of working in occupational therapy, the fact that it is a meaningful opportunity that positively changes the lives of others makes it exceptionally rewarding.

Overall, the reward to stress ratio is very high.

If you have a true desire to help others, appreciate seeing the results of your work, and want to make a difference in the lives of others, occupational will be the perfect career for you and you will experience very little – if any – stress associated with the work that you perform.

What Type of Occupational Physical Therapy Jobs Pays the Most? 

Once you become an occupational physical therapist, you may advance to a director of rehabilitation, which pays – on average – over $90,000 each year. You will need to possess a Master’s Degree.

This position is often referred to as an “occupational therapy supervisor”.

In this position, you will be responsible for planning and directing occupational-based therapy services. Job duties will consist of optimizing the workflow of your team, recruitment, training, scheduling, financial management, and more. In most instances, you will be employed by a nursing home, a rehabilitation center, a clinic, and other types of similar facilities. 

OT Cares About Patients
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Why Do Physical Therapists Switch to Occupational Therapy? 

Occupational therapy is considered to be one of the most vibrant and fastest-growing of all professions. Physical therapists often switch to occupational therapy because it gives them the opportunity to work closely with people so that they may achieve being independent. It also helps patients live their lives to the absolute fullest.

You will work with people of all ages and of all walks of life. Each patient will experience improvement in their life after working directly with an occupational physical therapist.

If you are a person that loves people, has a high level of drive and empathy, and currently work in the physical therapy field, you should transition to the highly-rewarding position of occupational physical therapy. 

Are There Any Disadvantages to Working in Occupational Therapy?

There are very few disadvantages to working in occupational therapy. In some instances, it may be stressful, but that is only because the medical field – in general – carries some degree of stress.

It may prove to be a physically demanding job and you may end up working long hours or carrying large caseloads, but this is the case of most careers at this point in our nation’s history, given the spread of COVID-19 and labor shortages.

Additionally, you may find yourself disappointed at not achieving the results that you desire due to various types of institutional or insurance-related barriers.

Many may find frustration working in volume-driven facilities rather than value-driven facilities. Other than that, occupational physical therapy is a rewarding field. 

How is Occupational Physical Therapy Different Than Other Types of Physical Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a bit different in that it helps patients function optimally in all types of environments – be it at home, at work, in an educational setting, or simply within the community.

It focuses on very specific aspects of a patient’s well-being – including the cognitive, the emotional, AND the physical.

It works on a person as a whole, not as a part or a system. Occupational therapists believe that ALL aspects of a person work together in order to determine the value of life that they live.

It is not just focused on exercises or movements; it is a holistic approach to looking at life through all lenses. 

Is Occupational Physical Therapy Harder Than Skilled Nursing? 

No, occupational physical therapy is not as difficult as skilled nursing. Nurses have to deal with a wide range of stressors such as long hours, double shifts, lack of sleep, illnesses, injuries, and death. Occupational therapists generally work with those that have already experienced a malady and are in the recovery process. 

Join Our Network Now

If you currently work in physical therapy and are considering transitioning to occupational physical therapy, we here at Colorado Physical Therapy Network encourage you to join our comprehensive team of professionals in the industry. Not only will you get to connect to like-minded individuals, you will be provided with resources that are necessary to the overall success of your career. For more information on that which we offer to professionals just like you, contact us now by calling: 303-757-7004

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