One of the most in-demand healthcare fields, careers in occupational therapy offer job security, attractive salaries, and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives every day.
Ranked 10 in the best healthcare jobs by U.S. News and World Report, occupational therapy helps patients develop, learn, and grow in their capacity to individually handle day-to-day tasks so they can live independent and fulfilling lives.
An occupational therapist (OT) is trained in therapeutic and rehabilitative approaches that improve an individual's ability to perform activities (occupations). They evaluate and treat motor, sensory, emotional, and neurological deficits after an illness, injury, or trauma.
OT careers have been on the rise partly due to the health needs of a growing elderly population. And, there's actual data to back up such claims. Such data goes to show that occupational therapy career outlook is highly positive. Let's find out more about this profession so you can make an informed decision.
Career Outlook for Occupational Therapy
The field of occupational therapy has two types of practitioners: occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. And demand for both roles in occupational therapy is growing significantly.
For Occupational Therapy Assistants
For occupational therapy assistants, the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the projected percentage growth in employment from 2019 to 2029 will be 32%. (To put that in perspective, the national average is 4%.)
In Michigan, demand for occupational therapy assistants is in line with the national average.
For Occupational Therapists
For occupational therapists, the BLS predicts that the projected percentage growth in employment from 2019 to 2029 will be 16%, much faster growth than average.
In Michigan specifically, occupational therapists are in slightly higher demand than the national average.
What’s Driving the Growth?
This is partly because of an aging population that wants to maintain their independence and mobility. There are also increasing numbers of people with medical conditions that hinder them from performing day-to-day tasks.
In coming years, there will be an increased need for OT professionals specializing in a particular form of care such as feeding, eating, and swallowing, pediatrics, mental health, environmental modification, orthopedics & injuries, driving & mobility rehabilitation, ergonomics, and so on.
Is Occupational Therapy a Good Career?
Occupational therapy is constantly listed as one of the best healthcare jobs, and for good reasons:
Employment Outlook for Occupational Therapy Careers
First off, OT has an incredibly positive job outlook in terms of demand and employability.
The issues that require OT as treatment are increasing with each passing day, meaning the demand for OT professionals keeps getting higher, which also guarantees job security. Occupational therapists can also work in various settings, including hospitals, schools, rehab centers, nursing homes, physician offices, mental health facilities, home health centers, etc.
Earning Potential for Occupational Therapy Careers
Registered occupational therapists (OTRs) are among the best-paid professionals in the job market, with their median salary at $86,280 per year.
The salary for occupational therapy assistants is also high at a median of $60,950 per year.
Finding Fulfillment in Occupational Therapy
Those in occupational therapy work with people at their most vulnerable, helping them perform everyday activities and generally improve their quality of life. Needless to say, jobs in occupational therapy are quite fulfilling.
This, together with the job security and attractive salaries, makes it an industry that’s high in job satisfaction.
Become an Occupational Therapist in Michigan
There are two levels of licensure for OT professionals in the state of Michigan: Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) and Occupational Therapist (OT).
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
To become a COTA, you must earn an associate's degree in an OT-related field from an AOTA or ACOTE accredited school. Next is to fulfill the clinical work requirement, which is at least two months of OT work while being supervised by a licensed OT.
You'll then need to take and pass the NBCOT (National Board of Occupational Therapists) COTA examination to be able to apply for a Michigan state license, which the Michigan Board of Occupational Therapists issues.
If you want to be an occupational therapist, you must first obtain a master's degree in OT from an AOTA or ACOTE accredited school, then perform at least six months of OT work under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist.
You'll then need to take and pass the NBCOT OTR examination before you can apply for a Michigan state license, which the Michigan Board of Occupational Therapists also issues.
No Better Time to Join the Occupational Therapy Industry
If you’re considering joining the occupational therapy industry, there’s no better time than the present.
Getting started is as easy as requesting information and speaking to an admissions counselor to get more details on program options, scholarships available and start dates.