Job Outlook for Occupational Therapists, 2011 and Beyond

Occupational therapists may expect a very good job outlook for 2011 through at least 2018.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for occupational therapists will “grow much faster than average” through 2018. This is even better than it sounds, because in BLS-speak, “much faster than average” actually means that employment opportunities are expected to increase “20 percent or more.

All OTs can expect what the BLS describes as “good” as far as job opportunities go, which means that there will be about as many OTs looking for work as there are openings. An OT specializing in caring for the elderly will have a little less competition for open positions, according the BLS.

These statistics come from the Bureau’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011.

Quoting the employment outlook section of the 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 increasing elderly population will drive growth in the demand for occupational therapy services. 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. Older persons have an increased incidence of heart attack and stroke, which will spur demand for therapeutic services.”

OTs should be aware, however, that “growth may be dampened by the impact of Federal legislation imposing limits on reimbursement for therapy services.”

As for the salary you can expect to earn, the BLS’ Handbook reports that “[m]edian annual wages of occupational therapists were $66,780 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $55,090 and $81,290. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $98,310.”

The highest median OT salary were earned by those practicing in home healthcare services ($74,510), followed by those serving in nursing care facilities ($72,790). OTs working in elementary and secondary schools earned the lowest median salary, coming in at $60, 020.

If you’re ready to put your much-needed occupational therapy skills to good use, contact Centra Healthcare Solutions. Our clients in rehabilitation facilities all across the country are clamoring for your expertise. Contact us today!


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