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Top 15 Occupational Therapy Degree Jobs

By Ammar Ahmed

Published:

Secured an Occupational Therapy degree, but finding it tough to figure out your career path? The job market can seem daunting, and this uncertainty can cloud your vision, causing anxiety and stress.

Fret no more; our insightful article serves as your compass. We’ve highlighted the top 15 lucrative and rewarding professions perfectly suited for your occupational therapy degree, pointing you in the right direction.

Let’s explore these options:

  • Pediatric Occupational Therapist
  • University Professor in Occupational Therapy
  • Case Manager
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Healthcare Information Technology Manager
  • Hand Therapist
  • Corporate Wellness Consultant
  • Clinical Liaison
  • Health Administrator
  • School Consultant
  • Occupational Therapy Consultant
  • Health Improvement Practitioner
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Sports Therapist
  • Rehab Specialist
degree guide occupational therapy

1. Pediatric Occupational Therapist


If you hold an Occupational Therapy degree and have a passion for working with children, pursuing a career as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist could be an excellent fit for you.

As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Your primary role involves providing therapeutic services to children with a variety of conditions, challenges, or disabilities. Leveraging your Occupational Therapy expertise, you assist in developing children’s cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. You collaborate with families and other healthcare professionals to create and implement individualized therapy plans that enable children to participate fully in daily activities.

Benefits

  • Personal Connection: The nature of therapy often allows you to build meaningful relationships with patients and their families.
  • Fulfilling Impact: As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, you directly improve children’s lives by helping them develop essential life skills, which can be profoundly rewarding.
  • High Demand: Occupational therapy services for children are consistently needed, ensuring stable job prospects.
  • Professional Development: Regular training and seminars keep you updated on the latest practices and research, promoting continuous professional development.

Working Conditions

As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, you’ll likely work in various settings like hospitals, schools, or private homes. Your work schedule can be traditional 9-5, but flexibility might be required depending on the patient’s needs. Your work involves direct, hands-on engagement with children, requiring patience and physical stamina. Keep in mind, emotional resilience is essential as progress can be gradual and challenging.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree or Doctorate in Occupational Therapy: While a bachelor’s degree is a starting point, many roles require a master’s or doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy. These programs often provide more specialized coursework and practical experience in pediatrics.
  • Specialized Pediatric Occupational Therapy Courses:  Some professionals choose to deepen their knowledge with further education in pediatric-specific areas, such as sensory integration or pediatric feeding. Certifications like the Specialty Certification in Pediatric Practice offered by the American Occupational Therapy Association can be pursued.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for a Pediatric Occupational Therapist position should possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills for dealing with children and their families. They must exhibit patience, creativity, and empathy to connect with children and tailor treatments to their needs. A strong understanding of child development, flexibility in approach, problem-solving abilities, and hands-on practical skills are also vital.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($100,308)
  • Job Outlook (14%)

The median annual pay for pediatric occupational therapists is $100,308. As this occupation falls under the category of occupational therapists, you can expect a similar job outlook which is projected to grow by 14% till 2031. This growth may be driven by the increasing need for occupational therapy services for children with various disabilities, and illnesses, or those who have had surgery. The demand for pediatric occupational therapists in schools, hospitals, and patient homes is expected to contribute to this growth.


2. University Professor in Occupational Therapy


Becoming a university professor in occupational therapy can be a rewarding career path. As a professor, you have the opportunity to shape the next generation of occupational therapists, contribute to research in the field, and participate in collegiate academic life.

As a University Professor in Occupational Therapy

Your role involves teaching occupational therapy students, developing course materials, supervising student research, and conducting your own research. You may contribute to the broader academic community by serving on committees, participating in academic conferences, and engaging in ongoing professional development. Your work, ultimately, helps prepare future occupational therapists to provide high-quality patient care and advance the field of occupational therapy.

Benefits

  • Academic Influence: Shape the minds of future occupational therapists and contribute to their professional development.
  • Networking: Engage with the academic community, building valuable connections and collaborations.
  • Academic Freedom: Enjoy the freedom to explore your areas of interest in the field of occupational therapy.
  • Flexible Schedule: While teaching and research responsibilities can be intense, they often offer flexibility not always found in clinical roles.

Working Conditions

As a University Professor in Occupational Therapy, you’ll primarily work in an academic setting—classrooms, labs, and offices. Your hours, while often flexible, can be long, especially during research projects or grading periods. Traveling for conferences may occasionally disrupt your routine. Expect a blend of solo work, like research and planning, and interactive sessions with students, both in formal classes and one-on-one mentorships.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy: This is often the next step after a bachelor’s degree. This advanced education should be complemented by clinical practice experience.
  • Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) or Ph.D. in a related field: While not always required, many universities prefer to hire professors with doctoral degrees. An OTD focuses more on advanced clinical practice, while a Ph.D. often emphasizes research skills.
  • Teaching Experience: While not a formal course or certification, universities often prefer candidates with experience. Gain experience in teaching, whether that’s as a teaching assistant during your graduate studies or as a part-time professor.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for a University Professor in an Occupational Therapy position should possess excellent communication skills, both for delivering engaging lectures and for writing clear, impactful research.

They need a thorough knowledge of occupational therapy principles and techniques, alongside a commitment to continuous learning. Skills in research, data analysis, and critical thinking are crucial. Patience, empathy, and mentorship abilities are equally important for guiding and inspiring students.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($100,941)
  • Job Outlook (12%)

The median annual salary for occupational therapy professors is $100,941 per year. In terms of academia, the demand for professors in occupational therapy is also expected to be high.

With increasing recognition of the value of occupational therapy services, more students are expected to seek degrees in this field, which would require more faculty members. The BLS predicts a growth rate of 12% between 2021 and 2031, faster than the average.

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3. Case Manager


In this role, you are an essential link between patients, care providers, and health systems. You ensure that each patient’s healthcare journey is as smooth and efficient as possible, while always considering their unique needs and goals.

As a Case Manager

You oversee and coordinate comprehensive care plans for patients, particularly those with complex healthcare needs. You assess patients’ medical and social needs, devise and implement personalized care plans, and monitor patients’ progress. You also liaise between patients, their families, and healthcare professionals, ensuring open communication and understanding of care processes.

Your role is vital in assisting patients to navigate through the healthcare system, advocating for their needs, promoting health and wellness, and optimizing resource utilization.

Benefits

  • Transferable Skills: The skills and experience gained can be transferred to other roles within the healthcare sector.
  • Employability: Case managers are in demand across various healthcare settings, enhancing your job prospects.
  • Advocacy Role: You play a key role in advocating for patients’ needs, rights, and best interests within complex healthcare systems.
  • Problem-Solving Opportunities: The role provides many opportunities to employ critical thinking and problem-solving skills to overcome challenging scenarios.

Working Conditions

As a Case Manager, you’ll often work in fast-paced healthcare settings like hospitals, rehab centers, or outpatient clinics. Your hours may be traditional, but on-call and weekend shifts may be necessary depending on the employer’s needs. This role involves a lot of communication with various stakeholders, requiring meticulous organization and attention to detail.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy or Social Work: To strengthen your skills and knowledge as a Case Manager, a master’s degree in these fields is beneficial. These programs may require prerequisites such as courses in behavioral sciences, gerontology, or disability studies.
  • Certification in Case Management: Certifications like the Certified Case Manager (CCM) or the Case Management Administrator Certification (CMAC) can increase your employability and credibility. Each certification program may have specific educational and experience requirements.
  • Additional Training in Healthcare Administration: Courses or certifications in healthcare administration can provide you with the skills needed to navigate healthcare systems and advocate for patients. This could include courses on:

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong Case Manager should possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as they liaise between patients, healthcare professionals, and insurance companies. An analytical mind is vital for assessing patients’ needs and coordinating appropriate care. They should also have problem-solving skills to navigate complex healthcare systems and strong organizational abilities to manage multiple cases simultaneously. Familiarity with healthcare laws and policies is a plus.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($91,533)
  • Job Outlook (28%)

On average, case managers earn  $91,533 per year. The job outlook is quite positive as the  Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 28% growth for medical and health services managers. As healthcare becomes increasingly complex and the population ages, the demand for case managers in healthcare is expected to rise.


4. Occupational Therapist


An occupational therapist (OT) is a rewarding profession for those with a relevant occupational therapy degree and license. As an OT, you work to improve the life skills and overall functionality of patients with physical, mental, or developmental conditions, aiding them in performing everyday activities to the best of their abilities.

As an Occupational Therapist

You design and implement therapeutic interventions to help people live as independently as possible. This includes assessing a patient’s physical and mental health status, developing individualized treatment plans, providing therapy for coping with daily activities, and recommending adaptive equipment.

You also educate patients and their families about how to accommodate and manage conditions to improve their quality of life. Collaboration with other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive care is a key part of your role. You are also expected to monitor a patient’s progress and adjust treatment plans as necessary.

Benefits

  • Holistic Approach: Occupational therapy provides a chance to employ a holistic approach, addressing the physical, psychological, and social needs of individuals, offering a comprehensive perspective on healthcare.
  • Creativity in Practice: Each patient requires a unique treatment plan, allowing occupational therapists to use their creativity and problem-solving skills to adapt activities and environments to the individual’s needs.
  • Diverse Settings: Occupational therapists work in a variety of environments, allowing for diverse career paths.
  • Competitive Salary: The profession comes with a competitive salary, providing financial stability and the potential for growth with experience and specialization.

Working Conditions

As an occupational therapist, you’ll typically work full-time in well-lit and comfortable settings like hospitals, schools, or patients’ homes. Your schedule might include weekends or evenings to accommodate clients’ needs. The job can be physically demanding as you’ll be on your feet most of the time, helping patients with exercises or movements.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree or Doctorate in Occupational Therapy:  In the United States, it’s required to obtain either a master’s or doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy from an ACOTE-accredited institution. These programs typically involve comprehensive coursework and extensive supervised clinical experiences.Common prerequisites often include coursework in biology, anatomy, physiology, psychology, and statistics. Some programs may also require work or volunteer experience in an occupational therapy setting.
  • Fieldwork: As part of the master’s or doctorate program, you will have to complete a significant amount of supervised fieldwork. This gives you practical, hands-on experience with patients in various settings.
  • Licensure: After graduation, you will need to pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam to become a licensed occupational therapist. The specifics of licensure may vary by state, so check your local requirements.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for an occupational therapist position exhibits excellent communication and interpersonal skills, allowing them to understand and effectively respond to patients’ needs. They demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities to adapt treatments for individual clients. They are patient, empathetic, and able to motivate and encourage clients during challenging therapies. Strong observational skills and physical stamina are also vital.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($85,570)
  • Job Outlook (14%)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), occupational therapists earn an annual median salary of $85,570. The BLS also predicts a 14% growth in employment opportunities for occupational therapists from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by the aging baby-boom population, the rise in chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity, and medical advancements that allow patients with critical conditions to survive, who will then need rehabilitative care.

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5. Healthcare Information Technology Manager


For individuals with an Occupational Therapy degree and an interest in technology, becoming a Healthcare Information Technology (IT) Manager could be an exciting career path.

As a Healthcare Information Technology Manager

As a Healthcare IT Manager, you’ll manage technology systems handling patient data in healthcare facilities. You’ll implement and maintain information systems, ensure data security, coordinate upgrades, and troubleshoot issues. Additionally, you’ll train staff on new protocols. With your Occupational Therapy background, you’ll use your clinical and patient care understanding to develop efficient IT systems, playing a critical role in enhancing healthcare operations.

Benefits

  • Bridging Two Fields: Combining your knowledge in occupational therapy with IT, you can make a significant impact on patient care through technology.
  • Competitive Salary: With a specialized set of skills, you can expect a competitive salary as a Healthcare IT Manager.
  • Innovation: It’s an exciting field where you can contribute to the latest innovations in healthcare technology.
  • Impactful Work: You can directly contribute to improving patient care and the overall efficiency of healthcare delivery.
  • Career Growth: There is significant potential for career advancement, with options to move into higher managerial or executive roles within healthcare IT.

Working Conditions

As a Healthcare Information Technology Manager, you’ll likely work in an office environment within a healthcare facility, such as a hospital or clinic. Full-time work is standard, often exceeding 40 hours per week. Sometimes, you may have to be on-call to handle any emergencies that may arise outside regular office hours. The role involves coordinating with multiple departments, which requires adaptability.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree: A graduate degree in Health Informatics, Healthcare Administration, or Information Systems Management is a good foundation for HIT management. Some programs require IT or management prerequisites, but many are open to students from a variety of backgrounds. You should contact programs for specific prerequisites. However, some prerequisites you may need to take include Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, etc.
  • Certifications: After earning a master’s degree, it may be useful to pursue professional certifications. These can be vital for gaining specialized knowledge and distinguishing oneself in the job market. Options could include:

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

As a Healthcare Information Technology Manager, your technical skills, understanding of healthcare systems, and leadership abilities are crucial. You should be proficient in health informatics, data analysis, and IT infrastructure. Knowledge of healthcare laws and regulations, strong problem-solving skills, ability to manage teams, and excellent communication skills to liaison between medical and IT departments are also essential.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($104,537)
  • Job Outlook (16%)

The median annual wage for Healthcare Information Technology Managers is $104,537.

The job outlook for information technology managers in the healthcare sector is promising, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 16% growth in the field over the next decade. This growth is being driven by the increasing demand for healthcare services as the population ages, as well as the need for better data collection and management in the healthcare industry.

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6. Hand Therapist


Occupational Therapy graduates with an interest in specialized care can pursue a career as a Hand Therapist. This role allows you to focus on restoring function and alleviating pain in patients’ hands and upper extremities.s.

As a Hand Therapist

Your primary responsibility is to assess, treat, and rehabilitate conditions related to the hand and upper extremities. From fractures and dislocations to repetitive stress injuries and post-surgical rehabilitation, you’ll devise and implement therapeutic interventions. This includes exercises for strength and flexibility, manual therapy, wound care, and even educating patients on how to prevent future injuries.

Benefits

  • Specialized Practice: Your work directly impacts patients’ quality of life, making it highly satisfying and rewarding.
  • Diverse Patient Populations: Work with patients across all age groups, from children to the elderly.
  • Recognition and Respect: Being a specialist, you enjoy a high level of professional respect.
  • Flexibility: Many hand therapists can set their own hours or work part-time.
  • Networking: Frequent interaction with other healthcare professionals.
  • Financial Reward: Specialists often earn more than their generalist counterparts.

Working Conditions

As a Hand Therapist, you could work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, or private practices. You will work closely with orthopedic surgeons, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and patients, often managing individual treatment plans. This role requires a comprehensive understanding of hand anatomy, conditions, treatments, and rehabilitative strategies. Your work will be both physically and intellectually demanding but also rewarding as you play a key role in a patient’s recovery and quality of life.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree: Earn a master’s degree in occupational therapy (MOT) or physical therapy (DPT). These programs provide a deeper understanding of the field and often allow for specialization in areas such as hand and upper extremity therapy.
  • Certification: The Hand Therapy Certification Commission offers a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) credential, which is often required or preferred by employers. To be eligible for the certification exam, you must have at least three years of clinical experience as an Occupational Therapist, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

Strong candidates for the role of Hand Therapist are highly skilled in physical rehabilitation, especially pertaining to the hands and upper limbs. They demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills, patience, and empathy to work effectively with patients. Their analytical skills and attention to detail are crucial in assessing patient conditions and monitoring progress. Adaptability is key to working with a diverse patient population.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($83,215)
  • Job Outlook (14%)

Hand therapists earn an annual average salary of $83,215. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Occupational Therapists, which includes Hand Therapists, is projected to grow 14% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

This growth is largely driven by the aging population that will require these kinds of therapy services, as well as the growing awareness and recognition of the benefits of specialized therapy for hand and upper limb conditions. This indicates strong potential job opportunities for aspiring hand therapists.


7. Corporate Wellness Consultant


Occupational Therapy degree and a desire to promote health and well-being in the corporate world? Consider becoming a Corporate Wellness Consultant and create healthier work environments that boost productivity and morale.

As a Corporate Wellness Consultant

You are expected to design and implement wellness strategies in businesses. You assess the needs of employees, conduct wellness workshops and health screenings, and advise on physical fitness, stress management, and proper nutrition.

You plan initiatives such as wellness fairs and competitions, educate employees on healthy habits and behaviors, and work with management to create a healthier work environment. Your role plays a crucial part in reducing healthcare costs, improving productivity, and creating a healthier, happier workforce.

Benefits

  • Influence Corporate Culture: You can play a vital role in cultivating a culture of health and wellness in workplaces, affecting corporate strategies and employee satisfaction.
  • Flexible Work Environment: Depending on your employer, you might enjoy flexible hours and even remote work opportunities.
  • Increase Corporate Productivity: Your work directly influences the overall productivity of a company by improving employee health and reducing sick leaves.
  • Highly Interactive Role: If you enjoy interacting with people, this role will have you working closely with employees of various backgrounds.

Working Conditions

As a Corporate Wellness Consultant, your work environment can be quite diverse, ranging from offices to remote work settings. You will be collaborating closely with business leaders, HR professionals, and employees of various levels, requiring strong interpersonal and communication skills. Your role may also involve travel, as you may need to visit client sites to better understand their work environment and needs. 

Further Studies

  • Master’s in Public Health or Wellness Management: These programs deepen understanding of wellness program development and implementation in corporate settings. Some programs may prefer candidates with coursework in public health or health promotion from their bachelor’s degree.
  • Certifications: Professional certifications can demonstrate your specialized knowledge and skills in corporate wellness. Options might include:
    • Certified Wellness Program Coordinator (CWPC)
    • Certified Wellness Program Director (CWPD)
    • Certified Worksite Wellness Specialist (CWWS)

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

An effective Corporate Wellness Consultant possesses strong communication and interpersonal skills to interact with diverse employees, an understanding of health promotion strategies, knowledge of wellness program design, and implementation skills. They also require good analytical abilities to assess program efficacy and adaptability to modify programs based on evolving wellness trends and employees’ needs.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($79,185)
  • Job Outlook (12%)

The salary for a Corporate Wellness Consultant can vary significantly based on experience, location, and company size. On average, they earn $79,185 per year. The job outlook is positive due to the growing corporate interest in employee wellness, which can improve productivity, reduce absenteeism, and enhance job satisfaction. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 12% growth rate by 2031. This trend is likely to continue as the importance of work-life balance and employee well-being grows.


8. Clinical Liaison


As a Clinical Liaison, you serve as the bridge between medical professionals, patients, and healthcare institutions. Your crucial role is to ensure effective communication and collaboration among these parties.

As a Clinical Liaison

Your responsibilities include discussing patient care plans with medical staff, explaining complex medical procedures and treatment plans to patients and their families, and coordinating patient admissions and discharges. You may also handle administrative tasks, such as insurance verifications, scheduling appointments, and maintaining patient records.

Healthcare organizations expect you to facilitate the seamless integration of their services to meet patients’ healthcare needs optimally.

Benefits

  • Increase in Demand: The need for effective coordination in healthcare is growing, leading to increased job opportunities.
  • Patient Advocacy: You have the opportunity to advocate for patients, ensuring they receive optimal care and understand their treatment plans.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Work with a diverse team of healthcare professionals, fostering a dynamic work environment.
  • Management Skills: The role often includes administrative tasks, enhancing your management abilities.

Working Conditions

Clinical Liaisons work in diverse settings like hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes, often during standard office hours but may involve occasional nights and weekends. The role includes both desk-based tasks and regular interaction with patients and healthcare professionals, requiring communication skills and adaptability. Conditions can be stressful due to dealing with complex medical situations and meeting healthcare targets.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration or Business Administration: This degree can provide you with the managerial and administrative skills necessary for a Clinical Liaison role. Courses in healthcare law, ethics, and financial management are often included.
  • Certifications: Depending upon the specific area you want to work in, certifications relevant to that field (like geriatrics, pediatrics, mental health) can enhance your credibility and specialized knowledge.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong Clinical Liaison candidate must have excellent communication skills to interface between patients, healthcare providers, and insurance companies. They should possess a deep understanding of healthcare systems and medical terminology. Strong problem-solving abilities, attention to detail, and the capacity to work under pressure are crucial. Familiarity with insurance policies and healthcare regulations is also valuable.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($73,514)

A Clinical Liaison’s median annual salary in the U.S. is approximately $73,514, though this can vary depending on experience, location, and the specific healthcare sector. The job outlook for Clinical Liaisons is generally positive. However, there are no official statistics available for this occupation


9. Health Administrator


A Health Administrator is a rewarding career for those with a degree in Occupational Therapy and further studies or experience in healthcare administration.

As a Health Administrator

In your role as a Health Administrator, you manage the operations and services of a healthcare facility. Your tasks may include managing finances, planning budgets, hiring and training staff, ensuring compliance with healthcare laws and regulations, and improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare services. Your role is crucial in making healthcare facilities more accessible, affordable, and effective for patients.

Benefits

  • Leadership Role: Steers the course of a healthcare organization, shaping policies and procedures that impact patient care.
  • Broad Impact: Your decisions can impact the health and wellness of large communities, not just individual patients.
  • Variety in Work: No two days are the same, with a variety of challenges and tasks keeping the role interesting.
  • Job Security: The healthcare industry is one of the most stable, providing reliable job security.

Working Conditions

As a Health Administrator, you’ll likely work in an office environment within a healthcare setting like a hospital or clinic. Typically, full-time hours are expected, but due to the nature of healthcare, extended hours and on-call duties might be part of your role. Balancing various responsibilities such as budgeting, staffing, strategic planning, and coordinating services is crucial to your role.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration or Related Field: This advanced degree usually covers topics such as health services organization and delivery, health informatics, quality management, health policy and law, and healthcare financial management.
  • Certifications: Consider obtaining a certification like the Certified Healthcare Executive (CHE) or Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). These demonstrate your expertise and commitment to the profession.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

Strong leadership and organizational skills are crucial for a Health Administrator. You need proficiency in decision-making and problem-solving to manage complex healthcare systems effectively. Additionally, excellent communication skills are necessary to liaise with various healthcare professionals, patients, and stakeholders. Familiarity with health laws and regulations, coupled with a robust understanding of healthcare economics and information systems, strengthens your candidacy.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($64,806)
  • Job Outlook (28%)

The median annual wage for healthcare administrators is $64,806. The job outlook for medical and health services managers, including health administrators, is positive based on the data by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data shows an expected growth rate of 28% from 2021-2031. The advances in medical technology and shifts toward electronic health records and healthcare informatics will likely contribute to the demand for knowledgeable healthcare administrators.


10. School Consultant


Being a school consultant, particularly in the domain of occupational therapy, is a rewarding career. You bring your expertise to bear in educational settings, improving the learning environment and outcomes for students with a range of physical, developmental, and learning disabilities.

As a School Consultant

You use your expertise in Occupational Therapy to help schools create environments that promote successful learning for all students. You assess and provide recommendations on school policies, design inclusive educational strategies, help integrate students with special needs, and provide professional development for educators on occupational therapy principles.

Employers expect you to play a crucial role in fostering an inclusive and conducive learning environment, enhancing student success, and supporting the well-being of students.

Benefits

  • Collaboration Opportunities: Work closely with teachers, parents, and other professionals, leading to enriched professional relationships.
  • Policy Influence: Influence school policies and programs, shaping the learning landscape for diverse student populations.
  • Skill Utilization: Apply and deepen your occupational therapy skills in a unique and impactful context.
  • Fulfillment: Experience the reward and satisfaction of making a difference in students’ lives.

Working Conditions

As a School Consultant, you typically work within educational environments during school hours, providing a structured work schedule. Your workplace can vary between classrooms, offices, or meeting rooms. Expect frequent interaction with educators, parents, and students. Travel between schools may be necessary, and workload can increase during the planning or implementation of new initiatives.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy or Special Education: A master’s degree provides more specialized knowledge and can increase job opportunities. Some roles may require a master’s degree, especially those in leadership or consulting.
  • Certification in School-Based Practice: The American Occupational Therapy Association offers a “School Systems Specialty Certification” which validates specialized knowledge and experience in this area.
  • State Licensure: Depending on the regulations of the state you plan to work in, additional licensure may be required. In many states, school-based therapists must have both their occupational therapy license and a state-issued education or school services credential.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

Strong interpersonal and communication skills are essential for a School Consultant, as you’ll interact with teachers, parents, and students. Knowledge of educational systems, combined with critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and experience in occupational therapy can help identify and implement effective strategies. Patience, empathy, and understanding of diverse learning needs are also crucial in this role.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($69,943)
  • Job Outlook (10%)

The average salary for a School Consultant in the United States is around $69,943. The job outlook for this field is promising, as schools increasingly recognize the need for expert consultation to improve educational outcomes and inclusivity. Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the expected growth rate is 10% from 2021 – 2031.


11. Occupational Therapy Consultant


As a consultant, you share your expertise with various organizations, developing effective strategies and interventions to promote individuals’ functional capabilities and well-being.

As an Occupational Therapy Consultant

You work primarily with businesses, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions, providing expert advice on occupational therapy strategies. Your job includes evaluating clients’ needs, creating tailored intervention programs, training staff, and contributing to policy and process development.

Additionally, you play a significant role in promoting inclusivity and accessibility in various environments. You use your specialized knowledge to help clients maximize their potential, whether it’s enhancing work productivity, facilitating learning, or improving daily life activities.

Benefits

  • Greater Impact: Influence larger systems and policies, thereby helping more individuals benefit from occupational therapy.
  • Professional Development: Constantly learn, grow, and stay updated with the latest trends and innovations in the field of occupational therapy.
  • Financial Growth: Potential for higher earnings compared to traditional occupational therapy roles due to specialized consulting services.
  • Flexibility: Often have the flexibility to choose projects and clients, allowing for a better work-life balance.
  • Independent Practice: Ability to establish your own consulting firm, offering increased autonomy and control over your career.
  • Career Longevity: Consultancy can offer a longer career span with less physical demand compared to traditional occupational therapy roles.

Working Conditions

As an Occupational Therapy Consultant, you might work in various settings such as offices, healthcare facilities, or schools. You could enjoy flexible work hours, although you may occasionally work overtime to meet clients’ needs. Travel might be involved to assess different environments. Balancing your time between client meetings, assessments, and report preparation is crucial in this role.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy: To become an Occupational Therapy Consultant, a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy is often necessary. This degree provides in-depth knowledge of the field and prepares you for consultant roles.
  • Certification and Licensure: All practicing Occupational Therapists in the US are required to be licensed. For this, you must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.
  • Certification in a Specialty Area: Depending on your area of interest, you might consider getting certified in a specialty area like geriatrics, pediatrics, mental health, or hand therapy. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) offers board and specialty certifications in various areas.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

An Occupational Therapy Consultant requires strong clinical knowledge, excellent communication, and interpersonal skills to guide clients and teams. They need problem-solving abilities to create individualized therapy strategies. Organizational skills, critical thinking, and the ability to adapt are also key. Being empathetic and patient can help in effectively working with diverse patient groups.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($67,668)

The average salary for an Occupational Therapy Consultant in the US was around $67,668 per year.  The role falls under the occupational therapists’ category as per the BLS, thus anticipating parallel growth. This is largely due to the aging population and increased demand for therapeutic services. With healthcare practices and models constantly evolving, consultants who can provide specialized expertise will continue to be in high demand.


12. Health Improvement Practitioner


As a health improvement practitioner, you play a significant role in promoting health, preventing disease, and improving the quality of care delivered to patients and communities.

As a Health Improvement Practitioner

You implement health improvement strategies and promote lifestyle changes to enhance the overall well-being of individuals and communities. You assess health risks, provide education and resources for disease prevention and health promotion, and advocate for healthier environments.

You also collaborate with various healthcare professionals, community organizations, and public health agencies to develop and implement comprehensive health improvement programs. Employers expect you to have a strong impact on reducing health disparities and improving health outcomes across various populations and settings.

Benefits

  • Respect and Recognition: As an occupational therapy practitioner specializing in health improvement, you play a vital role in promoting health and preventing disease, earning you respect in the healthcare and public health sectors.
  • Holistic Health Impact: You have the ability to create change at individual, community, and population levels, influencing holistic health outcomes.
  • Job Satisfaction: Seeing tangible improvements in the health of individuals and communities can provide immense job satisfaction.
  • Advocacy: You have the opportunity to advocate for health policies and initiatives that can bring about significant societal changes.

Working Conditions

Health Improvement Practitioners typically work in office settings, planning health programs, analyzing data, and coordinating with various stakeholders. They may spend considerable time on computers, conducting research, and managing databases. 

Fieldwork may involve visits to community centers, schools, or other public settings to implement health initiatives, facilitate workshops, or gather data.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree: Consider pursuing a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) or a related degree, focusing on health promotion, community health, or health education. These programs provide the necessary skills to analyze and address public health issues, conduct health assessments, and plan and evaluate health improvement programs. Admission requirements vary by institution, but some programs may require courses in biology, psychology, statistics, and social sciences.
  • Certifications: Gaining certification as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) or Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) can enhance your qualifications. These certifications, offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, validate your competency in health education and promotion.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for a Health Improvement Practitioner role should have excellent communication skills for effective health education, analytical abilities for assessing health needs, and problem-solving skills to develop and implement health improvement strategies. Empathy and cultural competency are important for understanding diverse populations, while strong teamwork skills are essential for collaborating with various health professionals and community stakeholders.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($61,722)

A health improvement practitioner earns a handsome salary of $61,722 per year. Although we were unable to find official data, you can anticipate a job outlook similar to that of occupational therapists. This growth is driven by initiatives to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare expenses by educating people about healthy habits and behaviors.


13. Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist


This is another exciting career path for people with occupational therapy degrees.

As a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist

You work with clients on an individual basis to understand their physical and mental challenges and devise strategies to overcome these barriers to employment. You perform job analyses to determine suitable roles, provide career counseling, and facilitate skills training.

Moreover, you collaborate with employers to accommodate people with disabilities in the workplace, creating a more inclusive work environment. You serve as an advocate, therapist, and consultant in this critical role, directly impacting the lives of many individuals and contributing positively to society.

Benefits

  • Fulfilling Career: The role allows you to make a significant impact on people’s lives, helping them regain their independence and return to work.
  • Diverse Clientele: You’ll work with a wide range of clients, each with unique circumstances, offering varied and interesting workdays.
  • Applied Therapy Knowledge: You can put your Occupational Therapy degree to direct use, applying therapeutic interventions to assist individuals.
  • Flexibility: This role often offers flexibility with schedules and work locations, with opportunities to work in various settings such as rehabilitation centers, schools, or government agencies.
  • Job Security: As the understanding and acceptance of disability inclusion in the workforce grows, the demand for Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists continues to rise, offering stable career prospects.

Working Conditions

As a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist, you’d work in a variety of settings like rehab centers, schools, or government agencies. It often involves fieldwork, visiting clients’ workplaces to assess adaptability. The role may demand flexibility with schedules due to client needs. Your work environment could be dynamic and multifaceted, requiring a blend of desk work and on-site visits.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree: A Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Occupational Therapy, or a related field, focusing on vocational rehabilitation, is often recommended and in some cases required. Admission to these programs typically requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field, like Occupational Therapy, so a Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy would be acceptable.
  • Certification: A key certification for Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists in the United States is the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential. To be eligible for the CRC exam, candidates must hold a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a closely related field from an accredited institution, and complete specific coursework related to rehabilitation counseling and an internship.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

Strong interpersonal skills are crucial for a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist to effectively communicate with clients and build trust. Good problem-solving abilities are needed to create customized rehabilitation plans. Knowledge of disability laws and vocational training programs is also important. Lastly, patience and compassion are key traits for helping clients overcome personal and vocational challenges.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($50,650)
  • Job Outlook (11%)

The median annual wage for rehabilitation counselors, which includes Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists, is about $50,650 per year.  Employment of rehabilitation counselors is projected to grow 11% from 2021 to 2031 as per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This is due to the increasing recognition of the need for such services for individuals with disabilities or injuries. Moreover, societal efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities into the general workforce further increase the need for vocational rehabilitation specialists.


14. Sports Therapist


If you have a keen interest in sports and a desire to support athletic performance, this might be a fitting career path for you.

As a Sports Therapist

Your primary responsibility is to guide athletes in preventing injuries and to assist in their recovery should an injury occur. You will design and implement therapeutic interventions tailored to the specific needs of athletes, including exercises for strength, mobility, and coordination. You may also be involved in pain management, stress relief, and mental well-being, which are vital for optimal performance in sports.

Benefits

  • Important Role in Sports Teams: You can play a significant role in a sports team’s success by keeping athletes healthy and performing at their peak.
  • Active Work Environment: Enjoy a dynamic and active work environment, far from the typical desk job.
  • Impact on Athletes’ Careers: Your work can have a direct impact on the longevity and success of athletes’ careers.
  • Developing Specialized Skills: Gain specialized skills in sports-related therapy, enhancing your professional portfolio.

Working Conditions

As a Sports Therapist, you will work in diverse settings such as sports teams, fitness centers, rehabilitation clinics, or even private practice. This role involves close collaboration with athletes, coaches, and healthcare professionals. Your work will be both physically and intellectually demanding, requiring an understanding of various sports, injury mechanisms, and therapeutic techniques. You may also need to travel frequently with sports teams or athletes.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree: A Master’s degree in Athletic Training, Sports Medicine, or a related field would provide you with more specialized knowledge in treating and preventing sports injuries. These programs typically accept students with a Bachelor’s degree in a related healthcare field, such as Occupational Therapy. However, some programs might require prerequisite coursework in areas like anatomy, physiology, or kinesiology. It is advisable to check with specific programs for their admission requirements.
  • Certification: Depending on the state and the specific role, certification may be required. For instance, the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (BOC) offers a Certified Athletic Trainer credential. To be eligible, you need to have a degree from a CAATE-accredited Athletic Training program and pass the BOC exam.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

Strong candidates for a Sports Therapist position should have excellent interpersonal and communication skills to build trust with clients. They should also have a deep understanding of the human body, particularly the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. Hands-on skills for physical manipulation and massage, a good sense of empathy, patience, and a proactive approach towards learning about the latest in sports injury management are also beneficial.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($53,248)
  • Job Outlook (17%)

On average sports therapists earn a median pay of $53,248 per year. In terms of job outlook, employment of athletic trainers is projected to grow 17% by 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations based on the data by BLS

This growth is driven by people becoming more aware of sports-related injuries and the role of sports therapy in prevention and treatment. Demand is also expected to increase as people continue to remain active later in life.


15. Rehab Specialist


As a rehab specialist, you play a crucial role in the recovery and reintegration of individuals who have been physically or mentally impaired due to illness, injury, or disability.

As a Rehabilitation Specialist

You evaluate patients’ functional abilities, design and implement therapeutic rehabilitation programs, provide interventions to improve daily living skills, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to optimize patient care.

You also educate patients and their families on therapeutic techniques, adaptive equipment, and strategies for managing conditions. Employers expect you to facilitate the recovery of your patients, help them regain their independence, and improve their quality of life. This role is pivotal across various healthcare settings, from hospitals to home healthcare, serving individuals of all ages.

Benefits

  • Inspirational Impact: As a rehabilitation specialist, you have the power to change lives, help individuals regain independence, and inspire hope in patients and their families.
  • Personal Growth: The profession fosters empathy, patience, and strong interpersonal skills, contributing to personal growth and development.
  • Job Security: The demand for rehabilitation specialists is growing, especially with the aging population and the increased prevalence of chronic diseases.
  • Direct Impact: The ability to see direct results from your work as patients improve, regain abilities, and return to their daily activities can be exceptionally rewarding.

Working Conditions

As a rehabilitation specialist, you may work in varied settings like hospitals, outpatient clinics, or patients’ homes. Your work schedule may include standard business hours, with occasional evenings or weekends. The role can be physically demanding as you assist patients with exercises and movements, but the environment is generally well-lit and comfortable.

Further Studies

  • Master’s or Doctoral Degree: To practice as a rehabilitation specialist, you may need to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in Rehabilitation Science or a closely related field. This program will provide advanced knowledge in therapeutic intervention strategies, clinical decision-making, and research methods. Each institution has its own prerequisites, but commonly required coursework includes biology, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and psychology. Some programs may also require or prefer experience in a related field, such as volunteer work or an internship in rehabilitation services.
  • Licensure: While requirements can vary by state, most require rehabilitation specialists to be licensed or certified. This often involves passing a state-administered examination after completing your degree program.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for a rehabilitation specialist position should have excellent interpersonal and communication skills to effectively interact with patients and their families. They should have good problem-solving skills to create individualized treatment plans, and empathy to understand patients’ experiences. Physical stamina for hands-on therapy and a commitment to ongoing learning to stay updated with therapeutic advancements are also essential.

Salary Range & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($46,793)
  • Job Outlook (11%)

The salary can vary based on factors such as location, experience, and specialization. However, the estimated pay for a rehabilitation specialist is $46,793 per year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment for rehabilitation counselors is projected to grow 11% from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by the demand for rehabilitation counseling services in healthcare settings, and the need to help those with disabilities live more independently.

Making the Right Career Choice

To wrap up, we have explored an extensive range of top occupational therapy degree jobs, each with its own unique appeal and advantages. Whether it’s in a school, a clinical setting, or a community-based program, the options are both broad and varied.

When choosing the right career, a few practical tips can go a long way. Reflect on your personal strengths and interests, compare the job growth and salary prospects, and factor in lifestyle considerations. Above all, ensure that the job aligns with your career ambitions and passion for helping others.

Remember, this article is more than just an overview. It’s a comprehensive guide, designed to provide essential information about each occupation to help you find the right career. Use it as your roadmap to navigate your career journey, and make the decision that leads you to a fulfilling occupational therapy career.


Ammar Ahmed

About the Author

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