How to Become an Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapy is a health profession concerned with the promotion, maintenance, and restoration of the highest possible level of independence and optimal functioning of individuals. Through the use of occupation, occupational therapists promote health, wellness, and recovery. Occupational therapists work with individuals who have environmental barriers that can limit participation in daily life activities or interfere with their ability to adapt to changes in their environment.

What is an Occupational Therapist's Job?

As an occupational therapist, you'll help patients with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses to improve their functioning in daily life. You'll work with people of all ages, from newborns to the elderly. Occupational therapists typically work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and private practices.

Occupational Therapist Job Description

Occupational therapists are healthcare professionals who help people with physical and mental disabilities lead more independent lives. They work with patients of all ages to help them improve their performance in everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, cooking, and doing laundry. Occupational therapists also help patients improve their ability to function in school or at work.

You might find yourself assisting clients with daily living skills, or helping them to recover from an injury or illness. Occupational therapists often work closely with patients in hospitals or nursing homes, teaching them how to perform everyday activities such as eating and dressing while recovering from a medical condition.

Occupational therapists also help people who have suffered brain injuries or strokes by providing rehabilitation services such as physical therapy and education on how to use assistive devices like wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. Some occupational therapists also provide counseling for people suffering from mental illness as well as those with substance addictions.

Occupational Therapist Salary in Canada

The average occupational therapist income in Canada is $76,975 per year or $39.47 per hour, according to 2922 employers that advertise the position on Most experienced workers earn up to $88,698 per year, while entry-level roles start at $70,120.

Physiotherapy vs Occupational Therapy Salary 

The average salary for a physiotherapist is $84,000 per year, while the average salary for an occupational therapist is $62,000 per year. Why do physiotherapists make more money than occupational therapists? It’s simple: they work with patients who are sicker and have more severe injuries. Physiotherapists also have to complete their Master’s degree in order to be licensed and registered in Ontario, whereas most OTs only need a diploma or certificate.

How to Become an Occupational Therapist in Canada?

You can become an occupational therapist by completing the following qualifications:

  1. a bachelor's degree or master's degree in occupational therapy.
  2. a bachelor's degree in science, followed by a postgraduate certificate in occupational therapy.

Where do Occupational Therapists Work

Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings. Some examples include hospitals, clinics, schools, private practice, and even the home. Occupational therapists use their skills to help people with conditions such as:

  1. Learning disabilities
  2. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  3. Developmental disorders that affect gross motor skills (such as cerebral palsy) or fine motor skills (such as dystonia).

Occupational therapists ask the patient what activities they enjoy doing and what difficulties they have with those activities. They then develop a plan based on these findings to help improve function in daily life.

Are Occupational Therapists in High Demand?

Yes, occupational therapists are in high demand. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages, from newborns to the elderly. They provide assistance and treatment for patients who have disabilities or injuries that affect their ability to perform daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also help people recover after surgery or illness by teaching them how to use adaptive equipment so they can regain their independence at home or in other settings such as hospitals or long-term care facilities.

Occupational therapists who specialize in pediatrics treat children with developmental delays and other health problems; those who specialize in geriatrics work with elderly adults experiencing physical limitations or functional decline due to aging.

What is Occupational Therapy Assistant Job?

As an occupational therapy assistant, your job duties will include:

  1. Assisting the occupational therapist in delivering services.
  2. Preparing the patient for treatment and keeping a record of the treatment provided by the OT.
  3. Evaluating a patient's condition and formulating a plan for treatment with the OT's guidance.

Roles of Occupational Therapists in Hospitals

Occupational therapists are important members of the hospital staff. They assess patients and create treatment plans that help patients regain the skills they need to perform daily activities. Occupational therapists can also serve as patient advocates, making sure that patients are receiving the care they need. This section will explore some of the most common roles occupational therapists have in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

An occupational therapist's responsibilities in a hospital setting include assessing patients and creating treatment plans. Occupational therapists work with patients to determine their capabilities and limitations, then help them set goals for achieving independence. The therapeutic treatments they provide will be designed to address the specific needs of the individual patient, such as restoring function after surgery or strengthening muscles following an injury. In addition to this individualized approach, the occupational therapist will work with other members of the health care team to create a comprehensive treatment plan that can be integrated into daily activities outside of the hospital bedside so that patients can continue making progress at home after discharge from their medical stay.

An occupational therapist can also serve as a patient advocate. As an advocate, the occupational therapist works with other healthcare professionals to promote:

  1. Patient safety
  2. Patient comfort and independence
  3. Patient participation in treatment

Additionally, the role of an occupational therapist in a hospital is to provide therapy to patients who have suffered injuries or illnesses. These therapists help people recover the skills they need to perform daily activities, such as bathing and dressing. They also work with patients who are recovering from surgery, have chronic conditions like arthritis or heart disease, or have psychiatric disorders like depression. Occupational therapists work in many different settings including:

  1. Hospitals
  2. Senior care facilities
  3. Home health agencies

Role of Occupational Therapist in Mental Health

It may surprise you to learn that occupational therapists are often the first point of call for mental health services. This is because of the nature of the training involved in becoming an occupational therapist, and how this prepares us to interact with patients who have mental health concerns.


When looking for a job, you need to consider the things that are most important to you. If you want an occupation that will allow you to work with people and help them improve their lives, then it may be beneficial for you to consider becoming an occupational therapist.

If you are an occupational therapist already, make sure to create your free Caring Support account to find your next dream occupational therapist job!

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