Occupational Therapists assess functional limitations of people resulting from illnesses and disabilities, and provide therapy to enable people to perform their daily activities and occupations.

A Bachelor Degree or higher is usually needed to work in this job. Registration or licensing is required.

Tasks

  • assessing clients' emotional, psychological, developmental and physical capabilities using clinical observations and standardised tests
  • assessing clients' functional potential in their home, leisure, work and school environments, and recommending environmental adaptations to maximise their performance
  • planning and directing programs through the use of vocational, recreational, remedial, social and educational activities on an individual and group basis
  • providing advice to family members, carers, employers and teachers about adapting clients' home, leisure, work and school environments
  • providing adaptive equipment, such as wheel chairs and splints, to assist clients to overcome their functional limitations
  • working with other Health Professionals in overall case management of clients
  • working with other professionals in providing specialist advice to specific client groups such as those requiring driver rehabilitation, third-party compensation and medico-legal representation
  • recording clients' progress and maintaining professional relationships in accordance with relevant legislative requirements and ethical guidelines

Job Titles

  • Occupational Therapist

    Fast Facts

    • Avg. Weekly Pay

      $1,247 Before Tax
    • Future Growth

      very strong
    • Skill Level

      Bachelor Degree or higher
    • Employment Size

      16600
    • Unemployment

      below average
    • Male Share

      4.6%
    • Female Share

      95.4%
    • Full-Time Share

      62.1%

    Find Vacancies

    This is a medium sized occupation employing 16,600 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
    Very strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 5,001 and 10,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

    • Occupational Therapists work in most parts of Australia.
    • They mainly work in: Health Care and Social Assistance; Public Administration and Safety; and Education and Training.
    • Full-time work is fairly common. Full-time workers, on average, work 33.6 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
    • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,247 per week (similar to the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • The workforce is fairly young. The average age is 35 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
    • More than 9 in 10 workers are female.
    • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
    YearNumber of Workers
    20057100
    20067300
    20078600
    20089900
    20098500
    201010400
    201110800
    201212500
    201312700
    201411600
    201516600
    202020600

    Weekly Earnings

    Full-time Earnings

    All Jobs Average

    Weekly Earnings (before tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
    EarningsOccupational TherapistsAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings12471230

    Hours

    Weekly Hours Worked

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
    CategoryOccupational TherapistsAll Jobs Average
    Full-time62.168.4
    Part-time37.931.6
    Average Weekly Hours (full-time)33.640

    Main Industries

    Top Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Health Care and Social Assistance83.8
    Public Administration and Safety13
    Education and Training1.7
    Other Services1.1
    Other Industries0.4

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateOccupational TherapistsAll Jobs Average
    NSW31.231.8
    VIC24.725.5
    QLD24.119.8
    SA3.36.8
    WA8.511.2
    TAS3.22
    NT2.71.1
    ACT2.41.8

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketOccupational TherapistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-190-5.45.4
    20-249.4-9.99.9
    25-3441-23.423.4
    35-4425.3-21.721.7
    45-5412.8-21.121.1
    55-595-8.78.7
    60-645.9-5.95.9
    65 and Over0.5-3.83.8

    Gender

    Male Share

    Female Share

    Gender (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    CategoryOccupational TherapistsCategoryAll Jobs Average
    Males4.6Males53.6
    Females95.4Females46.4

    Education Level

    Top Education Levels

    Highest Level of Education (% share)

    Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
    Type of QualificationOccupational TherapistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate17.6-8.68.6
    Bachelor degree82.4-17.917.9
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma0-10.110.1
    Certificate III/IV0-18.918.9
    Year 120-18.718.7
    Years 11 & 100-17.717.7
    Below Year 100-8.18.1

    A Bachelor Degree or higher is usually needed to work in this job. Registration or licensing is required.

    If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
    The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

    It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

    Employers look for Occupational Therapists who are mature, professional, and efficient and can solve problems.

    Knowledge

    The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

    1. Psychology

      92% Important

      Human behaviour and performance; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioural and affective disorders.

    2. Therapy and Counseling

      92% Important

      Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.

    3. Medicine and Dentistry

      86% Important

      Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

    4. Education and Training

      83% Important

      Teaching and course design.

    5. English Language

      82% Important

      English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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    Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

    Activities

    The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

    1. Assisting and Caring for Others

      95% Important

      Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support to people such as co-workers, customers, or patients.

    2. Making Decisions and Solving Problems

      91% Important

      Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

    3. Documenting/Recording Information

      90% Important

      Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

    4. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

      90% Important

      Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

    5. Getting Information

      89% Important

      Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

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    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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