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

    • $1,247 Weekly Pay
    • 16,700 workers Employment Size
    • Very strong Future Growth
    • Very high skill Skill level rating
    • Lower unemployment Unemployment
    • 61.5% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 32.9 hours Average full-time
    • 35 years Average age
    • 91.2% female Gender Share

    The number of Occupational Therapists grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow very strongly over the next 5 years:
    from 16,700 in 2017 to 21,200 by 2022.
    There are likely to be around 9,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created.

    • Size: This is a medium sized occupation.
    • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2017.
    • Location: Occupational Therapists work in many regions of Australia. Many work in Queensland.
    • Industries: Most work in Health Care and Social Assistance; Public Administration and Safety; and Education and Training.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
    • Full-time: Many work full-time (61.5%, similar to the all jobs average of 68.4%).
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 32.9 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 35 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
    • Gender: 91.2% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
    YearNumber of Workers
    20078100
    20087700
    200910200
    201010300
    20119800
    201210400
    201315400
    201411200
    201512200
    201613900
    201716700
    202221200

    Weekly Earnings

    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

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Assistance86.7
    Public Administration and Safety6.4
    Education and Training1.9
    Other Services1.7
    Other Industries3.3

    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 2017, 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
    NSW23.231.6
    VIC19.226.2
    QLD30.519.7
    SA9.36.7
    WA12.910.8
    TAS0.92.0
    NT1.91.1
    ACT2.11.8

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
    15-190.0-5.25.2
    20-247.3-9.99.9
    25-3438.2-23.623.6
    35-4432.1-21.721.7
    45-5417.0-20.820.8
    55-591.7-8.88.8
    60-643.2-6.06.0
    65 and Over0.4-4.04.0

    Education Level

    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.

    Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

    • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
    • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
    • You might be interested in Health Industry and Community Services VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

    The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    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.

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-1122.00 - Occupational Therapists.

    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

    These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

    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.

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-1122.00 - Occupational Therapists.

    go to top