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 in occupational therapy is needed to work as an Occupational Therapist. Some Occupational Therapists complete postgraduate studies.

    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

    All Occupational Therapists

    • $1,569 Weekly Pay
    • Strong Future Growth
    • Lower unemployment Unemployment
    • 17,500 workers Employment Size
    • Very high skill Skill level rating
    • 58% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 41 hours Average full-time
    • 34 years Average age
    • 92% female Gender Share

    The number of people working as Occupational Therapists (in their main job) grew strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years:
    from 17,500 in 2018 to 20,000 by 2023.
    Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
    There are likely to be around 7,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 1,400 a year).

    • Size: This is a medium sized occupation.
    • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2018.
    • Location: Occupational Therapists work in many regions of Australia.
    • Industries: Most work in Health Care and Social Assistance; Public Administration and Safety; and Education and Training.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,569 per week (similar to the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • Full-time: More than half work full-time (58%, similar to the average of 66%), but there are many opportunities to work part-time.
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 41 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 34 years (compared to the average of 40 years).
    • Gender: 92% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

    Employers in regional areas found it hard to fill vacancies for Occupational Therapists in 2018. Find out more in the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business latest report on Occupational Therapists.

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
    YearNumber of Workers
    20087700
    200910300
    201010400
    20119800
    201210900
    201315500
    201411100
    201511300
    201613100
    201717500
    201817500
    202320000

    Weekly Earnings

    Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. 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 Earnings15691460

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, 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 Safety6.5
    Education and Training3.1
    Professional, Scientific and Technical Services0.9
    Other Industries2.8

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateOccupational TherapistsAll Jobs Average
    NSW29.731.6
    VIC24.525.6
    QLD20.020.0
    SA8.17.0
    WA13.410.8
    TAS1.92.0
    NT1.01.0
    ACT1.61.9

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketOccupational TherapistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-190.0-5.05.0
    20-2410.4-9.39.3
    25-3442.2-22.922.9
    35-4425.4-22.022.0
    45-5414.3-21.621.6
    55-594.4-9.09.0
    60-642.3-6.06.0
    65 and Over1.0-4.24.2

    Education Level

    Highest Level of Education (% Share)

    Source: ABS, ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). 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 Certificate22.2-10.110.1
    Bachelor degree75.1-21.821.8
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma1.6-11.611.6
    Certificate III/IV0.3-21.121.1
    Year 120.8-18.118.1
    Year 110.0-4.84.8
    Year 10 and below0.0-12.512.5

    A bachelor degree in occupational therapy is needed to work as an Occupational Therapist. Some Occupational Therapists complete postgraduate studies.

    You must also be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

    Checks, licences and tickets

    You may need:

    • national police check
    • working with vulnerable people and children check

    Thinking about study or training?

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

    • Search and compare thousands of higher education courses, and their entry requirements from different institutions across Australia at Course Seeker website.
    • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.

    Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

    Useful links and resources


    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.

    Filter Skills & Knowledge

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    1. Psychology

      82% Skill level

      Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.

    2. Therapy and Counseling

      82% Skill level

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

    3. Education and Training

      71% Skill level

      Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

    4. Customer and Personal Service

      67% Skill level

      Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

    5. English Language

      64% Skill level

      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 skills and 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.

    Filter Work Environment

    Demands

    The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

    1. Face-to-Face Discussions

      99% Important

      How often do you talk with people face-to-face?

    2. Contact With Others

      96% Important

      How much do you have contact with people (face-to-face, by telephone, or any other way)?

    3. Physical Proximity

      96% Important

      How physically close are you to other people?

    4. Indoors, Heat Controlled

      95% Important

      How often do you work indoors with access to heating or cooling?

    5. Electronic Mail

      94% Important

      How often do you use electronic mail?

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

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