Occupational Therapy Jobs Outlook: What’s in Store for the Future

Occupational therapists will tell you that their job is rewarding, fulfilling, complex, and always a challenge, which is why they love it. They will also be glad to know that their future looks secure and strong with a very positive occupational therapy job outlook on this satisfying career. Growth is strong and the trends of an increase in the needs for mental illness and disability care givers demonstrate that occupational therapy looks promising for the foreseeable outlook.

Occupational Therapy Surveys and Statistics

While it’s always fraught with risk trying to predict the future outcome of a career, those who are considering post-acute care or other types of wellness professions would be buoyed by the statistics that have been made available.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) recently conducted a survey of new graduates among their members. The question was posed as to how long after graduation did their first job offer arrive. An enormous 86% responded by saying that they had received their first job offer within 3 months of graduating. A staggering 97% said that they had job offers within 6 months of graduation with over half reporting that their first offer was less than a month after school finished. These respondents also said that at least 5 out 6 therapists were able to land their first job in their preferred practice setting. That means that 85% of graduates with an occupational therapy registered certificate were able to get their first preference of a job within 6 months. Those numbers are incredible to take in and speak volumes about the occupational therapy job outlook.

The perception of the field has played a strong role in this trend. Survey respondents were asked to rate their perception of the strength of the job market for occupational therapists. Almost 75% of the responses were Strong to Very Strong in relation to positions available and positions found. Although these responses were subjective and biased towards those who were already members of an OT association, they are backed up by empirical data as well.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has said that they projected rise in employment for occupational therapists until 2022 is expected to be a 29% increase, a figure which is shown to be significantly better than many other fields. As the population grows, diseases like Alzheimer’s, cerebral palsy, autism, or a loss of limbs or motor function will also increase. There are projections that also show that within the autism scale, high-functioning autism (HFA) patients are also demanding more OT’s and OTA’s.

Long Term Care Growth

OT’s will tell you that they work with a minority group that anybody could enter at any time. Disabilities, hospitalizations, stress or accidents could all result in needing long term care. As the needs grow for those in this group, so does the need for a professional to manage and care for their long-term needs. This is aided by the fact that every year, occupational therapy is added to health care plans and is becoming prevalent throughout society.

Occupational therapy can take place in the school systems, but there are also OTs who work in nursing homes, assisted living, home health, outpatient therapy care centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private practices. There are free football betting tips opening fields of interest in prisons, community settings, return to work programs at employment centers or even occupational therapists employed for the care of employees in an office environment. These fields continue to expand every year as the need grows for long term care in these areas.  In particular, occupational therapy in post-acute care is on the rise due to the influx of the 76.4 million baby boomers entering into the senior care industry.  Occupational therapy in assisted living settings as well as short-term rehabilitation is continually booming and becoming increasingly popular.

Growth in Public Interest for OTs and OTAs

Employees with a degree in this field are enjoying the current climate of a more health-conscious public. People are becoming more aware of their body and their needs. OTs and OTAs offer the public a holistic approach to the needs of anybody from newborn infants to the elderly in nursing homes. Governments and corporate bodies are also taking an increased interest in this field. The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) has reported that private insurance companies have expanded their coverage to include treatment from an occupational therapist. The Canadian government has recognized the need to stop treating the symptoms and diseases and start promoting wellness that anybody can enjoy. OTs are now seen as necessary to lower medical costs and boost the general health of everyone.

Increased Innovation and Techniques

Moore’s Law states that computing power doubles every 18 months because of increases in technology. This boom of innovation and technology has had a greater impact on occupational therapists as well. For the 25% of OTs who are considering furthering their field through research and telehealth, the future looks bright.

With crowdsourcing options such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe, smaller companies have removed the barrier to entry of large capital or corporate backing formerly needed to innovate new tools and products. Small businesses are designing new wheelchairs, private practices can fund new specialized products for better wellness, and the knowledge of techniques and practices only spreads faster and faster as the internet is more globally available. Countries around the world are now seeking to coordinate and collaborate their knowledge through papers and conferences held around the world.

For those who are employed in this field, or those who are considering a degree in occupational therapy or therapy oversight, the outlook of this career looks good. It’s entirely populated by fiercely compassionate people who have a deep philanthropy and love for humanity. Because of this passion and drive, innovators will make the occupational therapy job outlook only grow in demand and perception.

If you have more questions, or you’re looking for a career in the occupational therapy field, contact the friendly team at HTS today. They have first-hand knowledge of the outlook and upcoming trends of this field.

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