Occupational Therapists

(NOC 3143)

in All Health

Occupational therapists develop individual and group programs with people affected by illness, injury, developmental disorders, emotional or psychological problems and ageing to maintain, restore or increase their ability to care for themselves and to engage in work, school or leisure. They also develop and implement health promotion programs with individuals, community groups and employers. They are employed in health care facilities, in schools, and by private and social services agencies, or they may be self-employed.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 115 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. However, competition for positions may be low due to few qualified jobseekers. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a small percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are not expected to be a major contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Occupational Therapists most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically temporary positions (such as a term, contract, or casual work).

The median employment income for 59% of Occupational Therapists who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $69,252. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$32.00

Minimum

$37.40

Median

$39.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$21,334

Minimum

$64,403

Median

$73,705

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$25.50

Median

$41.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Occupational therapists develop individual and group programs with people affected by illness, injury, developmental disorders, emotional or psychological problems and ageing to maintain, restore or increase their ability to care for themselves and to engage in work, school or leisure. They also develop and implement health promotion programs with individuals, community groups and employers. They are employed in health care facilities, in schools, and by private and social services agencies, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties

Occupational therapists perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Analyze clients' capabilities and expectations related to life activities through observation, interviews and formal assessments.
  • Develop intervention programs to address clients' needs related to self-care, work and leisure activities.
  • Maintain clients' records.
  • Establish personalized care plans working as a member of an interdisciplinary team.
  • Consult and advise on health promotion programs to prevent disabilities and to maximize independent function in all activities of life.
  • May supervise support personnel and students and provide training. // Occupational therapists may specialize in working with specific populations such as children or adults, or persons with distinct problems such as dementia, traumatic brain injury and chronic pain, or provide special interventions such as return-to-work programs.

Sample job titles

  • clinical occupational therapist
  • clinical occupational therapy specialist
  • community occupational therapist
  • home care occupational therapist
  • occupational therapist (OT)
  • occupational therapist vocational evaluator
  • occupational therapy rehabilitation consultant
  • research and development occupational therapist

Skills

To work in occupational therapy, you must have a genuine and sensitive interest in people and their ability to achieve. You must be able to communicate effectively with people and demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility, good judgement, patience, and self-discipline. Occupational therapists must be creative and unique in their approach to each client.

Job requirements

  • A university degree in occupational therapy including supervised fieldwork is required or graduation from an occupational therapy program approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) is accepted in some provinces.
  • Completion of the national certification examination may be required.
  • Licensure with a regulatory body is required in Nova Scotia.
  • Membership in the national association, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, is required in some provinces.
  • Occupational therapists may obtain expertise in a particular area through additional training or experience.

Other considerations

Occupational therapists may progress to management or administrative positions through further training and experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

345

employed in 2016

85.7%

employed full-time

10.1%

self employed

93.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
6.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
38.7

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

77.1%

employed full-time

10.2%

self employed

83.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
16.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

66.7%

Halifax

12.5%

Northern

9.7%

Cape Breton

6.9%

Annapolis Valley

5.6%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

95.6%

Health Care and Social Assistance

4.4%

Public Administration

What is the age of Employment?

35.1%

35-44

35.1%

45-54

27.0%

25-34

5.4%

55-64

Compared to: All Health

31.4%

45-54

27.6%

35-44

20.5%

55-64

15.2%

25-34

4.9%

65+

Top levels of education

47.8%

Bachelor's degree

$72,557 median annual income
43.5%

Doctorate

N/A
4.3%

College certificate or diploma

N/A
4.3%

University advanced certificate or diploma

$54,975 median annual income

Compared to: All Health

39.4%

College certificate or diploma

$36,693 median annual income
27.6%

Bachelor's degree

$57,186 median annual income
7.2%

Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry

$83,000 median annual income
6.9%

High school

$24,119 median annual income
5.1%

Master's degree

$87,808 median annual income

Education & training

Occupational therapy/therapist

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to assist patients limited by physical, cognitive, psychosocial, mental, developmental, and learning disabilities, as well as adverse environmental conditions, to maximize their independence and maintain optimum health through a planned mix of acquired skills, performance motivation, environmental adaptations, assistive technologies, and physical agents. These programs include courses in the basic medical sciences, psychology, sociology, patient assessment and evaluation, standardized and non-standardized tests and measurements, assistive and rehabilitative technologies, ergonomics, environmental health, special education, vocational counselling, health education and promotion, and professional standards and ethics.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Occupational Therapist

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
College of Occupational Therapists of Nova Scotia
6960 Mumford Road, Suite 2132B
Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
(902) 455-0556
(902) 455-0621

Contacts

Nova Scotia Society of Occupational Therapists
6960 Mumford Road, Suite 2132B
Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Tel: (866) 936-7768
Fax: (902) 453-5899
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
100-34 Colonnade Road
Ottawa, ON K2E 7J6
Tel: (613) 523-2268
Fax: (613) 523-2552
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572

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