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 work in health care facilities, in schools, and at private and social services agencies, or they may be self-employed. Occupational therapists may specialize in working with specific populations like children or adults, or persons with distinct problems like dementia, traumatic brain injury and chronic pain, or provide special interventions like return-to-work programs.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 35 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 3180 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some 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.

The median employment income for 60% 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

$29.67

Minimum

$38.00

Median

$40.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$21,334

Minimum

$64,403

Median

$73,705

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$30.45

Median

$41.35

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 work in health care facilities, in schools, and at private and social services agencies, or they may be self-employed. Occupational therapists may specialize in working with specific populations like children or adults, or persons with distinct problems like dementia, traumatic brain injury and chronic pain, or provide special interventions like return-to-work programs.

Job duties

Occupational therapists:

  • 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.
  • Create 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.

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

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

360

employed in 2016

87.5%

employed full-time

9.7%

self employed

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

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

75.7%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

65.8%

Halifax

12.3%

North Shore

9.6%

Cape Breton

6.8%

Annapolis Valley

5.5%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

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?

38.0%

25-34

34.0%

35-44

21.0%

45-54

7.0%

55-64

Compared to: All Health

24.0%

25-34

23.9%

45-54

21.9%

35-44

18.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

50.0%

Bachelor

$66,428 median annual income
43.1%

Master

$63,583 median annual income
5.6%

Diploma Above Bachelor

N/A
2.8%

College Diploma

N/A

Compared to: All Health

38.4%

College Diploma

$40,033 median annual income
27.1%

Bachelor

$61,668 median annual income
8.7%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$81,191 median annual income
6.8%

High school

$24,829 median annual income
5.1%

Master

$69,296 median annual income

Education & training

Occupational Therapy

College or University Program

These programs prepare students to help 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. They 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

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Occupational Therapist

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional licence. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to legally do this work.

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
Dartmouth, NS
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
Ottawa, ON
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
Bedford, NS