The best part about being an occupational therapist
According to Brisbane based paediatric occupational therapist Nicole Grant, this profession is for those who are passionate and compassionate, creative and resourceful, who like thinking outside of the box and being able to take a holistic approach to health care.
Occupational therapists often play an advocacy role for their clients. Professor Sylvia Rodger (who sadly passed away in April 2017) covers this here:
While many other people in the health industry are involved in the diagnosis of diseases, the occupational therapist’s role is about looking at what their client wants to do, and making it happen:
What you really need to consider before deciding to study occupational therapy
The biggest thing you need to know is that the profession of occupational therapy isn’t about providing careers advice! The “occupation” in occupational therapy is all about daily activities, whether it be playing and learning for a child or an adult with cerebral palsy living independently.
What do occupational therapists do and where do they work?
Occupational therapists often work with people who have a disability, illness or have suffered an injury. This can be in a number of settings including private practice and in hospitals. In this video OT Michelle Maclean talks about her first job when she was working in an oncology (cancer) ward in a hospital:
Here is a video outlining 6 places where an occupational therapist might work. There are many areas of specialization within occupational therapy, or conditions which OTs can have a special interest in. These include:
- Driver trained OT (click here to see Occupational Therapy Australia’s position statement on Driver Trained OT)
- Hand therapy (also see our video page for information about hand therapy)
- Paediatric occupational therapy
- Refugees and asylum seekers (there are limited roles available in this area)
- Autistic spectrum disorder
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Mental Health OTs
- Occupational Therapy
If an OT works in a hospital, they may have an allied health assistant work alongside them.
In this video Professor Sylvia Rodger, a leading occupational therapist in Australia talks about 6 different areas of the profession (physical conditions, mental health, developmental lifespan conditions, work, paediatrics and public housing design):
In 2013, South Australian Kaurna man Trevor Ritchie became the first indigenous graduate of the occupational therapy course in his state.
Paediatric OT Nicole Grant has shared her career story, and OT academic Clare Wilding shared her thoughts on what happened at an occupational therapy conference in 2013. Emma Gee was an occupational therapist who had a stroke at the age of 24 and has gone on to become an inspirational speaker.
In this video OT Linda Rylands talks about her job working with patients in a psychiatric hospital:
Where are the courses?
Occupational Therapy courses are available at both and undergraduate and postgraduate level in most states and territories in Australia.
Please go to our occupational therapy infographic page for more information on the pathways to becoming an OT.
Please read our scholarship listing thoroughly for this information.
ATAR / OP for occupational therapy
Click here for ATAR / OP information for occupational therapy courses in Australia.
Click here for the latest news about occupational therapy.
Are occupational therapy graduates getting jobs?
Labour market information about the profession of Occupational Therapy in Australia is difficulty to come by, and we recommend you contact Occupational Therapy Australia for information. In June 2015 My Health Career published an article which concluded that there is uncertainty regarding what a recent increase in the number of occupational therapists in Australia will mean for the profession, and for the graduate employment rate.
How much money do occupational therapists earn?
There is also more earnings information available here.
Click here to go to our videos about a career in occupational therapy. Videos include “six different areas of occupational therapy” and “OT – working in a psychiatric hospital.”
Career information from professional associations
Go to this page and click on the links from there.
This page was last updated in May 2018.