About the Profession of Occupational Therapy

The profession of Occupational Therapy (OT) is grounded in the fields of science and psychology. Occupational Therapy is a health profession which utilizes every-day life activities to help people of all ages prevent, lessen, or overcome challenges that interfere with their ability to lead independent and satisfying lives. Occupational Therapy makes it possible for people to regain independence and to enjoy life to its fullest. Learning, growing, playing, working, managing our homes, and caring for our families and ourselves are among the "occupations" of life. Stroke, injury, depression, and developmental disabilities, for example, can make it difficult for people to do everyday tasks or be as active and as independent as they would like. With a career in Occupational Therapy, you will impact the lives of children, young people, and adults.


Occupational Therapy Practitioners


There are two levels of OT Clinicians: occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant. 

Occupational therapy assistants are educated at the associate degree level and work in collaboration with a supervising licensed occupational therapist to provide hands-on services to people of all ages who are learning new ways to succeed in the occupations of life.

PhilaU’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Studies Program is delivered through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Occupational therapists are educated at the master’s level as a graduate student after having completed a bachelor’s degree (click here for information about the MSOT program in the School of Science, Health and Liberal Arts).

Many OT practitioners help children thrive in the "occupations" of childhood - learning, playing, and growing. Some work in schools with students who have learning disabilities or behavioral problems. Others work with children who have cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, and other disabilities.

OT practitioners also work with individuals in their homes, community centers, rehabilitation hospitals, and nursing homes. In these settings, they may support people with traumatic injuries, strokes, Alzheimer's disease or mental health problems.

Annual earnings for COTAs in the Philadelphia area are approximately $45,000.


For additional information about Occupational Therapy visit the American Occupational Therapy Association website (www.aota.org) and the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association website (www.pota.org).