Occupational Therapist – What Are Their Working Conditions?

With the ageing of the population, certain fields are going to be more in demand. This is the case for occupational therapy, which is growing across the country. There are many job offers. It is estimated that 98% of graduates find a job when they complete their training.

Since 2009, a bachelor’s degree with a professional master’s degree is compulsory. This is a four-year university education. According to the Ordre des ergothérapeutes du Québec (OEQ), at the beginning of their career the annual salary is about $58,000.

Promoting patient well-being

Occupational therapists work as much with physical as with mental health problems, for patients of all ages. As Catherine Roberge, OEQ communications officer, explains, “occupational therapy lets people with a temporary or permanent impairment resume activities they consider important.” 

An occupational therapist has to both assess, intervene with and treat patients to improve their quality of life. Mrs. Roberge adds that, “the occupational therapist also works to adapt the patient environment to enable them to regain maximum autonomy and to use their full capacity.”

A variety of jobs

With a degree in occupational therapy, it is possible to work in various environments. In Canada, the majority of occupational therapists work in the public sector. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), it is estimated that 47.6% of occupational therapists work in specialized rehabilitation centres or in hospitals, mainly in long term care or geriatric care units.

More and more occupational therapists are also deciding to work in the community sector. With the increase in home care, 30.8% of occupational therapists are now choosing this sector.

Only a minority work in the private sector. Just 11.2% of occupational therapists offer their services independently or work in private clinics that offer multidisciplinary services in complement with other health specialists.

A thriving profession

Occupational therapy is a field that is developing and it is expected that this growth will continue. Occupational therapists are found in an increasingly diverse range of sectors. For example, occupational therapists are now being hired in some specialized schools and even in the Canadian Armed Forces.

It is a field of the future for those who want to work directly with patients, to help them regain a better quality of life.

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