Occupational Therapists

ANZSCO ID 2524

Overview

Snapshot

Employed
21,400
Future Growth
7.4%
Weekly Earnings
$1,749
Full-Time Share
58%
Female Share
92%
Average age
34

Summary

Occupational Therapists assess functional limitations of people resulting from illnesses and disabilities, and provide therapy to enable people to perform their daily activities and occupations.

Tasks

  • assessing clients' emotional, psychological, developmental and physical capabilities using clinical observations and standardised tests

  • assessing clients' functional potential in their home, leisure, work and school environments, and recommending environmental adaptations to maximise their performance

  • planning and directing programs through the use of vocational, recreational, remedial, social and educational activities on an individual and group basis

  • providing advice to family members, carers, employers and teachers about adapting clients' home, leisure, work and school environments

  • providing adaptive equipment, such as wheel chairs and splints, to assist clients to overcome their functional limitations

  • working with other Health Professionals in overall case management of clients

  • working with other professionals in providing specialist advice to specific client groups such as those requiring driver rehabilitation, third-party compensation and medico-legal representation

  • recording clients' progress and maintaining professional relationships in accordance with relevant legislative requirements and ethical guidelines

Characteristics

Job Type
Professionals
Skill Level
Very high skill
ANZSCO Occupation group
Unemployment Rate
Below average
Industries
Pathway(s)
  • University
Interests
  • Analytical
  • Helping
Physical Demand
  • Sedentary
  • Light

Outlook

Employment Outlook

JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:

  • is expected to grow moderately
  • is likely to reach 25,600 by 2026.
  • Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.

    Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.

    Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.

Projected Change
7.4%
(or 1,800 jobs)
From
23,900
in 2021
To
25,600
in 2026

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Year Employment
2011 11,100
2012 12,800
2013 10,500
2014 11,000
2015 18,600
2016 11,600
2017 15,800
2018 17,300
2019 22,500
2020 22,200
2021 23,900
2026 25,600

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.


Earnings and hours

Working arrangements

  • Around 58% of people employed as Occupational Therapists work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 8 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).

    Full-time workers work an average of 41 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).

    Median full-time earnings are $1,749 per week, this is higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):

    • 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,401
    • 1 in 4 earn more than $1,882

    Median hourly earnings are $44, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).

    Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Earnings Occupational Therapists All Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings 1,749 1,593
Total Earnings 0 0

Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.


Industries

Main industries

1
Health Care and Social Assistance
93.8%
2
Public Administration and Safety
2.7%
3
Education and Training
2.7%
4
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
0.4%

Regions

Employment across Australia

NSW

29.7% All occupations: 31.6%

VIC

24.5% All occupations: 25.6%

QLD

20.0% All occupations: 20.0%

SA

8.1% All occupations: 7.0%

WA

13.4% All occupations: 10.8%

TAS

1.9% All occupations: 2.0%

NT

1.0% All occupations: 1.0%

ACT

1.6% All occupations: 1.9%

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

State Occupational Therapists All Jobs Average
NSW 29.7 31.6
VIC 24.5 25.6
QLD 20.0 20.0
SA 8.1 7.0
WA 13.4 10.8
TAS 1.9 2.0
NT 1.0 1.0
ACT 1.6 1.9



Worker profile

Age and gender

Age In Years
34
All Jobs Average is 40
Female Share
92%
All Jobs Average is 48%
  • The median age of Occupational Therapists is 34 years. This is younger than the all jobs average of 40 years.

    A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.

    Females make up 92% of the workforce. This is 44 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age Bracket Occupational Therapists All Jobs Average
15-19 0.0 5.0
20-24 10.4 9.3
25-34 42.2 22.9
35-44 25.4 22.0
45-54 14.3 21.6
55-59 4.4 9.0
60-64 2.3 6.0
65 and Over 1.0 4.2
Median Age 34 40

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.


Employment Pathways

Education, training and experience

A bachelor degree in occupational therapy is needed to work as an Occupational Therapist. Some workers have a postgraduate qualification.

Registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency is required.

Visit

  • Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
  • ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of Qualification Occupational Therapists All Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate 22.2 10.1
Bachelor degree 75.1 21.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma 1.6 11.6
Certificate III/IV 0.3 21.1
Year 12 0.8 18.1
Year 11 0.0 4.8
Year 10 and below 0.0 12.5

Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.


Skills and Knowledge

Employers look for Occupational Therapists who are mature, professional, and efficient and can solve problems.

Skills

Skills can be improved through training or experience.

  • 59%

    Critical thinking

    Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.

  • 57%

    Active learning

    Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.

  • 57%

    Active listening

    Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.

  • 57%

    Reading comprehension

    Reading work related information.

  • 57%

    Speaking

    Talking to others.

  • 57%

    Writing

    Writing things for co-workers or customers.

  • 55%

    Monitoring

    Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.

  • 55%

    Serving others

    Looking for ways to help people.

  • 54%

    Social perceptiveness

    Understanding why people react the way they do.

  • 52%

    Coordination with others

    Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.

  • 52%

    Instructing

    Teaching people how to do something.

  • 52%

    Judgment and decision making

    Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.

  • 52%

    Complex problem solving

    Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.

  • 50%

    Time management

    Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.

  • 50%

    Learning strategies

    Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.

  • 46%

    Persuasion

    Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.

  • 45%

    Operations analysis

    Understanding needs and product requirements to create a design.

  • 43%

    Management of personnel resources

    Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.

  • 43%

    Systems analysis

    Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.

  • 43%

    Systems evaluation

    Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.


Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  • 82%

    Psychology

    Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.

  • 82%

    Therapy and counselling

    Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.

  • 71%

    Education and training

    Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  • 67%

    Customer and personal service

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  • 64%

    English language

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  • 63%

    Sociology and anthropology

    Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

  • 58%

    Medicine and dentistry

    Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.

  • 49%

    Clerical

    Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

  • 49%

    Philosophy and theology

    Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.

  • 46%

    Biology

    Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

  • 46%

    Administration and management

    Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

  • 43%

    Computers and electronics

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  • 41%

    Law and government

    How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.

  • 41%

    Mathematics

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  • 39%

    Personnel and human resources

    Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.

  • 36%

    Communications and media

    Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.

  • 30%

    Sales and marketing

    Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

  • 25%

    Public safety and security

    Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

  • 22%

    Engineering and technology

    Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.

  • 12%

    Telecommunications

    Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.


Abilities

Workers use these physical and mental abilities..

  • 57%

    Deductive reasoning

    Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.

  • 57%

    Inductive reasoning

    Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.

  • 57%

    Oral comprehension

    Listen to and understand what people say.

  • 57%

    Oral expression

    Communicate by speaking.

  • 57%

    Problem spotting

    Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.

  • 57%

    Sorting or ordering

    Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

  • 57%

    Written comprehension

    Read and understand written information.

  • 57%

    Written expression

    Write in a way that people can understand.

  • 57%

    Originality

    Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.

  • 54%

    Speech clarity

    Speak clearly so others can understand you.

  • 52%

    Speech recognition

    Identify and understand the speech of another person.

  • 50%

    Brainstorming

    Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.

  • 48%

    Categorising

    Come up with different ways of grouping things.

  • 48%

    Near vision

    See details that are up-close (within a few feet).

  • 45%

    Selective attention

    Pay attention to something without being distracted.

  • 45%

    Finger dexterity

    Put together small parts with your fingers.

  • 43%

    Flexibility of closure

    See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.

  • 41%

    Arm-hand steadiness

    Keep your hand or arm steady.

  • 41%

    Far vision

    See details that are far away.

  • 39%

    Multitasking

    Do two or more things at the same time.


Activities

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  • 77%

    Helping and caring for others

    Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.

  • 75%

    Building good relationships

    Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.

  • 74%

    Looking for changes over time

    Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.

  • 70%

    Making decisions and solving problems

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  • 69%

    Planning and prioritising work

    Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.

  • 67%

    Communicating within a team

    Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.

  • 67%

    Keeping your knowledge up-to-date

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

  • 67%

    Monitoring people, processes and things

    Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.

  • 67%

    Thinking creatively

    Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.

  • 65%

    Researching and investigating

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  • 64%

    Working with the public

    Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.

  • 63%

    Negotiating and resolving conflicts

    Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.

  • 61%

    Coaching and developing others

    Working out the needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping them to improve.

  • 60%

    Documenting or recording information

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

  • 58%

    Coming up with systems and processes

    Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.

  • 52%

    Making sense of information and ideas

    Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.

  • 52%

    Explaining things to people

    Helping people to understand and use information.

  • 51%

    Leading and encouraging a team

    Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

  • 51%

    Training and teaching others

    Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.

  • 47%

    Doing physically active work

    Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.


Interests and demands

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Interests

Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.

  • 100%

    Helping

    Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.

  • 62%

    Analytical

    Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.

  • 52%

    Administrative

    Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.

  • 48%

    Creative

    Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.

  • 43%

    Enterprising

    Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.

  • 43%

    Practical

    Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


Values

Work values are important to a person’s feeling of satisfaction. All six values are shown below.
  • 100%

    Relationships

    Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.

  • 86%

    Achievement

    Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

  • 83%

    Working conditions

    Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.

  • 81%

    Independence

    Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.

  • 71%

    Support

    Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.

  • 62%

    Recognition

    Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.


Demands

The physical and social demands that workers face most often are shown below:
  • 99%

    Face-to-face discussions

    Talk with people face-to-face.

  • 96%

    Contact with people

    Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.

  • 96%

    Physically close to people

    Work physically close to other people.

  • 95%

    Indoors, heat controlled

    Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.

  • 94%

    Electronic mail

    Use electronic mail.

  • 93%

    Disease or infection

    Be exposed to disease or infections.

  • 90%

    Teamwork

    Work with people in a group or team.

  • 90%

    Telephone

    Talk on the telephone.

  • 88%

    Frequent decision making

    Frequently make decisions that impact other people.

  • 88%

    Unstructured work

    Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.

  • 86%

    Contact with the public

    Work with customers or the public.

  • 86%

    Freedom to make decisions

    Have freedom to make decision on your own.

  • 86%

    Letters and memos

    Write letters and memos.

  • 85%

    Time pressure

    Work to strict deadlines.

  • 83%

    Health and safety of others

    Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.

  • 81%

    Impact of decisions

    Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.

  • 81%

    Lead or coordinate a team

    Lead others to do work activities.

  • 71%

    Angry or unpleasant people

    Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.

  • 70%

    Using your hands to handle, control, or feel

    Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.

  • 67%

    Conflict situations

    Deal with conflict or disagreements.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-1122.00 - Occupational Therapists.


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