Career as Occupational Therapist

Last Updated On 29 Dec, 2020

How to Become a Occupational Therapist

About Occupational Therapist

A career as an Occupational Therapist may well be one of the more challenging yet rewarding job profiles in the industry. As an Occupational Therapist, you will deal with different types of patients who wish to regain full or partial functionality of their physical body. The career path of an occupational therapist comes with immense scope for career satisfaction as being able to make a difference in the lives of the patients and those in pain, can be life-changing. However, discipline, good control over oneself and the ability to work under pressure are among the few requirements of the career path. Therefore, if you wish to build a career out of helping people in need and improving the overall quality of life in society, then a career as an Occupational Therapist is the right choice for you.

Eligibility to become Occupational Therapist

Candidates wondering 'How to become an Occupational Therapist?' must follow the academic requirements of the field. As is the case for many paramedical courses, all aspirants must carry a valid degree in the field of Occupational Therapy. Like many other medical and paramedical fields, you will also be offered to pursue a specialisation in the field of Occupational Therapy, which would require additional academic qualification, as will be discussed below.

For a career path in the field of Occupational Therapy:

  • Candidates must have a minimum academic qualification of a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from a recognised educational institute in India.

  • In India, it is also necessary for Bachelor of Occupational therapy candidates to have a valid license to practice in their field.

For those wishing to specialise in any one of the branches of occupational therapy:

  • Candidates are required to have a Master’s or Postgraduate degree in Occupational Degree, i.e. Master of Occupational Therapy.

  • Like earlier, all graduates must be licensed in order to pursue a career path in the field.

Types of Job Roles Occupational Therapist

As an Occupational Therapist, there are various job roles and job profiles that are offered to graduates of the course. Inevitably, the level of academic and professional qualification will determine the kind of the job role or profile will be offered to an individual in Occupational Therapy. Here is a list of some of the popular job roles and profiles that you may come across while pursuing the respective career:

Occupational Therapist: A job of an Occupational Therapist requires them to acquire medical data of the patient, analyse, plan and take the necessary steps, such as changing the immediate environment of the patient like their house, in order to successfully help the patient function normally.

Occupational Therapy Assistant: The job role of an Occupational Therapy Assistant is to assist an Occupational Therapist in all the different therapy sessions. The job role is best suited for fresh graduates of an Occupational Therapy Course as candidates will receive first-hand training and on the job techniques from more qualified and experienced Occupational Therapists.

Physical Rehabilitation: One of the more common Occupational Therapist job profiles is the Physical Rehabilitation profile. Under this, graduates are asked to treat and help regain physical bodily functions of patients. This is a more dynamically-natured profile, as OTs will be asked to come up with plans and procedures depending solely on the unique issues of their patients.

Paediatrics: Paediatric Occupational Therapy is the field where the OT will assist a child in successfully undertaking daily routine. As a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, a graduate will deal with children who have learning, mental or physical disabilities, and assist them functioning normally with ease in day to day routine.

Mental Health Therapist: As a mental health occupational therapist, graduates will deal with clients who are unable to overcome their mental disabilities. The job role requires the OT to completely understand the effects of various mental health disorders or issues which affect the occupational functioning of a client.

Geriatric Occupational Therapist: Geriatric Occupational Therapist, as a job profile would require you to work with senior citizens of society and help them cope with old age and the physical restrictions that come with it. As an OT, it would be your duty to assist them and provide alternative solutions to Alzheimer’s and arthritis, etc.

Employment Sector/Industry for Occupational Therapist

There are a plethora of job opportunities in the healthcare industry of India for Occupational Therapists. Among the major sectors where Occupational Therapists will be able to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy include the following:

  • Government Hospitals

  • Private Hospitals

  • Rehabilitation Centres

  • Community Health Centres

  • Nursing Homes

  • Geriatric Centres

  • Own Business or Practice

Responsibilities of an Occupational Therapist

  • Providing and planning appropriate activities and treatment
  • Undertaking a patient's assessments of communication, physical, cognitive  and  interaction skills
  • Undertaking administrative tasks like making phone calls, writing reports, maintaining case notes and records
  • Advising family members and carers of the patient
  • Planning treatment and reviewing the progress of a patient

Planning to choose Occupational Therapist as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Occupational Therapist

The salary of an Occupational Therapist would depend on various factors including the job position, the area of employment as well as the field of expertise chosen. Moreover, the level of academic qualifications and overall skill level of the candidate would affect the annual package of an Occupational Therapist. Check out the detailed annual salary commonly offered to occupational therapists in India.

Job Profile

Initial Salary (Annual)

Mid-Level Salary (Annual)

Senior-Level Salary (Annual)

Occupational Therapist

₹1,20,000 - ₹2,00,000 

₹4,00,000 - ₹5,00,000

₹6,50,000 - ₹7,00,000

Assistant Occupational Therapist

₹90,000 - ₹1,50,000

₹2,30,000 - ₹3,65,000

₹4,00,000 - ₹5,00,000

Geriatric Occupational Therapist

₹1,30,000 - ₹2,00,000

₹3,00,000 - ₹4,50,000

₹5,00,000 - ₹6,50,000

Paediatric Occupational Therapist

₹1,00,000 - ₹2,25,000

₹3,00,000 - ₹4,75,000

₹5,30,000 - ₹6,20,000

Physical Rehabilitation

₹1,40,000 - ₹2,70,000

₹3,50,000 - ₹5,00,000

₹5,60,000 - ₹7,00,000


The details provided in the table above are purely for reference purposes. The actual salary and annual packages differ on various parameters and from organisation to organisation.

Books & Study Material to Become Occupational Therapist

While pursuing a career as an Occupational Therapist, you will be required to have a firm grasp on different aspects of the field. While you can depend solely on the books and topics taught during your graduation and/or post-graduation books, from a career perspective, one must read more books pertaining to their field, i.e Occupational Therapy. Here is a list of books that you must take into consideration while studying for the course:

  • Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Processes (2nd Edition) By the American Occupational Therapy Association

  • Clinical and Professional Reasoning in Occupational Therapy by Barbara Schell

  • Paul Mason’s Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and its Aftermath

Pros of becoming a Occupational Therapist

  • High on-the-job satisfaction as being able to make a positive and substantial difference in the lives of suffering patients makes one proud of themselves

  • Dynamic Nature of work as you may be asked to change the techniques and methodologies over certain conditions that can not be overlooked. Types of patients and different kinds of disabilities force you to think creatively and come up with medical solutions that can work without cutting corners.

  • Ability to work in different environments as each scenario and the requirement of dealing with each patient can vary on certain levels.

Cons of becoming a Occupational Therapist

  • Candidates might be asked to do messy activities such as cleaning bodily fluids of physically disabled patients.

  • Taking care of physical wounds with blood and cleaning discharge from wounds, which can be considered gore. It can become uncomfortable for some.

  • You will be asked to jump into stressful situations with patients, who would often be grumpy or be in a bad psychological state.

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