Occupational Therapy Jobs | Occupational Therapy Work

What are some examples of the types of clients occupational therapists may work with?

Between 30-45% of occupational therapists work in pediatrics with children with autism, developmental delays, cerebral palsy, brain and spinal cord injuries just to name a few. In working with children with autism, the occupational therapist helps them

What are common interventions occupational therapists use with their clients?

The interventions used in occupational therapy are client centered since the therapist is trying to use purposeful and meaningful occupations within the environments in which people participate in order to get them to the highest level of function. Part of what makes the field of occupational therapy unique is that in addition to the specific approaches for intervention, purposeful activities and meaningful occupations are used as a therapeutic medium to accomplish goals and outcomes. So, occupation is both a therapeutic means as well as a goal with an outcome.

In a school setting, for example, the occupational therapist may work with children to help them improve fine motor skills so they are able to cut with scissors and grasp and release objects. To accomplish this the occupational therapist may use specific play activities that work on underlying components such as posture control, strength, and using both sides of the body in a coordinated way. Examples of these activities include climbing on certain equipment, ball activities, lacing activities, and making things out of play dough.

Learn more about the occupational therapy degree.

For an adult who has suffered from a stroke, the occupational therapist may engage the individual in a cooking activity in the clinic kitchen, which can address various aspects of functioning including memory, sequencing, using both sides of the body, and visual-motor coordination. This would be an effective treatment if cooking is a meaningful activity to the client; and it could also work toward an ultimate goal for the individual to be able to prepare a meal independently at home. If the client does not enjoy cooking, it would likely not serve as a therapeutic activity for that individual as there would be reduced interest and motivation.

Occupational therapists also use specific techniques based on theories or models of practice such as Sensory Integration (SI) and Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT) that require advanced training. These may include specific ways to use one’s hands to facilitate movement patterns or postural control, or to design activities that provide a particular level of intensity, duration, frequency of sensory input to promote an adaptive response. Occupational therapists may fabricate a splint to promote a functional hand position, or implement specific techniques to facilitate an oral-motor pattern for chewing. A high chair may be adapted to provide appropriate positioning and support for an infant during mealtime. If an individual has physical impairments, such as limited use of one side of the body, the occupational therapist may teach certain strategies or incorporate adapted tools or materials to compensate for the impairment.

There are also specialized hand clinics where occupational therapists work with individuals with carpel tunnel syndrome or those who have fractured their hand. They may use activities, or tools such as hand grippers or therapy putty with different exercises to help the client regain hand function and strength.

Why are the individuals occupational therapists work with referred to as “clients” rather than “patients”?

The American Occupational Therapy Association produced a document titled “Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process, 2nd ed.” that uses the term “client” to refer not only to an individual but also a group or population. The only time “patient” is used in occupational therapy is when referring to those in medical settings, or in documentation required for reimbursement by insurance or Medicare since it follows a medical model. The medical model is very narrow, and occupational therapy serves people in so many different settings, and not just people who have disabilities or impairments. In school settings the terms “student” or “client” are used. In pediatrics and early intervention, “client” is used unless describing those individuals in a children’s hospital. Many occupational therapists work with healthy people in the workplace (i.e., ergonomics) and in the community (i.e., lifestyle redesign). Therefore it is misleading to refer to “patients” as the norm in this industry.

Occupational Therapy Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
            • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
            • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
            • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
            • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
            • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Why Earn Your Degree from GCU?
            • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more!
            • Convenience: Complete courses online, on campus, or a combination of both!
            • Earlier Graduation: Our 4-credit courses allow you to complete your degree program in less time.
            • Transfer Friendly: We will request your transcripts, evaluate your graduate coursework, and determine your anticipated graduation date within 24 hours.
            • Quality: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is regionally accredited. Learn more today!
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
            • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
            • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
            • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
            • Financial aid representatives help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
            Show more [+]
            • Financial Aid