10 Alternative Jobs for Occupational Therapists

There was time—not so long ago—when the idea of pursuing non-clinical occupational therapy (OT) jobs was perplexing to most. OT was considered one of the best careers out there for so long…why would anyone want to leave? Well, with debt skyrocketing, reimbursement cuts, PPE shortages, and the slog of working with ungrateful managers during COVID, something snapped. OTs want out. And it’s OK.

You’re not a bad person if you feel drained by patient care. And you’re not a sellout or greedy if you want a job with actual upward mobility.

Whatever your reason(s) for exploring non-clinical OT jobs, you’ll be pleased to know that there ARE options. This article was designed to be your starting guide to the wonderful world of non-traditional, alternative, and non-clinical OT jobs.

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What is an occupational therapist?

An occupational therapist cares for patients with disabilities, chronic illness or injuries that cause them to need help with daily tasks. Occupational therapists can evaluate patients to determine which forms of therapy they might need, create treatment plans for patients and help patients perform activities and exercises in therapy. An occupational therapist also keeps track of their patients progress to ensure their therapy is effective and adjust their treatment plan if necessary. Most occupational therapists work at rehabilitation facilities or therapy practices, but many choose to open their own occupational therapy businesses.

10 alternative jobs for occupational therapists

Here are 10 other jobs that occupational therapists can apply for other than occupational therapy:

Primary duties: A rehabilitation technician acts as an assistant to an occupational or physical therapist and helps them with their responsibilities. This can involve preparing areas for use by gathering the necessary equipment, maintaining the cleanliness of rehabilitation spaces and equipment by disinfecting and organizing after each use and helping therapists to assess patient needs. A rehabilitation technician can also communicate with patients before and after their treatment to ensure they remain comfortable and respond to any questions they might have.

Primary duties: A case manager helps clients with mental or physical conditions find the right options for care. Case managers can meet with clients to discuss their needs, communicate with care providers and medical facilities to place patients in care and educate their clients about different treatment options, such as occupational therapy or physical therapy. A case manager might also work with service organizations to promote and administer care to patients in underserved communities.

Primary duties: A technical writer is someone who writes about advanced, technical subjects to make information more accessible to public audiences. Technical writers with a background in occupational therapy might create informational pamphlets that can be distributed at occupational therapy offices, write training manuals or reference documents for occupational therapists to use in appointments and work with other professionals in the field to ensure they present accurate information. A technical writer can also review and edit work from other technical writers, which can help enhance quality and confirm accuracy in documents before publication.

Primary duties: A vocational rehabilitation counselor is a mental health professional who helps clients with disabilities and conditions from previous employment find a new job. This can involve meeting with clients individually to discuss and assess their personal needs, determining whether clients are prepared to reenter the workforce and creating job plans for clients who are ready to look for a new job. Vocational rehabilitation counselors can also help clients find training programs that can support them in building new skills and expertise.

Primary duties: An educator is someone who teaches others about specific information related to an area of study or topic. Educators in occupational therapy can teach courses in occupational therapy to inform aspiring occupational therapists about the career, prepare lesson plans about advanced concepts in occupational therapy and answer questions from students who want to enter the occupational therapy field. An educator specializing in occupational therapy might work as a professor at a college or university or as a training or clinical instructor in a medical facility.

Primary duties: A health administrator is the manager of a healthcare organization who can oversee an entire facility or a specific department. Health administrators can recruit new staff for the departments they manage, make sure that all employees follow health laws and regulations and write proposals to request funding for a facility. A health administrator can also meet with management executives and investors to discuss methods for improving a facility and its operations.

Primary duties: A consultant is an expert in a certain field who uses their expertise to offer advice to organizations that want to improve their operations. In occupational therapy, a consultant can visit rehabilitation facilities and observe their operations to determine which areas might benefit from improvement, find creative solutions to challenges that arise in a rehabilitation facility and make recommendations for ways that a facility can improve its procedures. Many consultants work as independent contractors, which means they can function as their own boss and own their own consulting business.

Primary duties: A clinical liaison is a professional in therapy who helps to place patients in the correct rehabilitation facilities. Clinical liaisons can evaluate new patients to determine what type of therapy they might need, prepare paperwork for patients newly entering a rehabilitation facility and engage in outreach in their community to publicize their services and find more patients. Most clinical liaisons work for inpatient rehabilitation facilities with acute rehab units.

Primary duties: A recruiter is a business professional who finds qualified candidates to fill job openings. Recruiters can find candidates that they think might be right for a specific job opening, reach out to potential candidates to invite them to apply for a position and interview applicants to determine whether theyre a good fit. Many recruiters also have the authority to offer jobs to candidates and negotiate their terms of employment, such as salary, benefits and scheduling.

Primary duties: A director of rehabilitation is a top-level executive who manages the operations of a rehab facility or department. Directors of rehabilitation typically review the performance of staff members to ensure they can provide high quality therapy to patients, evaluates the department to track productivity and coordinates services with other rehabilitation departments or medical facilities when patients need specialized care. A director of rehabilitation can also engage in business-related tasks like maintaining records and preparing budgets.


What careers are similar to occupational therapy?

Certified Occupational Therapists – Similar Jobs
  • Athletic Trainers.
  • Physical Therapists.
  • Recreational Therapists.
  • Social and Human Service Assistants.
  • Social Workers.
  • Occupational Therapist Assistants.
  • Orthotic and Prosthetic Specialists.
  • Speech Pathologists and Audiologists.

How do I get out of occupational therapy?

Alternative Career Paths for Occupational Therapists
  1. Business Owner/OT Entrepreneur. Some people are born to be entrepreneurs. …
  2. Home Modification Specialist. …
  3. Medical Equipment Sales. …
  4. Medical Freelance Writer. …
  5. Case Manager. …
  6. Assistive Technology Professional. …
  7. Educator. …
  8. Healthcare Administrator.

How can an ot make more money?

Best side hustles for occupational therapists
  1. Pick up PRN shifts. Check with local facilities (e.g. schools, skilled nursing facilities, private clinics, home health agencies, etc.) …
  2. Join the telehealth movement. …
  3. Become an occupational therapy consultant. …
  4. Provide home safety services. …
  5. Become an OT educator.

Are occupational therapists happy with their jobs?

As it turns out, occupational therapists rate their career happiness 2.9 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 27% of careers.

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