Occupational Therapists

Occupation:Occupational Therapists

About the job

Nature of work:

Occupational therapists develop individual and group programs with people affected by illness, injury, developmental disorders, emotional or psychological problems and ageing to maintain, restore or increase their ability to care for themselves and to engage in work, school or leisure. They also develop and implement health promotion programs with individuals, community groups and employers. Occupational therapists may specialize in working with specific populations such as children or adults, or persons with distinct problems such as dementia, traumatic brain injury, and chronic pain, or provide special interventions such as return-to-work programs. They are employed in health care facilities, in schools, and by private and social services agencies, or they may be self-employed.


To work in occupational therapy, you must have a genuine and sensitive interest in people and their ability to achieve. You must be able to communicate effectively with people and demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility, good judgement, patience, and self-discipline. Occupational therapists must be creative and unique in their approach to each client.

To work as an occupational therapists you require a university degree in occupational therapy including supervised fieldwork and must be registered with the provincial licensing body.

Other considerations:


Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is above average. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia, with employment around 400, and so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next five years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With 15% of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Occupational Therapists may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are most typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 69% of individuals in this occupational group who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 was $59,439. The median income for the occupation overall was $54,865
(Source: 2011 National Household Survey)

Estimated employment in 2011Estimated change in employment between 2011 and 2016Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2011-2016Estimated rate of unemployment in 2014 Estimated hourly earnings in 2013
(learn more)
Below Average
Percent employed full-time: 67.2 %
Percent self employed:9.8 %
Where will I likely work?
Area of Employment% Employed
Southern Region11.3
Northern Region7.5
Cape Breton15.1
Industry of Employment% Employed
Health Care and Social Assistance95.1
What are the workers like?
Age% Employed
Gender% Employed
Education% Employed
Less than high school graduation certificate0.0
High school graduation certificate or equivalent0.0
Trades certificate or diploma0.0
Non-university certificate or diploma0.0
University certificate or diploma below bachelor0.0
University bachelor's degree61.8
University post graduate degrees38.2
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Occupational Therapist
Right to Title and Practice:This occupation is regulated in Nova Scotia. Certification attests that the holder has met provincial requirements for the occupation. A certificate is required to work in this occupation.
Regulating body:
College of Occupational Therapists of Nova Scotia
6960 Mumford Road, Suite 2132B
Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
(902) 455-0556
(902) 455-0621
Useful contacts:
College of Occupational Therapists of Nova Scotia
Mumford Professional Centre 6960 Mumford Road, Suite 2132B
Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Tel: (902) 455-0556
Fax: (902) 455-0621
Nova Scotia Society of Occupational Therapists
6960 Mumford Road, Suite 2132B
Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Tel: (866) 936-7768
Fax: (902) 453-5899
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
3400-1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1S 5R1
Tel: (613) 523-2268
Fax: (613) 523-2552
Dalhousie University, School of Occupational Therapy
5869 University Ave, Forrest Building Room 215. P.O Box 15000
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Tel: (902) 494-8804
Fax: (902) 494-1229
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Occupational therapy/therapist
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to assist patients limited by physical, cognitive, psychosocial, mental, developmental, and learning disabilities, as well as adverse environmental conditions, to maximize their independence and maintain optimum health through a planned mix of acquired skills, performance motivation, environmental adaptations, assistive technologies, and physical agents. These programs include courses in the basic medical sciences, psychology, sociology, patient assessment and evaluation, standardized and non-standardized tests and measurements, assistive and rehabilitative technologies, ergonomics, environmental health, special education, vocational counselling, health education and promotion, and professional standards and ethics.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737

Work Occupation Video(s)

Occupational Therapist