April 17, 2023

Where Do Occupational Therapists Work?

By B&SC Blog Team

Where Do Occupational Therapists Work?

Occupational therapy is a rewarding option when you want a career that involves helping people improve their quality of life. This work allows you to help patients with different kinds of disabilities, injuries, or illnesses learn to perform everyday tasks and do exercises that ease their pain. Learning more about the best places to work as an occupational therapist can help you explore potential career paths in this healthcare field.

Typical Work Environment for Occupational Therapists

Where do occupational therapists work? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly half of all occupational therapists work in an occupational therapy office or hospital. Occupational therapists handle various tasks, including evaluating the patients’ needs and conditions to determine the proper care, educating family members on patient care and any necessary accommodations, and showing patients how to do specific exercises properly, such as stretches.

Occupational therapists also have other duties and responsibilities, such as developing patient treatment plans and recommending devices or equipment to help patients with daily tasks or movement. These therapists might also teach patients how to perform tasks the clients might have trouble with, such as getting dressed. Bear in mind that no matter where you work, being an occupational therapist means you’re going to be on your feet much of the time. You can expect to move patients around and lift heavy items or equipment as part of the job.

Although these tasks and responsibilities are typical for occupational therapists, their work environments can differ. While about half of these therapists work in hospitals or occupational therapy offices, the rest work in different environments. The type of environment you might want to work in as an occupational therapist depends on various factors, such as the kinds of patients you prefer to work with, the types of tasks you want to do, and whether you wish to work in one facility or multiple facilities. You might also choose to work in an environment that provides you with the kind of schedule you want. For example, most occupational therapists work during regular office hours, while others work weekends or nights. The following are some places where occupational therapists can work.


Those who enjoy working with kids might look into providing occupational therapy services in schools. These therapists work in elementary, middle, and high schools, providing students with resources and activities to help improve their emotional and physical well-being. For example, school occupational therapists might have students do activities to help them develop self-confidence, self-discipline, social skills, and self-care skills. They might also have students do physical exercises to benefit their health.

School occupational therapists might evaluate classrooms or other areas and recommend modifications or adjustments that allow all students to participate, including those with difficulties due to disabilities or other conditions. These changes can help improve the overall learning environment for students.


Occupational therapists interested in helping employees might explore the possibility of focusing on this type of therapy in the workplace. Workplace occupational therapists might assist employees returning to work after an injury or illness or they might collaborate with employers to ensure a safe environment for those with disabilities or injuries by making modifications or adjustments to work areas.

These therapists might also help employers take steps to lower the risk of illnesses and injuries in the workplace. In some cases, occupational therapists in workplaces might spend their time assisting individuals with disabilities who want to be employed.


Occupational therapists in hospitals assist patients recovering from an illness, injury, or procedure who might have trouble doing specific tasks due to mobility issues or other limitations as they heal. For example, occupational therapists might help them get out of bed, brush their teeth, move around, take care of their hygiene, and eat meals.

Assisting patients with these tasks is an integral part of their recovery. They might not need as much help performing everyday tasks as they heal. In some cases, though, occupational therapists might help patients adapt to daily activities in modified ways, depending on their physical limitations after an injury or severe illness.

Home Healthcare

Those who prefer working with multiple clients and visiting them at their homes instead of working in an office setting might look into home healthcare services. Working as an occupational therapist in this type of setting involves helping patients with tasks to continue living independently rather than moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

In-home healthcare occupational therapists go to each patient’s home and provide assistance as needed. Their responsibilities might involve helping patients manage medications, plan and prepare meals, do some physical activity, or manage stress. These therapists might also help patients learn new activities, do exercises, or change their daily routines at home to improve their physical and mental well-being.

Therapist Offices

Occupational therapy can involve helping patients who are working on improving their mental health. These occupational therapists might assist patients in managing the effects of an illness on their everyday lives; for example, they help patients find new ways to do the usual activities they enjoy. They might also guide patients into setting goals, making decisions, and recognizing their values. Other tasks in this type of setting might include providing patients with information on resources for support or assisting patients with long-term planning.

Those who want an active role in helping patients recover from mental illness might prefer working in this environment, as it allows them to assist patients in various ways that promote mental and emotional well-being.

Assisted Living and Retirement Communities

Assisted living facilities provide long-term care while giving residents some degree of independence. Retirement communities are communities that provide housing for older individuals. These communities might provide resources and amenities that help residents with specific tasks or activities, such as transportation.

Occupational therapists who work in assisted living facilities or retirement communities spend their time helping senior citizens who have difficulty performing everyday tasks, such as preparing meals, bathing, or getting dressed. They might also help these residents do stretches or other exercises for pain relief if they have arthritis or other chronic conditions. Working in an assisted living facility or a retirement community might be an excellent option for those who want to help elderly patients maintain their independence as they age.

Start Your Journey Today

When you want to work in occupational therapy, consider the role of an occupational therapist assistant. Bryant & Stratton College offers an occupational therapy assistant associate degree to help you learn the skills you’ll need, no matter what kind of environment you work in. This degree program includes courses on occupational therapy fieldwork, adaptive intervention, psychosocial intervention, occupational therapy process, and more.

This program provides the education needed to apply occupational therapy principles and theories to your work. You’ll also develop the professional skills required to provide high standards of care to patients, whether you work in an office of occupational therapy, school, hospital, or another facility. After earning your degree, you’ll also have the option to earn a bachelor’s degree followed by a graduate degree and certification to advance your career and become an occupational therapist.

If you want to learn more about the occupational therapy assistant associate degree, request more information from Bryant & Stratton College. We can help you start the admissions process and answer any questions you may have about this degree program offered at our campuses in Wisconsin, Ohio, and New York.

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