California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Occupational Therapists in California

May also be called: Independent Living Specialists; Industrial Therapists; Job Trainers; Life Coaches; Rehabilitation Engineers; Staff Therapists; Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists

What Would I Do?

Occupational Therapists assist people of all ages, from infants and toddlers to the elderly. They help those with mental, developmental, and permanent physical disabilities, or temporary injuries to develop or recover their daily living, work, and social skills. They frequently work with other health care professionals to develop a rehabilitation plan that meets the patient’s physical and psychological needs.

Occupational Therapists work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, public schools, mental health facilities, convalescent homes, home health agencies, physician offices, and in private practice settings. They usually work a 40-hour week; however, many jobs are part-time, per diem (per day), or on-call. Overtime work may also be required depending on the employer.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Occupational Therapist will appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve helping others and promoting learning and personal development.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2015 for Occupational Therapists in California was $92,362 annually, or $44.40 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2015Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$77,863$92,362$108,839
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2015 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits generally include medical, dental, life, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. Occupational Therapists who are self-employed must provide for their own benefits and retirement.

What is the Job Outlook?

The increase in the aging population will mean greater demand for Therapists. These people are at a greater risk for disease or injury-related disabilities that can often be helped by therapeutic intervention.

How Do I Qualify?

Occupational Therapists must be licensed to practice in California by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Board of Occupational Therapy. They must have a master's or a doctoral degree in occupational therapy approved by the Board and accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association's Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). They must also have a minimum of 960 hours of supervised fieldwork experience. In addition, they must also pass a fingerprint background check and an entry-level certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Applicants can also find employment opportunities through placement offices at colleges and universities. Those working within the industry may recommend an interested candidate for jobs. Newspaper classified ads and the Internet provide additional sources for job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


Learn More About Occupational Therapists