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Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists enable people who experience obstacles (due to impairment of body structure, a change in function, or barriers in the social and physical environment) to participate in the activities of everyday life.

Related Video(s)
Occupational Therapist (4:52)

  • Avg. Salary $84,994.00
  • Avg. Wage $43.93
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 2,400
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As


NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Occupational Therapists (3143) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Occupational Therapists (D043) 
  • 2011 NOC: Occupational therapists (3143) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Occupational Therapist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Occupational Therapists

Interest in consulting with members on interdisciplinary teams to establish personalized care plans, and to advise on health promotion programs


Interest in co-ordinating information to develop intervention programs to address client needs related to self-care, work and leisure activities


Interest in manipulating and maintaining equipment used in programs involving manual and creative arts, industrial and vocational skills, and recreational activities

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 14, 2016

Occupational therapists enable individuals, groups and communities to develop the means and opportunities to identify, engage in and improve their function in all aspects of life. In general, this involves:

  • evaluating each client's level of functioning in areas of self-care, work, study, volunteerism and leisure
  • developing intervention programs
  • monitoring client progress, evaluating outcomes and changing programs as needed
  • making recommendations, as an independent consultant or in conjunction with a multidisciplinary team of professionals, regarding client discharge, home or school management, transfer to alternate programs, integration into the community or return to work.

Intervention programs may include:

  • changes that make environments more accessible and participation in activities easier for clients 
  • the use of purposeful occupations (meaningful activities) that help clients restore or maintain function and prevent disability
  • the use of assistive technology to enable participation in occupations 
  • vocational assessment and retraining to develop or improve work related skills
  • self-help strategies that train or retrain clients in daily living activities
  • health promotion and disability prevention strategies
  • group interventions that facilitate social adjustment, alleviate stress through self-management techniques and promote client well being by providing choices.

For example, occupational therapists may:

  • enable clients to learn new ways to perform daily chores, manage their finances and shop for groceries
  • help clients develop skills to cope with anxiety, drug or alcohol abuse, stress, decreased energy or normal aging
  • work with parents, teachers and other professionals to help children achieve success at home, in school and in the community
  • adapt environments in schools, homes, workplaces and communities to assist people in their daily living (for example, by changing the layout of a home to make it more accessible or help prevent further injury)
  • help clients regain the use of an injured body part or improve strength, endurance, movement and self-confidence
  • use assistive technologies such as mobility devices and safety equipment to promote participation in meaningful activities.

Some occupational therapists specialize in working with a specific age group or clients who have a specific disability (for example, arthritis, mental health problems or spinal cord injuries). Occupational therapists also may be required to supervise assistants.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Occupational therapists usually work standard office hours although some positions require evening and weekend work. In clinical settings, they may spend much of their working day standing, bending and assisting patients. Lifting items that weigh up to 20 kilograms or more may be required in some employment settings.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Occupational therapists need the following characteristics:

  • excellent problem-solving skills
  • good organizational skills
  • good interpersonal skills
  • the ability to communicate well in person and in writing
  • the ability to work with little supervision
  • creativity
  • empathy.

They should enjoy working with people, finding innovative ways to deal with challenges and taking a methodical approach to their work.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Occupational therapists must complete an accredited occupational therapy program. The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) will grant academic accreditation only to occupational therapy programs that lead to a master's degree in occupational therapy.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

University of Alberta

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists enable people who experience obstacles (due to impairment of body structure, a change in function, or barriers in the social and physical environment) to participate in the activities of everyday life.


Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and Occupational Therapists Profession Regulation, only regulated members of the Alberta College of Occupational Therapists (ACOT) may call themselves occupational therapists. Regulated members provide health services listed in Schedule 15 of the Health Professions Act.

What You Need

Registration requires successful completion of: (1) an approved occupational therapy degree program, (2) 1,000 hours of supervised clinical practice, and (3) an approved certification examination. Applicants who have been out of practice for a period of time also may have to demonstrate that they are currently competent to practice. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the ACOT website or contact ACOT.

Working in Alberta

Occupational therapists registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered occupational therapists in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated occupational therapists, see Occupational Therapist Registration Process on the website.

Contact Details

Alberta College of Occupational Therapists (ACOT)
300, 10436 - 81 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T6E 1X6
Phone number: 780-436-8381
Toll-free phone number (within Alberta): 1-800-561-5429
Fax number: 780-434-0658

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Occupational therapists may be employed by or work on a contract basis for:

  • community agencies
  • health care organizations such as hospitals, continuing care facilities, rehabilitation centres and clinics
  • schools or post-secondary institutions
  • government or insurance agencies
  • the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB)
  • lawyers' offices
  • professional organizations.

Occupational therapists employed in community programs or private practice may offer services such as medical or legal evaluations. Those who are self-employed often provide consulting services to various levels of government.

In Alberta, 83% of people employed as occupational therapists work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 2,400 Albertans are employed in the Occupational therapists occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.1% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 74 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

Occupational therapists

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $22.93 $39.42 $32.20 $33.33
Overall $41.03 $48.42 $43.93 $43.43
Top $45.93 $52.63 $49.61 $49.65

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration
Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
    • Recreation Leadership
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Alberta College of Occupational Therapists (ACOT) website:  

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) website:

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website:

Society of Occupational Therapists (SAOT) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Apr 11, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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