14 Great Alternative Careers for Occupational Therapists

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Occupational therapists support patients emotionally, psychologically, or physically by improving their ability to complete everyday activities related to their life and work. A career as an occupational therapist requires special education to master the skills and techniques vital for this role. Understanding alternative careers for occupational therapists can help you better consider different options. In this article, we discuss the different careers available for these specialists that are great alternatives and guide you in choosing the right option for you.

Alternative careers for occupational therapists

Alternative careers for occupational therapists are possible in today's job market. The following jobs are great ones:

1. Vocational rehabilitation counsellor

National average salary: $28.49 per hour

Primary duties: A vocational rehabilitation counsellor is a specialist who assists people with mental, physical, and other disabilities from previous work that impair their ability to be productive in a workplace. They meet with their clients and diagnose them to determine if they are ready to perform their previous jobs or need to apply to new ones. If they need to apply to new roles, they can give recommendations and help the client pick the most suitable jobs. They can also suggest programs that can help their clients build new skills quickly.

Related: What Is a Recreation Therapist? Definitions and FAQs

2. Case manager

National average salary: $55,674 per year

Primary duties: Case managers are specialists who assist people with physical or mental conditions to find the best options for their care. They meet their clients to assess and discuss their needs and make sure they find facilities that can offer the best care for them. They can also liaise with their clients' facilities to ensure they receive the best care possible. A case manager qualifies to work with the service organizations to administer and promote care in marginalized and underserved communities.

3. Technical writer

National average salary: $60,904 per year

Primary duties: A technical writer rephrases complex technical information so that it's easier for other people to understand. With a background in occupational therapy, you can help create informational articles, pamphlets, infographics, reports, and manuals that occupational therapists can use as reference points. Specialists can also use this information in other fields when carrying out research. You can also help with editing technical documents related to occupational therapy.

4. Health services administrator

National average salary: $27.56 per hour

Primary duties: A health administrator is in charge of a specific department within a health facility. Sometimes they can oversee the entire organization's operations. Their typical jobs include ensuring employees adhere to health laws and regulations, recruiting, and sourcing funds. They also involve themselves with managing patient care, health informatics, and carrying out performance reviews. They are further required to meet investors and management executives to discuss ways of improving operations. These are tasks you can complete successfully with a degree in occupational therapy.

5. Clinical liaison

National average salary: $22.57 per hour

Primary duties: A clinical liaison is a health specialist who assists patients in finding suitable rehabilitation facilities. They meet their patients, assess them, and determine which therapy is most ideal for them. They then make sure to place patients in the correct facility. Most clinical liaison professionals work in various health care organizations, such as clinics, rehabilitation centres, and hospitals. With a certification in occupational therapy, you qualify to perform all these tasks comfortably in these facilities.

6. Director of rehabilitation

National average salary: $33.47 per hour

Primary duties: A director of rehabilitation oversees the overall operations of a rehab facility, and sometimes they can lead a department within a rehab facility. They are responsible for maintaining performance activities, tracking productivity, and ensuring only competent therapists attend to patients. They can also assist with routine tasks, such as preparing budgets and keeping records. As an occupational therapist, you can hold the office of the director of rehabilitation and oversee the operation of a rehab centre.

Related: How To Become an ABA Therapist: A Complete Guide

7. Consultant

National average salary: $26.73 per hour

Primary duties: If you don't wish to spend time looking for potential employers, you can start your own private practice. With a private practice, you can help patients find the most suitable solution or offer consultancy services upon request. For example, you can advise upcoming hospitals, clinics, and NGOs on setting up functional therapy units that can make the lives of people in need better. Importantly, it can feel more fulfilling when you run your own private practice.

8. Medical sales representative

National average salary: $59,644 per year

Primary duties: Sales representatives help companies market their products to different customers. While this job may seem stressful at first, it's a great alternative to traditional occupational therapy. As a medical sales representative, you can help medical device and equipment companies market their products to prospective customers. As you have excellent knowledge of the medical industry, you are likely to have a smooth experience coming up with and executing your marketing strategies.

9. Insurance auditor

National average salary: $35,911 per year

Primary duties: Insurance auditors help insurance companies in the approval of treatments. They do so by analyzing the notes of medical professionals to determine if the treatment recommended qualifies to be funded. You can become an insurance auditor and help insurance companies decipher the prescriptions of therapists and other health specialists. This is an exciting career path if you're passionate about ensuring everyone with insurance gets fair treatment.

10. Lecturer

National average salary: $80,100 per year

Primary duties: There are many learning institutions that need experienced occupational therapists' expertise to train future specialists. Occupational therapists who have been in the field for years have accumulated a lot of knowledge and can easily go into teaching. After spending years practicing as an occupational therapist, you can switch careers to become an educator and play a significant role in shaping the future of occupational therapist prospects.

11. Driving rehabilitation specialist

National average salary: $58,281 per year

Primary duties: Driving specialists help people after treatment to regain their ability to drive. People involved in recent brain injury, amputation, and other neurological impairments may need to be supported to be able to drive again and get from one point to another. Driving rehabilitation specialists can provide tailored care and develop alternatives to support individual needs after rehabilitation.

12. User experience specialist

National average salary: $67,963 per year

Primary duties: User experience specialists play a big role in ensuring equipment is suitable for use. As an occupational therapist, the usability of products is very crucial to your patients. When helping patients adapt to new ways of living, you always guide them in using the most usable equipment. As a user experience specialist, you can use your occupational therapist experience to help develop better products for different people. For example, you can work alongside assistive technology specialists in designing devices, equipment, and software that are ideal for people with special needs.

13. Home safety professional

National average salary: $70,911 per year

Primary duties: Home safety specialists help with the creation of a habitable environment. They assess homes and guide people on making them better. For example, they may suggest a change in furniture, remove some items in a home to make the surrounding hazard and injury-free, and recommend the reconstruction of some sections of a home. As an occupational therapist, you often recommend to your patients how to make their environment safer. For that reason, if you wish to switch and become a home safety expert, you are likely to have an easier time adapting to the job.

14. Rehab liaison specialist

National average salary: $28.97 per hour

Primary duties: A rehab liaison plays a big role in ensuring patients who can benefit by spending some time in a rehab facility get admission to the right one. They coordinate the transfer of such patients by liaising with prospective facilities. If you are passionate about helping people access better care and looking to take a break from your usual occupational therapy activities, then a rehab liaison career path may interest you.

Related: Five Principles for How to Choose a Career

Which alternative career is a great choice for you?

When it comes to choosing a career, it's crucial to consider your strengths and passions. For example, if you are a good problem solver, have strong communication skills, and adapt to different situations, a teaching role may be more appropriate for you. If you love setting goals and working independently, then consider starting your own practice.

While you can switch to different careers as an occupational therapist, it's best to take time before reaching a decision. You can even talk to a career expert if you find it challenging to make a sound decision. The expert can access your options and help you make an informed decision.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organization‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌, ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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