College of Allied Health Sciences
Department of Occupational Therapy

Main Photo 1b
Printer Friendly


About the Profession

Descrip of OTa

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapists help people "live life to its fullest!" Occupational therapy is skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives. Occupational therapy assists people in developing the "skills for the job of living" necessary for independent and satisfying lives.

Children and adults with any kind of disability or development delay may struggle with the tasks of everyday life. They may have physical or mental problems that make it hard to do daily things.  They may have suffered an injury or been in an accident. No matter what the cause, it is important for people to be able to do the activities that they need and want to do in their life. As an occupational therapist, you can help them! Therapists collaborate with individuals with disabilities or who are aging in the use of adaptive equipment, making environmental changes, and regaining or building skills.

Where Will I Work?
Occupational therapists work in hospitals, rehabilitation or mental health programs, public schools, nursing care facilities, community settings, private clinics, physician's office, and in industries that prevent work-related dysfunctions.

How Much Will I Make?
Salaries for entry-level occupational therapists in North Carolina may range from $52,000 to $70,000 for the certified occupational therapist (OTR), depending on location and responsibilities.

Employment Outlook
Current demand for OTRs exceeds the supply in some areas. Demand is expected to remain strong for the next decade.

What Should I Major In?
Recommended majors are psychology, health services management, recreational therapy, sociology, child development and family relations, education, and rehabilitation studies. However, students are welcome from any major as long as they meet the occupational therapy course work required for entry.

How Can I Learn More About the Profession?
OCCT 3000-Exploring Occupational Therapy gives an overview of the profession. You may also call the OT office to meet with the admissions director; visit OT clinics locally or in your hometown; talk with OT students; and visit the American Occupational Therapy Association website at

Dr. Denise Donica, Director of Admissions  

Professional Organizations


Professional Organiationsa

American Occupational Therapy Association

AOTA is a national professional society established in 1917 to represent the interests and concerns of occupational therapy practitioners, and to improve the quality of occupational therapy services. Benefits of membership include advocacy for the profession, continuing education opportunities, toll-free information and consultation, on-line services through AOTA's web page, monthly subscription to American Journal of Occupational Therapy, access to advertised jobs in OT Practice, discounts on professional publications, professional liability insurance, and access to grants, loans, and scholarships.

North Carolina Occupational Therapy Association

NCOTA is the state organization for occupational therapy in North Carolina. Membership benefits include an interactive website, newsletter, discounts to local conferences and continuing education, and a discounted membership for the first year of their professional careers.

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation

AOTF was established in 1965 by AOTA as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to charitable, scientific, literary, and educational purposes. The mission of AOTF is to expand and refine the body of knowledge of occupational therapy and to promote understanding of the value of occupation in the interest of the public good. AOTF offers over 90 scholarships from the AOTF Scholarship Fund and from the ASCOTA and State Association Funds administered by the Foundation. To be eligible, students must be a member of AOTA, be currently enrolled in an OT program, demonstrate a need for financial assistance, have a record of outstanding scholastic ability, and complete the application with supporting documentation. For more information and/or to receive a scholarship application, contact AOTF at 4720 Montgomery Lane, PO Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220 or call the AOTF Scholarship information line at (301) 652-6611 ext. 199 or the Scholarships Coordinator at (301) 652-2682 ext. 2556.

The Wilma L. West Library is part of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation and is located on the fifth floor of the National Headquarters of the American Occupational Therapy Association in Bethesda. The primary mission of the Wilma L. West Library is to acquire, organize, and preserve literature and other informational resources concerning the education, theory, and practice of occupational therapy. With this in-depth collection as its base, the library staff offers a variety of services that provide support to OT researchers, practitioners, students, consumers, and other health care professionals. Services include: Interlibrary loans, literature searches on OT BibSys only and other databases, photocopying of articles specific to occupational therapy, and quick reference questions on matters not available at local libraries.