OT vs. PT Career Paths

If you want to work with patients who require rehabilitation services, occupational therapy and physical therapy are both solid career options. But which one should you choose? Due to an overlap in responsibilities, people often view these two forms of therapy as the same—when, in fact, they are inherently different.

Here is a direct OT vs. PT comparison to help you choose the best career path.

 Occupational TherapyPhysical Therapy
FocusDaily living skillsSpecific body movements  
Patient ProfileIndividuals with physical impairments.
Individuals with developmental delays.
Individuals with cognitive disabilities.  
Individuals with physical impairments.
Individuals with chronic pain.
Job SummaryEvaluate patient needs from a mental, cognitive, and/or physical standpoint.
Develop treatment plans with relevant health-based interventions.
Evaluate physical movement restrictions in injured or ill patients.
Develop exercise and wellness plans that ease pain and boost mobility.  
Job ExamplesHelp amputees adjust to an artificial limb.
Help toddlers build socialization skills.
Help seniors adapt to memory loss.  
Help injured athletes regain muscle strength.
Help obese individuals become more active.
Help senior citizens manage arthritis pain.
Job Settings  Homes, Hospitals, Nursing homes, Therapist offices, Rehabilitation centers, Schools  Homes, Hospitals, Nursing homes, Outpatient clinics, Fitness facilities, Schools

OT vs. OTA

Within the occupational therapy space, you can choose to become an occupational therapist (OT) or an occupational therapy assistant (OTA). While the occupational therapist evaluates the patients and develops their treatment plans, the occupational therapy assistant handles the direct patient care.

Nationwide Statistics

 EducationMedian annual wageJob growth, 2016-2026
OTMaster of Science Degree$84,27024%
OTAAssociate of Science Degree$60, 22028%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018

PT vs. PTA

Within the field of physical therapy, you can choose to become a physical therapist (PT) or physical therapist assistant (PTA). A PTA works under the direction and supervision of a PT. While the physical therapist performs the patient assessments and develops the treatment plans, the physical therapist assistant handles the direct patient care.

Nationwide Statistics

 EducationMedian annual wageJob Growth, 2016-2026
PTMaster of Science Degree$87,93028%
PTAAssociate of Science Degree$58,04030%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018

Contact us to learn more about OT vs. PT.   

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