What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy was established as a healthcare profession in 1917. More than a century ago, the term “occupation” referred to everyday activities and how we occupy our time. Early proponents of occupational therapy recognized the therapeutic benefits of human engagement in daily life activities, a value that has significantly contributed to the profession’s growth. Occupational therapy has experienced rapid growth and diversification over the last 100+ years. Occupational therapists now collaborate with clients across the lifespan and in a wide range of settings to assist individuals of all ages and abilities in living life to the fullest.

Demand for Occupational Therapy

The demand for occupational therapy services has surged in recent years, with projections indicating an anticipated 18% growth in the profession from 2018 to 2028. Changes in the healthcare marketplace, which provide incentives for healthcare providers to focus on keeping patients healthy, have enhanced the value of occupational therapy services in achieving positive health outcomes.

With the increasing number of aging individuals, the demand for occupational therapy professionals to support seniors in leading independent and healthy lives has also grown. Furthermore, the rising rates of autism have contributed to the heightened demand for occupational therapy services.

Moreover, the prevalence of largely preventable non-communicable diseases and the strain they place on the healthcare system underscore the importance of future professionals working in prevention and wellness. Occupational therapists are uniquely positioned to address these needs due to their expertise in lifestyle management.

Where Can Your OTD Degree Take You?

In recent years, the demand for occupational therapy services has witnessed a significant upsurge, with projections indicating an anticipated 16 percent growth within the profession from 2019 to 2029. Occupational therapists play a pivotal role in assisting individuals to lead healthy and purposeful lives encompassing physical, mental, and social well-being. Their responsibilities span across age groups, catering to individuals with diverse abilities and health conditions. As the aging population continues to expand, there is an escalating need for occupational therapy professionals who can empower seniors to maintain their independence and overall health.

Additionally, the increasing prevalence of autism has amplified the demand for occupational therapy services, while the burden of preventable diseases on the healthcare system necessitates a proactive approach to prevention and wellness. Occupational therapists are uniquely positioned to address these lifestyle factors, thereby enabling individuals to thrive.

A career in occupational therapy embodies a diverse spectrum of roles integrating multiple professions into one. Occupational therapists operate within various settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, clinics, behavioral health environments, and community-based facilities. This wide array of settings, diverse age groups, and a broad spectrum of health conditions allows for continual professional growth, exploration, and the opportunity to consistently discover innovative ways to make a positive impact on the lives of others.”


Median salary of an occupational therapist


Projected growth of the profession from 2019-2029


Years to complete the OTD program

"Graduates of our OTD program will have the opportunity to work with patients of all ages in a variety of settings."
Martin Zdanowicz
Professor of Pharmaceutical and Applied Life Sciences

Pillars of the KGI OTD Experience

  • Grounding a robust education in active learning to support curiosity and inquiry to better understand and appreciate the complexity inherent in occupational engagement
  • Integrating the curriculum to enable students to transform themselves into professionals and leaders who are resourceful, ethical, flexible, and agile problem-solvers
  • Teaching knowledge and research translation from a wide range of perspectives including occupational, health, biological, and behavioral sciences to optimize occupational participation
  • Utilizing critical and reflective thinking to innovatively solve problems and create solutions in both traditional and community-based practice settings
  • Emphasizing the value of collaborative work on many levels—interprofessional, interdisciplinary, and within the community
  • Focusing on the importance of lifestyle management for prevention and wellness for all ages and across varied settings
  • Promoting the importance of social and occupational justice for individuals, communities, and populations in their myriad contexts
  • Valuing diversity and cultural humility in the classroom and across service delivery settings