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Non-Traditional Careers in Occupational Therapy

From the ShannonMarieOT Blog.


If you’re interested in pursuing a career in occupational therapy, or if you’re already 30 years into your career but are in need of a change, you may be wondering what types of non-clinical opportunities exist for occupational therapists.


There are significant opportunities for non-traditional careers in occupational therapy. Whether you’re interested in connecting with fellow practitioners or patients through social media, working directly with occupational therapy students as a professor, or even starting your own occupational therapy practice, there is something for everyone.


A non-traditional career in OT is a great way to use your clinical experience and training to cultivate your dream role. Read on to discover ways you can let passion guide your career path.


Entrepreneurial Careers


Entrepreneurship is a great route for individuals with an eye for opportunity and tolerance for risk. You can do the following as an OT entrepreneur:

  • Start your own OT practice

  • Work as an independent contractor for one or more schools, agencies, or organizations


Consulting Careers


There are nearly endless opportunities for consulting as an OT. Some potential positions include:

  • Ergonomic Consultant

  • Assistive Technology Consultant

  • Home/Workplace Modifications Consultant

  • Driver Rehabilitation and Training Consultant

  • Product Development Consultant

  • School Consultant

  • Seating Mobility Specialist

  • Recruiter

  • Consult in Your Area of Expertise


Media Careers


As an OT there are many ways for you to communicate your knowledge to patients and peers through media. Consider the following opportunities in media:

  • Social Media Influencer

  • Blogger

  • Podcaster

  • Freelance Writer

  • Web or App Designer

  • Videographer

  • Social Media Influencer


Social Media Influencer


You can develop a presence on one or several social media platforms—such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or TikTok—to share your knowledge and inspire others. If you also have a blog or podcast, you can link to your content through social media to drive more traffic and awareness.


If your channel garners enough engagement, it’s also possible that relevant companies will sponsor you or send you products to promote. Here are a few examples of OT blogs and individuals with a significant presence on social media:


Educational Careers


OT educators are needed in business and academic settings. You can work with OT students or professionals in the following capacities:

  • Continuing Education Instructor

  • Career Coach

  • Mentor

  • Professor

  • Community or Technical College Teacher


A non-clinical OT career can help you avoid burnout and remain engaged, combine passions, take more control of your income, and find new ways to advance your career. If this excites you, consider pursuing a creative career in OT. For more information check out 22 Creative Careers in Occupational Therapy.


Image Credit: University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences / 22 Creative Careers in Occupational Therapy



***Note this is a copy from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences Blog whom reached out to me to share to my audience. To see the original and extended content from this post please click here.


***** Follow-up Note: Being called an Influencer is weird, and can lead to me feeling like I am not doing enough to “hold” that title but I am more than a “side job” title and to be honest it is mostly fun:)! I must say that I never thought that part of my OT career would involve writing product reviews and assisting in production marketing management of different apparel companies – much less me showing my face so much on Instagram, but here we are!


Special thanks to Julia Morrissey for reaching out and sharing this article with me.


A version of this article first appeared on the blog Shannen Marie OT. It is reproduced here with the permission of the author.



Shannen Marie Coley received her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of South Alabama in December 2016. Since graduation, Shannen has been working in adult rehabilitation in both hospital and facility settings. She works with individuals from various backgrounds who have diverse neurological, orthopedic, and cardiopulmonary conditions. Shannen is LSVT Big Certified and finds the most joy in working with clients and families with neurological changes. She enjoys writing and creating content for OT advocacy and learning purposes on her blog Shannen Marie OT and on her Instagram @shannenmarie_ot. Shannen considers herself a lifelong learner who seeks mentorship, enjoys being a mentee, hopes to dabble in guest lecturing in the imminent future, and aspires to continue her education with a post-professional OTD or PhD later on in her career. Shannen is supported by her husband, James, whose occupational balance she helps monitor and facilitate during his medical residency training.