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Non-Clinical Occupational Therapy Careers – Part 1

Occupational therapy and patient care typically go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Many of us enter the profession believing that we will sparkle and shine and be the best versions of ourselves when working with patients.

The reality is that patient care is not for everyone.

Don’t feel ashamed or like you’ve failed as on OT just because you’re not into patient care.

We created this article to show you that there are other ways to use your degree, outside of a clinical setting.

When we chose to go into a profession like Occupational Therapy, we always knew there were so many areas to be a clinician.

I bet you were never told about all the other non-clinical areas where occupational therapist could work.

The beauty of OT as a profession is we are masters of independence and a jack of all trades.

We can take the skills we learned from our foundational classes and apply it to a variety of other non-clinical positions to make our lasting impression that we do through our “therapeutic use of self.”

1.) Home modification


What it is:

Home modification is an emerging trend within occupational therapy.

For an individual to have maximal functional capabilities, their environment must be conducive to functioning safely.

Anyone who has seen the show “Hoarders” can attest to the fact that a safe home environment is not a given.

Home modification is deeply rooted within our roots as therapists and embedded within our scope of practice.

How to get there:

The nice thing is that you can pretty much start doing this immediately after obtaining a certification.

As a home modification specialist, you need to acquire a certification from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to become Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS).

This certification allows you to be used as a consultant for home developers or contractors.

When working with home modification you will often be working with an aging or disabled population. Another option is to become a consultant for a contractor (or contracting firm) needing to modify an individual’s home to allow for maximal functional performance of individuals with developmental, degenerative, or acquired disorders.

2.) Professor/Educator

Lecture hall

What it is:

Educating clinicians is a fantastic way to use your education and experience, without being in the clinic. 

Being a professor has a lot of perks: holidays off, paid sick time, summers off (depending on the school), and an extremely flexible schedule.

However, academia isn’t for everyone.

Obviously, you have to be comfortable speaking to groups, dealing with grade grubbers, consoling tearful students who may not pass, and fielding questions about your material.

Positions can often be tough to obtain; many occupational therapy programs hire their own graduates because they are familiar with the teaching style and the school’s program.

How to get there:

Most graduate programs are looking for educators to have post-graduate degrees such as a Ph.D, Ed.D, DPH, or DH.Sc. However, as adjunct faculty, you may be eligible to teach without an advanced degree.

Make sure to volunteer to mentor students at your clinic, and consider becoming a clinical instructor.

If you’re still in school, you may want to consider tutoring or leading study groups to build your skills for educating others.

This will also be an addition selling point on your resume as academic or work experience and retool your resume as a curriculum vitae (CV) prior to applying for positions.

Start small, and work as a lab instructor or teaching assistant before throwing your hat in for the big, bad professor positions.

If you’re interested in being an educator, but don’t have an OT school locally, don’t worry. Savvy OTs with the itch to teach can certainly look elsewhere for opportunities!

Consider applying to community colleges and undergraduate programs. Remember that you are knowledgeable in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, psychology, biology….

3.) Driver rehabilitation

driving sim(7061527299)

What it is:

Driver rehabilitation is an interesting and extremely unique area of practice. Every client you will work with different background and story as to why they need driver rehabilitation.

The most interesting part of this area of practice is that you are in final stages of an individual’s rehabilitation process.

Some of the clients you might be working with might have been told they might never drive or drive again!

How to get there:

Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialists (CDRS) are hard to come by. As the aging population and individuals wanting to return to driving, you can help improve their community mobility by allowing them to be independent again.

Requirements to become a CDRS include 1,664 hours of providing direct driving rehabilitation prior to sitting for the CDRS exam. Once passing the exam your certification will be listed on a national registry.

4.) Equipment sales


What it is:

Equipment sales can be an exciting job, with ample opportunities for compensation.

You can truly put your clinical knowledge to work when it comes to sales.

Many companies prefer clinicians as their sales managers because of their awareness of the need for certain equipment for specific populations or facilities.

A sales reps still help clients gain maximal independence and indirectly utilizes OT clinical skills. Plus knowing all the latest and greatest adaptive equipment is pretty awesome, especially with how rapidly technology is changing nowadays.

How to get there:

Anyone with a history of either sales, retail, or customer service prior to being an occupational therapist makes you applicable to working as a sales manager.

The great part of this type of position is that your knowledge of the equipment sales you as knowledgeable of the possible uses of the equipment.

Continue reading part 2 of our series “Non-Clinical Occupational Therapy Careers”.


About Matthew Alpert, OTR/L

Matthew Alpert, OTR/L
Graduate of Touro College currently practicing as an Occupational therapist at C.J. Allen Upper Extremity & Hand Therapy and educating young minds as Adjunct faculty at Nassau Community College.

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  1. Linh nguyen

    Love this post! Very helpful, thank you! What kinds of equipment sales companies offer jobs for OTs? Are these for items like adaptive equipment?

    • Dominic Lloyd-Randolfi

      Hi Linh. Glad you liked the article! A lot of jobs in sales for OTs revolves around adaptive equipment. Last year in school I took a class on robotics and most of the salesmen and women that spoke to us were former OTs. Pretty cool, right? If you ever go to the AOTA conference, you will see a lot of product booths with people selling all sorts of stuff!


    That’s awesome post!!!! Can COTA be certified in CAPS?

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