Abstract

OBJECTIVE. This study determined the current status of the occupational therapy workforce in the United States with a demand-based report using current job data.

METHOD. A 31-question survey was sent to rehabilitation administrators and managers from a proportional random sample of 556 facilities that hire occupational therapy practitioners in 29 states. Data were collected from November 2005 to February 2006 using structured mailing and follow-up procedures.

RESULTS. The response rate was 55%. The vacancy rate was 8.9% for occupational therapists and 7.7% for occupational therapy assistants. Forty-five percent of respondents predicted an increase in occupational therapy positions in the next 2 years, and 30% predicted an increase in occupational therapy assistant positions. Sixty-seven percent reported difficulty hiring occupational therapists, and 62% reported difficulty hiring occupational therapy assistants.

DISCUSSION. This study identifies a serious shortage of occupational therapy practitioners at a time when predictions of workforce demands continue to grow.

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