Nursing vs Occupational Therapy as a career?

  1. Hello,

    Does anyone have opinons on these two different fields? Has anyone struggled with choosing between them? And if so how did you rationalize one over the other? What are the pros and cons of OT that you see, as a career and as a professional?

    Thank You- doing some research and info gathering.
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    Joined: Jan '10; Posts: 28; Likes: 117


  3. by   tewdles
    Nurses have a broader scope of practice...I don't know that much about OT.
  4. by   Shange
    National Public Radio just did a story about Occupational Therapy. Do a Google search at It aired a few days ago, but I cannot recall which show it was on. It might have been on Morning Edition. Just Google it. They talked about men going into the OT field, but some of the other things that came up in the story were very interesting.
  5. by   PAERRN20
    I would go the OT route if I could do it all again. Yes a OT does have to get a Master's degree but working conditions are better I think. Not as many jobs though. Have you considered becoming an occupational therapy assistant? 2 year degree and decent salary.
  6. by   JoshC
    I work at a VA home as an on-call LPN. I'm a student so I work days or eves any day of the week I'm available. OT at my facility starts their day at 0730 and they leave no later than 1630. OT is staffed 7 days a week. Those hours alone are worth considering. There are over 40 nurses that work in my facility and maybe 1 occupational therapist. In order to make an informed decision, see if you can volunteer or job shadow and see which one fits you better.
  7. by   EinGedi
    Hi, there.

    Before I decided to pursue nursing, I did a few days of job shadowing in the local rehab hospital with a few OT's. I actually cold called a handful of OT's and facilities before someone called me back. I would definitely job shadow a few OT's to see if it would be a good fit for you! My first-hand experience was priceless.
  8. by   EinGedi
    Compensation ABSOLUTELY varies with geographical location. Here in CO, the "average" OT salary is lower than the average RN salary. I am not sure where you live, but this information may help. Especially since you need a Master's degree (and pass boards) to be an OT...the compensation may be something to consider if you want to weigh time and money spent in school.
  9. by   S.Gettes
    I have not struggled between the two at all, never really did i consider occupational therapy as an option to be honest. In my opinion there is a huge important difference between the two. In occupational therapy that is what you are, an occupational therapist, that's it plain and simple. In nursing though there are many different types of nurses. There are Registered Nurses (RN), Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Licenced Practical Nurses (LPN), Critical Care Nurses (CCN), Travel Nurses (TN), Licenced Vocational Nurses (LVN), and all of these are different. For example, a travel Nurse is one who travels to different areas and provides small period support if there is a nurse shortage. They will pack in if a full time nurse goes on motherliness leave, throughout peak work times, if a nurse has a long lasting illness, or if a nurse is on a comprehensive break. There homework is for just a short time but they are extremely well paid generally speaking. Assignments usually go for about 13 weeks. Travel Nurses frequently employed in hospitals and therapeutic clinics. Employers will provide many benefits such as free housing and health insurance. And a Registered Nurse is much different, Registered Nurses do the job in about all areas of the health care career. They act upon many tasks that include: supervising treatments such as medications, performing assured medical actions, monitoring essential signs, recommending and at the bottom of patients, taming patients about medical circumstances and keep families up-to-date on a patient’s status. Registered Nurses can concentrate in convinced medical regions. If you would like to read up on other types of nursing please go to
  10. by   want2banurse35
    I have a relative who is an occupational therapist who used to be a RN and she loves it. She makes just as much money as she did as a nurse. She likes the unrushed one on one time with the patient as well as the work hours. She says it is less stressful and not as much liability. My son goes to OT at his school and I go along with him sometimes and he absolutely loves it. He calls it the big playroom.
  11. by   LoveActually
    My sister is going for OT. I think it sounds horrendously boooorrrrrrringggg IMHO
  12. by   Otessa
    OT Pros:

    Usually M-F, no weekends, holidays, nights-possibly an occasional weekend shift but normally until noon (this is what I have seen).

    Easier to find childcare and a 'normal' life.

    I do not know the pay scale for an OT though.

  13. by   elkpark
    The OTs I've known over the years have been much happier about being OTs than most of the nurses I've known have been happy about being nurses.
  14. by   brina8615
    I am almost done with an accelerated BSN program now, and I actually started applying for an Occupational therapy program at the same time that I was applying for nursing school. I mainly decided to go with nursing because I was worried about the limited job market of OT. As others have said, with nursing, you have SO many options. Once you enter the field, if you don't like what the patient population/your hours/your environment/etc., there are a million other completely different areas of nursing to try. Once you get your master's in OT, you're options are pretty limited, I believe. Then again, another main reason I didn't go with OT was because I felt I didn't know enough about the field to commitment to a master's program.