Canadian OT wanting to work in California, USA

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DI in Brampton, Ontario

31 months ago

Hi OT colleagues,
I am a Canadian OT and recently passed the OTR exam for USA. I submitted my papers for California license. I am really eager to start asap. I am interested in doing travelling jobs in California, just to familiarize myself with the USA health care, new environment, etc. However, I definitely need suggestions so please let me know what is better? - working as a travelling OT or getting more of a permanent position? Any red flags/warnings/suggestions/anything along the lines are most welcome. Also, if you want to recommend any agencies/places to work at in California, please recommend those as well. Hope someone responds, I'd definitely like some advice, especially from those who have already had some experience in the field of OT, or even have the same background as me, i.e. Canadian OT working in the US. Please respond :) Thanks.

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WannabeOT in Milton, Ontario

27 months ago

Hey DI,

I am happy I found a fellow Canadian on this forum! I want to become an OT and will be applying to Canadian OT schools this coming year. However, Im worried I won't get in so I may also apply to the OT program at SUNY in buffalo. When i decided on becoming an OT, one of my future goals involved me going to the states to work as an OT. I have recently been researching the OT job market in canada, and have been reading about a decline in the current available work for OTs. This is worrying me as I do not want to spend all this money for my masters and be unable to find a job when I graduate. I was hoping if you could give me some background on where you got your degree from and how hard it was for you to transition to the states (do the exams, get your license, find a job in California-if you found one yet). Your response would be greatly appreciated! Ive been trying to find canadian OTs who work in the states so I could ask them questions and you are the first I've found after months of searching!

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Tom in Kitchener, Ontario

27 months ago

wi123, can you expand on the job market in toronto? i am a prospective OT student and am worried hearing this? is it that there are fewer jobs, or more applicants, or both?? and is this problem concentrated in Toronto only? what about province-wide and nation wide? let me know

thx!

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Tom in Kitchener, Ontario

27 months ago

wi123, can you expand on the job market in toronto? i am a prospective OT student and am worried hearing this? is it that there are fewer jobs, or more applicants, or both?? and is this problem concentrated in Toronto only? what about province-wide and nation wide? let me know

thx!

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tom in Kitchener, Ontario

27 months ago

wi123, can you expand on the job market in toronto? i am a prospective OT student and am worried hearing this? is it that there are fewer jobs, or more applicants, or both?? and is this problem concentrated in Toronto only? what about province-wide and nation wide? let me know

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Yes in Toronto, Ontario

27 months ago

It is Very difficult to get OT work in Toronto. I graduated in 2008 and worked here for 2.5 years. I was laid off late 2010. I have still not found another OT job.

Of the 10 graduates who worked in Toronto from my graduating class, there is only 1 left who is employed here. The rest have been laid off or had to move to get work.

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Teeny in Scarborough, Ontario

27 months ago

I graduated in 2011 and no one I know of has landed more than a casual job in OT in Toronto

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Tom in Kitchener, Ontario

27 months ago

this is tragic. do you know the situation in other cities on ontario, such as london, ktchener, etc?

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OTgirl in Toronto, Ontario

26 months ago

I recently just graduated from OT in Ontario 2011. A handful of my colleagues (i would say about 5) that I know of found an OT job here in Toronto/ajax area/hamilton, half doing fulltime, half doing part time. I myself found casual OT job in autoinsurance on the weekend and landed a fulltime job doing something related to OT (coordinator) but not actual OT work. I know maybe 7-8 colleagues relocated to another province.

I've been applying to london, kitchener, hamilton, brampton, oakville, waterloo this past year. Still no luck. I get interviews but there are always others who are more qualified.

The field of OT isn't bad. It's very meaningful and it's very diverse but in Ontario it's so saturated. I know of a colleague who got a job where she had to relocate in Ontario and got laid off. If you don't mind relocating to another province or going to the US, then I still say OT is a good field to get into.

Keep in mind that our salary does cap off very quickly and this is a field with many young people, so people aren't going to retire anytime soon. There is also a trend of increasingly more casual/part time OT jobs, which yes, you can do that for a few years while you're young, but when you have a family, you want benefits and you want the stability of a job.

At this point, I don't know if I regret getting into OT but it's definitely hard to get started and especially if you want to work in a specific area such as peds, geriatrics, or school OT, then it'll be hard to find something that suits your interests. Basically you just take what you can get.

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Teeny in Scarborough, Ontario

26 months ago

Incredibly hard to get started and pay off your debt. I would choose differently if I could have, PT, SLP, AUD if you plan on being successful in Ontario

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Teeny in Scarborough, Ontario

26 months ago

Incredibly hard to get started and pay off your debt. I would choose differently if I could have, PT, SLP, AUD if you plan on being successful in Ontario

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acceptedtoOT in Toronto, Ontario

26 months ago

Hi guys,

I'm glad I came across this forum. I was in a little bit of a conundrum as I got accepted into the accelerated nursing and occupational therapy program in the school of my choice. I see myself liking either profession but I want a career that has a promising job prospect in Ontario as I do not want to work hard to ultimately end up with no job to pay my debts. Based on this, which profession would you suggest?

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Person in Toronto, Ontario

26 months ago

Hey!

Re. OT vs. nursing - I suggest nursing if you want to build your life in Ontario! There are no OT jobs in Toronto and very few in Ontario. Of the 10 grads from my program (Mac) that came back to Toronto only one is still here and employed. The rest have had to move to be employed in the profession !

So I say go into nursing! Enjoy !!

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WannabeOT in Milton, Ontario

26 months ago

Hey Person or anyone else from canada that can answer this:

Do you know of anyone who graduated from an OT program in canada and then went to go work in the states? Was it a slow/ long process? and are there more job prospects over there?

Also, Anyone who has or knows someone that has gone to d'youville college for OT...was it worth it? please comment on the job prospects in both US and canada after graduating from this school please. Thank you!

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Teeny in Toronto, Ontario

26 months ago

I know of a few in my graduating class who went to the US. They had to pass the NBCOT and couldn't work until their results came back. That being said they came in December and still started working before the majority of us Canadian grads in Toronto. And they are paid about 15 K more. Theres more to the process that I don't know of including getting a VISA but I'm sure there are tons of programs that will figure that out for you.

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specialk in Ottawa, Ontario

25 months ago

Person in Toronto, Ontario said: Hey!

Re. OT vs. nursing - I suggest nursing if you want to build your life in Ontario! There are no OT jobs in Toronto and very few in Ontario. Of the 10 grads from my program (Mac) that came back to Toronto only one is still here and employed. The rest have had to move to be employed in the profession !

So I say go into nursing! Enjoy !!

I agree that full time permanent OT jobs are hard to come by - unless you are willing to relocate, but as an OT working in an interdisciplinary setting, and as a strong advocate of the principles of our profession - the same individual who is suited for occupational therapy is not the same person who works in nursing. These are both helping careers, but the model of care that they are based on are extremely different. You need to know the difference before you choose. Healthcare wouldn't be possible without nurses, but the bio-psycho-social framework from which OT's practice, has the power to really make a difference.

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Bean3285 in Moscow, Idaho

14 months ago

I am a US citizen trying to choose a graduate program for OT. I like the idea of moving to Canada for the life experience but I ultimately want to work in the US. Is it a bad idea to get my education in Canada and move back to the States?

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dw in Montréal, Quebec

14 months ago

specialk in Ottawa, Ontario said: I agree that full time permanent OT jobs are hard to come by - unless you are willing to relocate, but as an OT working in an interdisciplinary setting, and as a strong advocate of the principles of our profession - the same individual who is suited for occupational therapy is not the same person who works in nursing. These are both helping careers, but the model of care that they are based on are extremely different. You need to know the difference before you choose. Healthcare wouldn't be possible without nurses, but the bio-psycho-social framework from which OT's practice, has the power to really make a difference.

The OT Job market is phenomenal in Quebec, employers will almost beg you to work for them but you need to speak french....I left ontario to work here.

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OT vs nursing in Mississauga, Ontario

7 months ago

specialk in Ottawa, Ontario said: I agree that full time permanent OT jobs are hard to come by - unless you are willing to relocate, but as an OT working in an interdisciplinary setting, and as a strong advocate of the principles of our profession - the same individual who is suited for occupational therapy is not the same person who works in nursing. These are both helping careers, but the model of care that they are based on are extremely different. You need to know the difference before you choose. Healthcare wouldn't be possible without nurses, but the bio-psycho-social framework from which OT's practice, has the power to really make a difference.

You're exactly what I've been looking for! I'm applying to both nursing and OT as my option when I graduate in April, but having never volunteered in a rehab or hospital setting I'm not sure what the fundamental difference between the two is, and what type of person would best fill those roles. What type of qualities are required for OT vs nursing?

I like to think I enjoy being the calm person in a stressful situation and change in my environment, however I'm terrified of burn out and of not being physically or mentally capable. On the other hand, OT seems very slow-paced and not varied enough, I'm not sure if I'll be motivated. Meanwhile I have no other plans while I wait for volunteering applications to go through. I thought I might as well apply now.

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OT vs nursing in Mississauga, Ontario

7 months ago

OTgirl in Toronto, Ontario said:
If you don't mind relocating to another province or going to the US, then I still say OT is a good field to get into.

Keep in mind that our salary does cap off very quickly and this is a field with many young people, so people aren't going to retire anytime soon. There is also a trend of increasingly more casual/part time OT jobs, which yes, you can do that for a few years while you're young, but when you have a family, you want benefits and you want the stability of a job.

I would LOVE your input because I'm in the Hamilton/GTA area about to apply for OT at McMaster.

I was wondering about the salary, how does it go up? I'm concerned that OT is one of those careers where it takes a long time to get a pay raise and that there's no other way to advance except through years of experience. Are there higher positions you can hold as an OT?

Also, as a Canadian who might want to work in the US as an OT, is it unwise to get a the degree in Canada and switch over? Is the process difficult?

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