How Much Do Occupational Therapists Make on Average (Salary)

How much do occupational therapists make? What is the average salary of an occupational therapist? How much does an occupational therapist make? Occupational therapists are trained health care professionals that assist patients in doing daily tasks that they require or desire.

While the term "occupation" generally refers to a job or career, it can also refer to everyday activities that allow us to be self-sufficient and give purpose to our lives.

occupational therapist salary

What is an occupational therapist?

An occupational therapist is a professional who helps individuals become more productive and overcome barriers when they are striving to do daily tasks. They do so through assisting patients with injuries, diseases, or impairments in developing, recovering, and improving the skills required for everyday life and employment.

What does an occupational therapist do?

Occupational therapists (often known as OTs) assist persons of all ages in overcoming physical challenges and resuming full participation in their everyday life.

This might include anything from performing an in-home evaluation to assisting them with daily chores including getting dressed, moving around the house, cooking, eating, gardening, doing schoolwork, using a computer, and driving.

In most cases, an occupational therapist will accomplish the following:

  • Observe patients while they do tasks, ask them questions, and evaluate their medical history.
  • Evaluate the patient's condition and needs based on your observations, replies, and medical history.
  • Create a treatment plan for patients that outlines the sorts of activities and precise targets that must be met.
  • Assist persons with a variety of impairments with a variety of tasks, such as assisting an elderly person with limited memory to use a computer or directing an autistic kid through play activities.
  • Demonstrate pain-relieving activities for persons with chronic illnesses, such as joint stretches for arthritis sufferers.
  • Examine a patient's home or workplace for ways to make it more conducive to the patient's health.
  • Educate the patient's family and workplace on how to care for and accommodate the patient.
  • Recommend specific equipment to patients, such as wheelchairs and feeding assistance, and show them how to utilize it.
  • For the purposes of assessing clients, billing, and reporting to physicians and other healthcare professionals, assess and record patients' activities and progress.

Patients with long-term impairments, such as cerebral palsy, frequently require assistance with daily chores. Patients are taught how to utilize adapted equipment such as leg or knee braces, wheelchairs, and feeding assistance by occupational therapists. These gadgets allow patients to operate freely and have control over their daily environment.

Pediatric work

Some occupational therapists work with children one-on-one or in small groups in school settings. They assess the skills of handicapped children, adapt classroom equipment to suit specific disabilities, and assist youngsters in participating in school activities.

Early intervention therapy is provided by certain therapists to babies and toddlers who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing developmental delays.

Occupational therapists that work with the elderly assist their clients in becoming more self-sufficient and active. They evaluate the patient's skills and surroundings before making recommendations, such as utilizing adapted equipment or identifying and removing possible fall hazards in the house.

Occupational therapists can assist patients in creating productive work settings in some situations. They assess the work environment, organize job activities, and cooperate with the patient's employer on adjustments to the patient's work environment or schedule.

Mental health settings

Occupational therapists can also work in mental health settings, assisting people with developmental impairments, mental illnesses, and emotional issues. They teach skills including time management, budgeting, public transit, and home duties to assist these individuals deal with and participate in daily life.

Therapists can also help with those who are struggling with drug addiction, alcoholism, depression, or other illnesses.

Some occupational therapists, such as those employed in hospitals or physician's offices, collaborate with doctors, registered nurses, and other types of therapists as part of a healthcare team.

Occupational therapy assistants and aides can also be under their supervision.

occupational therapist salary

How much do occupational therapists make?

The bulk of occupational therapist salaries presently vary between $73,500 (25th percentile) and $104,000 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) earning $131,000 per year in the United States.

The typical salary for an occupational therapist ranges widely (up to $30,500), implying that there can be several chances for development and higher income dependent on skill level, location, and years of experience.

Average occupational therapist salary by state

Median annual wages of occupational therapists by state:

  • Alaska: $87,440 per year.
  • Alabama: $83,320 per year.
  • Arkansas: $78,730 per year.
  • Arizona: $88,606 per year.
  • California: $97,260 per year.
  • Colorado: $86,740 per year.
  • Connecticut: $89,810 per year.
  • District of Columbia: $91,950 per year.
  • Delaware: $84,890 per year.
  • Florida: $84,870 per year.
  • Georgia: $82,880 per year.
  • Hawaii: $85,940 per year.
  • Iowa: $78,510 per year.
  • Idaho: $82,350 per year.
  • Illinois: $80,365 per year.
  • Indiana: $78,252 per year.
  • Kansas: $79,530 per year.
  • Kentucky: $78,720 per year.
  • Louisiana: $84,650 per year.
  • Massachusetts: $87,940 per year.
  • Maryland: $90,790 per year.
  • Maine: $68,920 per year.
  • Michigan: $74,750 per year.
  • Minnesota: $73,760 per year.
  • Missouri: $76,560 per year.
  • Mississippi: $80,520 per year.
  • Montana: $72,820 per year.
  • North Carolina: $84,700 per year.
  • North Dakota: $67,020 per year.
  • Nebraska: $76,170 per year.
  • New Hampshire: $80,360 per year.
  • New Jersey: $95,090 per year.
  • New Mexico: $79,590 per year.
  • Nevada: $94,300 per year.
  • New York: $83,530 per year.
  • Ohio: $84,320 per year.
  • Oklahoma: $83,590 per year.
  • Oregon: $90,570 per year.
  • Pennsylvania: $76,802 per year.
  • Puerto Rico: $35,170 per year.
  • Rhode Island: $79,730 per year.
  • South Carolina: $79,460 per year.
  • South Dakota: $68,200 per year.
  • Tennessee: $84,600 per year.
  • Texas: $87,780 per year.
  • Utah: $84,680 per year.
  • Virginia: $92,110 per year.
  • Vermont: $77,620 per year.
  • Washington: $80,300 per year.
  • Wisconsin: $74,180 per year.
  • West Virginia: $79,690 per year.
  • Wyoming: $79,290 per year.

Information provided by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (source).

Per week wages

The national average weekly wages are $1,772 per week.

Per month wages

The national average monthly wage is $7,679 per month.

Per hour wages

The national average hourly wage is $44.

Job outlook for occupational therapists

Occupational therapist employment is anticipated to rise 18 percent between 2018 and 2028, significantly faster than the overall job growth rate. As a result, occupational therapy employment are expected to grow by 23,700 during the same time period.

occupational therapist salary

The ongoing necessity of experienced occupational therapists in the treatment of persons with diseases and disabilities such as Alzheimer's disease, cerebral palsy, autism, and other chronic disorders is a driving force in this rise.

As the baby boomer population ages, the demand for occupational therapists is projected to increase. These experts are frequently involved in the treatment of aging-related illnesses such as arthritis and other mobility problems.

To satisfy the needs of the aging population, occupational therapy is widening its scope to encompass more than simply rehabilitation. Occupational therapists, for example, can make changes to the house and daily routines to decrease the risk of falls and guarantee safety for elderly persons who want to stay independent and live in their own homes.

Licensed occupational therapists are anticipated to find work in a variety of settings, but notably in those that treat the elderly, such as acute hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and orthopedic institutions. Those with specialized expertise in certain therapeutic areas might also expect to have improved work opportunities.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) showed that the great majority of new graduates received their first employment offer in less than three months, which helps to explain the high demand for occupational therapists. A total of 84 percent of graduates obtained work in their desired practice environment following graduation, in addition to getting offers fast.

Access to occupational therapy services

Because of federal health-care reform, the number of people who can receive occupational therapy treatments can grow. After the reforms are enacted, insurers will be required to cover both rehabilitation and habilitation treatments as essential health benefits.

Workplace of an occupational therapist

Many occupational therapists work in hospitals, with audiologists, or in the offices of physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Many people work in numerous locations and must commute from one to the next. Many also work in private practice, providing occupational therapy to patients in their homes or in institutions.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) states:

  • Long-term care and skilled nursing facilities (74%) are the most common employment environments for direct client involvement, followed by freestanding outpatient (70.4%), hospitals (70%), and schools (70%). (60.8%).
  • Other (20%), community (17%), schools (13.7%), and mental health (13.7%) are the main job contexts for consultation (12%).
  • Mental health (32.4%), other (29.9%), community (29.4%), and home health (29.4%) are the top job environments for indirect and administrative activities (e.g., documentation, scheduling, meetings, and planning sessions) (27.1%).

Common questions

Questions about occupational therapy salary and questions about becoming an occupational therapist:

Where do occupational therapists get paid the most?

  • Pennsylvania: 15% higher average annual salary.
  • Vermont: 10% higher average annual salary.
  • California: 10% higher average annual salary.
  • Alaska: 9% higher average annual salary.
  • Nevada: 7% higher average annual salary.

And here are the types of facilities where occupational therapists get paid the most:

  • Nursing care facilities: $92,260 per year.
  • Home healthcare services: $91,830 per year.
  • Hospitals: $86,910 per year.
  • Offices: $86,830 per year.
  • Elementary and secondary schools: $76,560 per year.

Compare to a physical therapist (PT), who makes more money? PT or OT?

Occupational therapists specialize on assisting individuals in mastering daily tasks. Physical therapists assist patients in regaining range of motion and reducing discomfort following an injury or illness.

The average annual pay for an OT is $83,200. A PT's average annual pay is $86,850.

What's the difference between physical and occupational therapy?

The main distinction between physical and occupational therapy is that occupational therapy focuses on assisting patients in doing daily tasks in order to overcome difficulties or impairments that are not restricted to the physical realm.

What's the highest paying occupational therapy specialities?

  • Home health: Occupational therapists in home health settings typically earn 20.60 percent more than the national average.
  • Geriatric medicine: Occupational therapists who specialize in geriatrics earn 17.73% more than the national average.
  • Pulmonology: A medical speciality that deals with people who have breathing problems or illnesses. Pulmonology occupational therapists might earn 39.37% more than the average pay for the field.
  • Physical rehabilitation: Physical rehabilitation professionals can earn up to 12.32% more than occupational therapists on a basic wage.
  • Neurology: A medical speciality that helps people who have issues or problems with their neurological system and require treatment. Neurology occupational therapists might earn up to 13.91% more than the average base pay.

occupational therapist salary

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author: patrick algrim
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Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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