If you're considering a career in occupational therapy, you're likely curious about the earning potential and job outlook in the field.

Occupational therapy is a rewarding profession that focuses on helping individuals regain and enhance their ability to perform daily activities.

They play a vital role in improving the quality of life for patients of all ages, from children with developmental disabilities to adults recovering from injuries or managing chronic conditions.

In the United States, the job outlook for occupational therapists is highly favorable. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow by 14% by 2031, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

As for their pay, these professionals make a comfortable income of $85,570 on average every year. However, it's important to note that salaries can vary based on factors such as experience, location, specialization, and work setting.

In this guide, we'll explore in detail the factors influencing occupational therapist salaries, provide tips for maximizing earnings, and shed light on the benefits and perks of pursuing a career in occupational therapy.

So, if you're eager to learn more about the financial prospects of this fulfilling profession, keep reading!

Factors Affecting Occupational Therapist Salary

Along with the growing demand for healthcare services, the field of occupational therapy offers promising job opportunities and competitive salaries.

Given below is an overview of different factors that influences occupational therapist salary figures:

Experience and Years of Practice

The level of experience and years of practice are key factors influencing an occupational therapist's salary.

With increased experience, occupational therapists develop specialized skills and expertise that can lead to higher salaries.

Those who have built a solid reputation in the industry and demonstrated successful outcomes may have more negotiating power for higher compensation.

Geographic Location and Cost of Living

The geographic location of employment is another factor that greatly impacts occupational therapists' salaries.

For instance, average occupational therapist salary figures tend to be higher in metropolitan areas with a higher cost of living due to increased demand and market competitiveness.

While rural areas with less demand for occupational therapists offer lesser pay.

Specialization and Certifications

Occupational therapists who specialize in a particular area, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or mental health, often have higher earning potential.

Advanced certifications, such as Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) or Certified Pediatric Occupational Therapist (CPOT), can also enhance job prospects and lead to higher salaries.

Work Setting and Industry

The work setting and industry in which occupational therapists practice can also influence their salaries.

For example, occupational therapists working in hospitals, outpatient clinics, or private practices may have different earning potentials.

Meanwhile, those employed in specialized fields such as research institutions or consulting firms may have higher salaries due to the specialized nature of their work.

Education and Qualifications

Higher levels of education, such as a master's or doctoral degree in occupational therapy, positively impact an occupational therapist's salary.

Advanced education provides a deeper understanding of the field and may lead to higher-paying job opportunities.

Additionally, obtaining advanced certifications and participating in professional development courses can demonstrate a commitment to ongoing learning and professional growth, which can enhance earning potential.

Also Read: How to make an outstanding occupational therapist resume?

Occupational Therapists salary

How Much Do Occupational Therapists Make?

Now, let’s take a closer look at the average salaries earned by occupational therapists depending on their experience, location, qualifications, and work setting.

On average, an entry-level occupational therapist's salary can range anywhere from $71,463 and $82,210 in the US with 1 to 4 years of experience.

Meanwhile, seasoned professionals with 8+ years of experience can make up to $100,490 per annum.

Also Read: What are some of the highest paying entry-level jobs in the US?

Occupational Therapist Salary Based on Employer

As stated earlier, the salary of an occupational therapist can vary based on their work setting and employer.

Given below are some of the top companies offering competitive pay to occupational therapists:

Astrya Global $135,792
Gento $128,223
Therapy Matters, Inc. $121,274
Therapeutic Resources $115,003
Trusted Health $110,060
Solace Pediatric Healthcare $109,357
Cariant Health Partners $107,868

Also Read: What are the top interview questions for occupational therapists?

Occupational Therapist Salary Based on Location

As for the location, given below are some of the highest-paying US cities for occupational therapists:

New York, NY $120,730
Brooklyn, NY $109,177
Bronx, NY $101,731
Houston, TX $96,277
San Jose, CA $91,698
Chicago, IL $89,862
Seattle, WA $86,412
Aurora, CO $84,531
Cincinnati, OH $70,880

Also Read: How can you network for jobs in 2023?

Occupational Therapist Salary Based on Qualifications

Qualifications and certifications can play a major role in determining an occupational therapist's salary.

For instance, occupational therapists with a CPR certification earn an additional 14.51% on top of the average base salary of $87,474 per year, and the demand for jobs requiring this certification has increased by 13.06% since 2018.

Also, given below are some top specialties that can increase an occupational therapist's salary:

Home Health +20.60%
Geriatrics +17.73%
Pulmonology +39.37%
Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine +12.32%
Neurology +13.91%

Also Read: How much do nurse aesthetics make in a year?

Tips for Earning More as an Occupational Therapist

Given below are some tips to help you increase your occupational therapist's salary:

  • Pursue Advanced Specializations: Acquiring specialized certifications and advanced training in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or neurorehabilitation can enhance your skills and open up higher-paying job opportunities.

  • Seek Employment in High-Demand Locations: Consider working in areas with a high demand for occupational therapists, such as urban centers or regions with a shortage of healthcare professionals. These locations often offer competitive salaries and benefits.

  • Gain Experience and Expertise: Continuously enhance your clinical experience and expertise by working in diverse settings, participating in professional development activities, and staying updated with the latest research and treatment techniques. This can make you a valuable asset and potentially lead to higher-paying positions.

  • Negotiate Salary and Benefits: When starting a new job or seeking a promotion, don't hesitate to negotiate your salary and benefits package. Research industry standards, showcase your qualifications, and highlight your value to the organization to increase your earning potential.

  • Expand Your Professional Network: Build connections with other occupational therapists, healthcare professionals, and industry leaders. Networking can lead to job opportunities, referrals, and valuable insights about salary trends and advancement prospects in the field. Attend conferences, join professional associations, and engage in online communities to expand your network.

Also Read: How and when should you ask for a raise at work?

FAQs About Occupational Therapist Salary

  • What is the starting salary of an occupational therapist?

The starting salary of an occupational therapist in the US is $79,755.

  • What is a pediatric occupational therapist's salary?

The average salary of a pediatric occupational therapist can range anywhere between $64,000 and $105,000 per annum.

  • Does occupational therapy require NEET?

No, occupational therapy does not require NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) in India.

  • Is an occupational therapist a doctor?

No, an occupational therapist is not a medical doctor. They are healthcare professionals who specialize in helping individuals improve their ability to perform daily activities and achieve independence in various aspects of life.

  • What is an occupational therapist's salary per hour?

The average hourly wage for occupational therapists in the United States is $46, with a typical range between $42 and $50.

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