Individuals pursuing the career of occupational therapy generally are doing so because they have a true passion for this line of work, a real desire to help others, and crave the type of intrinsically rewarding career that occupational therapists enjoy. Still, that doesn’t mean that salary and earnings aren’t important. That’s always going to be a huge consideration for any line of work, and it should be, particularly when you’re investing time and money into further education.
You should be pleased to know that occupational therapists are generally very well compensated, and they command high salaries across the board. Of course, the salary you earn will depend on any number of different factors, including your experience level, the industry or type of employment you hold, and even your education.
Starting with some general statistics gained from the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics survey from May 2010, the mean annual wage for occupational therapists is $73,380, which translates into a mean hourly wage of about $35. That’s important to know, because many occupational therapists hold part-time employment, or hold several part-time jobs at once. Therefore, hourly wage is going to be an important consideration in addition to annual figures for full time, salaried positions.
What should be great news for professionals is that the lowest 10% of occupational therapists earn less than $48,920. That’s a very high mark for the lowest 10% of a group, and it should leave you feeling comfortable that you’ll be able to earn a high salary at any level, no matter the details. But don’t worry, it gets much better than that.
The median or 50% mark salary is $72,320, or about $34.75 per hour. Even better is the top 10% of the field, where the salaries really get high. Individuals here make over $102,000 annually! That exceeds the wildest imaginations of most occupational therapists, and with the right education and experience, it will be within your grasp.
As mentioned, the industry or type of employment that you have will also affect how much you earn. Amongst the most common employers of occupational therapists, home health care services paid the most to OT’s with a mean annual salary of close to $84,000. Next on the list is nursing care facilities at about $77,700, followed by specialty hospitals at over $75,000. General hospitals and health care practitioners both offer similar numbers in the mid $70s.
Keep in mind that where you live will also affect how much you earn as an occupational therapist. This can depend on everything from cost of living to competition in the field, or the dynamics of the field whether it’s well established in a locale or only beginning to be developed. Surprisingly, for example, in New York, OT’s earn a median salary of $69,720, which is a full $15,000 less than those in California and only beats out Pennsylvania amongst the top 5 states with the most occupational therapists practicing.
As you can see, there’s a very high ceiling when it comes to occupational therapy. You may not be joining for the money, but when you see that you can earn over $100,000, that’s certainly worthy of some extra excitement and incentive. The median salary of nearly $74,000 is also great, and it means that on top of the great intrinsic rewards of occupational therapy, the monetary component is there as well.