Occupational Therapist Salary

Sally Painter
Occupational Therapist assisting patient

According to the United States Labor Department, 97,840 occupational therapists were employed in the United States as of May 2009 with a mean salary of $70,680. Occupational therapist salaries fluctuate between $53,000 and $74,000 annually. To determine where your salary might fall you need to take into account the type of employer, the region where you work, your level of experience and the certifications that you hold.

National Salary Data for Occupational Therapists

United States Labor Department Salary Survey

You can use the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey figures to get a good idea of the national average salary and which industries and states pay the highest salaries and have the largest demand. In the following lists, percentile represents the percentage of salaries that fall below the given salary rate. For example, in the first listing, only 10 percent of all salaries fall below $45,340.

Wage and percentile:

  • $45,340 (10 percent)
  • $57,230 (25 percent)
  • $69,630 (50 percent)
  • $84,150 (75 percent)
  • $100,430 ( 90 percent)

Salary by Industry

You want to evaluate how many people are currently employed in the industry. If there is a gluttony of therapists in a particular industry, then your chances of finding employment decrease. You want to further research industry growth patterns to determine whether there is a current rise in employment, shortage or gluttony. The following BLS figures reflect the number of employed occupational therapists within a given field and the mean salaries expected within that field.

  • Elementary and Secondary Schools: 12,570 ($63,190)
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: 23,880 ($71,300)
  • Home Health Care Services: 6,510 ($81,360)
  • Offices of Other Health Practitioners: 22,260 ($72,970)
  • Nursing Care Facilities: 9,790 ($75,710)

Top paying industries:

  • Employment Services: 1,400 ($80,490)
  • Home Health Care Services: 6,510 ($81,360)
  • Nursing Care Facilities: 9,790 ($75,710)
  • Other Schools and Instruction: 30 ($88,770)
  • Offices of Physicians: 1,960 ($78,660)

Statistics of States with Highest Employment

Be sure to research whether or not there is a growing demand in your state.

States with highest number of employed Occupational Therapists:

  • Maine: 780 ($57,330)
  • Massachusetts: 3,870 ($72,140)
  • Michigan: 4,370 ($64,290)
  • New Hampshire: 790 ($61,590)
  • Pennsylvania: 6,020 ($66,500)

States Paying Highest Salaries

Be aware that the cost of living can falsely inflate a salary.

Top paying states:

  • California: 7,570 ($82,610)
  • Nevada: 640 ($81,310)
  • New Jersey: 2,930 ($80,030)
  • Maryland: 2,040 ($78,990)
  • Texas: 7,170 ($78,470)

Top paying metropolitan areas:

  • El Paso, Texas : 220 ($96,470)
  • Laredo, Texas: 80 ($90,130)
  • Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada: 420 ($89,770)
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California: 180 ($89,080)
  • San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, California: 380 ($94,580)

What an Occupational Therapist Does

A bachelor’s degree in physical therapy or a related field is required along with an occupational therapist certification. An occupational therapist is responsible for patients recovering injuries or illnesses that interfere with job performance. The therapist evaluates and assesses the patient and plans a therapy program designed to help the patient regain and maintain her normal daily activities.

Finding the Right Fit

Armed with this valuable information about the pay scales in each industry and the top paying regions of the country, you can conduct a targeted job search to find your ideal position.

Occupational Therapist Salary