Occupational Therapy Salaries

One of the strongest attributes of the Occupational Therapy field is the excellent wages that are paid to Occupational Therapists, Occupational Therapy Assistants and Occupational Therapy Aides. As with all professions, the greater your degree of training, education and licensure, the more you increase your earning potential.

In most cases Occupational Therapy Aides will receive fairly low wages as there are no degree or licensure requirements for this position. You will need to receive some amount of training either in the form of on the job training or in a fairly short series of technical training classes at a local community college. The primary responsibilities of the Occupational Therapy Aide are related to initial patient contact and interviewing, providing rudimentary assistant to Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants and patient transportation among other fairly mundane duties related to upkeep of the office. The Occupational Therapy Aide must always act under the direct supervision of an Occupational Therapist who is licensed to operate in their state. The wage for the Occupational Therapy Aide is fairly good, but not exceptional. The average wage for an Occupational Therapy Aide varies widely from state to state with a low of $9.00 per hour to a high of $22.00 per hour. The Average wage nationwide is roughly $15.00 per hour.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant certification requires a minimum of an Associate’s degree from a program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). In addition, you will need to meet supervised work experience requirements, pass a National Board of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) COTA examination and a criminal background check. Some states additionally require a Jurisprudence examination and occasionally additional training. This advanced level of training and examination gives one access to considerably higher wages with the Bureau of Labor and Statistics showing a median yearly pay in 2010 of $47,490 or $22.83 an hour.

The Occupational Therapist requires a rigorous amount of education and training including a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from an Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) accredited program, passing the National Board of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) OTR examination, having a minimum of six months of supervised work experience and additional requirements depending on the state. While all of this can be challenging and time consuming to accumulate the financial rewards are certainly there for those who have attained licensure as an Occupational Therapist. According to the 2010 census, the median yearly salary for a licensed Occupational Therapist holding a minimum of a Master’s degree was $72,320. This equates to a wage of $34.77 per hour.

Additionally, if one continues their schooling to receive a Doctoral degree in Occupational therapy from an Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) accredited program you increase the chances of adding to your earning power. This is not a straightforward process, but requires that you find unique positions in either Academia or medical organizations that are looking for candidates with advanced training and education. There is not solid data currently to show the overall increase in salary due to the variation in these specialty positions. However, The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) states that these positions hold the potential for higher earnings. In most cases, having an advanced degree will also make you substantially more completive for jobs that are available giving you greater job and location flexibility during your professional career.

Overall, the Occupational Therapy sector offers extremely competitive salaries across the sector which makes it a great career path for those who enjoy helping people overcome limitations. If this sector is one that intrigues you the salary component is certainly something that makes the career a compelling one to consider.