How Much Do Occupational Therapists Make?

In this article, we are going to discussing the complete of occupational therapist (OT) career relates to their salary in the US. Compare to Australia, UK and Canada an OT does make highest especially in some state like NYC, California, Florida, and New Jersey. On Average in Nevada Range Therapist can make around $131,000 to $135,000 annually. This salary is much higher than the average salary of a US professional which is $59,000 annually.

An occupational therapist (OT) works with patients who have certain disabilities such as cerebral palsy and have a hard time going about everyday activities.

However, the basic division suggests that the 25th percentile makes about $66,000 annually, on the other hand, the 75th percentile makes about $101,200 annually. This figure, you can achieve after completion of the doctorate degree. The median salary lies between these two extremes.

How much Occupational therapist make after Graduation?

Mostly therapist starts Own business, open the private clinic and get pay per hour, for example on average Therapist in Boston, Houston, NYC or Chicago charge $50.7 hourly.

One job Therapist gets others benefits like bonus, profit sharing, and commission as well, so extra they easily earn around $20,000.

10 Quick Facts about Occupational Therapist (Must Read)

They may have trouble doing things like changing clothes, climbing the stairs or using the bathrooms. Occupational therapists install certain tools and handle throughout their house that has been customized according to the patient’s needs.

  1. OT can make on average $86,000 Annually
  2. 25% of OT can earn more than 110,000 after getting enough experience
  3. After physical therapist, OT is the highest therapist by Type
  4. Easily Job get, as a Therapist assistant or AIDS
  5. Nevada, California, Florida, Connecticut, Texas is the Highest Paying state
  6. Peabody, Massachusetts, Colorado Springs, Colorado, San Francisco, Boston, New York City is the Top paying Cities
  7. Job Growth is excellent, about 15% to 18%
  8. This profession is in the list under Top Ten Paying field in the USA
  9. No of Expected job increase to 27% by 2026
  10. Excellent job environment, starting salary, Benefits and job scope

These tools have been installed with a calculated perfection such that they aid the patient’s occupational activities.


An occupational therapist (OT) can have an extremely lucrative career and it is also known among the BLS to have one of the highest growth rates. To become therapist is easier if you compare to other medical-related field like Surgical, Neuro specialist or even Nurse practitioner.

Starting Salary of Occupational Therapist (OT)

The starting of an OT who is certified by the government is roughly $45,200 to $48,776 annually.

However, this salary is subject to various deviations based on a number of factors. For example, those occupational therapists who have been working in the field for many years. Tend to make much higher than those who are new or have a work experience of fewer than 5 years.

Most entry-level salaries of occupational therapists are roughly $50,000 annually in the top state. An entry level salary accounts for those professionals who are either recent graduates or who have less than 5 years of experience in the industry.

  1. On the other hand, the average salary 5 years and between the zenith of their career hits around $83,500.
  2. Most therapists reach a comfortably high salary of about $120,000 annually after around 10 years in the field.

However, that really depends on the place and the exact field of work because most occupational therapists also reach a high of $100,000 in their career.  A high salary of $120,000 is that of only the top 10% who may also earn more than this if working in a more lucrative field.

The work prospects of occupational therapists are expected to reach a high of about 24% at least in the next decade which is much bigger than the average growth in most other careers.

Hourly Wage of Occupational Therapists

The average hourly of an OT who is certified by the government is $41. This falls somewhere between a range of $38 per hour and $45 per hour.

  1. The average hourly salary of an entry-level professional with less than 5 years of experience is towards the lower side being close to $24 per hour.

On the high side, the average hourly wage of more experienced occupational therapy professionals who have been working for more than 10 years and make up the top 10% make around $56.

Bonuses, health care insurance, and retirement funds normally contribute to around $41.5 per hour.

Highest Paying state in the US for the Occupational Therapist

The general trend when devising salaries and making assumptions regarding them is that the salaries of professionals working in metropolitan and urban belts are higher than their equivalent counterparts working in rural and suburban areas.


A higher salary comes in places where there is higher demand as well. Higher demand means more jobs and higher salaries consequently.

Top State Average Salary Hourly Salary
California $83,000 $45 to $48
Florida $78,888 $42 to $45
Texas $82,000 $44 to $45
NY $77,667 $41 to $48
NJ $79,000 $39 to $44
Colorado $81,556 $42 to $46
OHIO $72,556 $37 to $43
Kansas $71,000 $37 to $44
Kentucky $65,778 $34 to $41
New Jersey $75,778 $42 to $46
Minnesota $77,556 $39 to $41
Massachusetts $72,885 $42 to $44
Virginia $69,667 $34 to $41
Georgia $76,334 $37 to $39
Vermont $72,445 $39 to $40
Connecticut $82,445 $41 to $45
Michigan $78,445 $44 to $49
North Carolina $77,889 $43 to $47
Washington DC $73,778 $41 to $47
Illinois $73,887 $38 to $43
Pennsylvania $67,889 $35 to $48
Tennessee $65,889 $34 to $48


Places with a higher retired population cause an increase in demand for health care in general and hence occupational therapists also make higher in places with the higher retired population. The highest paying state for OT is Nevada where the median salary is around $101,000 to $131,000 per years accumulated at the rate of $48 to $55 per hour.

Next to Nevada comes Texas where the average annual salary of an OT is $96,500 which is built up by an hourly wage of $46.5.

Top State Annually Salary Hourly Salary
Nevada $120,440 $52 to$63
District of Columbia $115,440 $46 to$52
Texas $114,440 $45 to$48
New Jersey $113,440 $47 to$54
Connecticut $110,440 $52 to$57


First of all, New Jersey and Virginia also fall under a category of higher paying states on a relative scale where the median salary of an occupational therapist is $91,350 per year. This is at the average rate of $44 per hour.

in addition, Towards the middle is the states like West Virginia, Ohio, Florida and Oregon etc. where the average salary of occupational therapists is around $84,000 annually at the rate of $40.5 per hour.

Best Paying Cities for Occupational Therapists

Just like State, there are many top-paying cities to OT. Some Metropolitan areas near Texas, Florida, and California gives remarkably good salary. However, lower are the states such as Vermont, Hawaii, and Nebraska where the average salaries fall between $75,000 and $77,000 annually. This is at the rate of $36 and $37 per hour.

Top State Annually Salary Hourly Salary
Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX Metropolitan Division $110,440 $47 to$54
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division $105,440 $42 to$46
Homosassa Springs, FL $104,440 $45 to$49
Colorado Springs, CO $103,440 $47 to$47
Peabody-Salem-Beverly, MA NECTA Division $100,440 $52 to$53
Lubbock, TX $95,440 $46
West Tennessee nonmetropolitan area $92,440 $45
Northeast Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area $91,440 $43


Among the lowest paying states for occupational therapists are the non-metropolitan belts of Maine and South Dakota. The average salary of OT experts here is $60,000 at the rate of $30.9 per hour.

The lowest paying state is Puerto Rico where the average salary of an OT expert is $45,000 at the rate of $21 per hour.

Top Therapist Career Type Outlook

Some OT experts make higher than others who work in different fields mainly because some fields are more important with higher demand or effort whereas others may be less in this regard.

Therefore, a career type can largely define where you will be with your OT work in a couple of years from now.


The highest paying OT experts are those in Neuropsychology. They make an average salary of $94,000 per year.

After they come to those OT experts working in the field of health services management. These experts make a subtly smaller number of $92,000 annually which is still far more lucrative than the average US salary of $59,000 and the median OT salary of $83,000.

Pediatric Therapist 

Although there is a huge variation between the salary range of pediatric OT experts, being between $53,000 and $135,000 annually.

However, the average salary range falls between the 25th percentile (being $72,000) and the 75th percentile (being $106,000) in different states in the US.

PRN Salary

PRN OT experts can see huge growth in their careers over time and their scarcity in the professional world reflects in the smaller sample size and hence higher deviation

Their salary normally falls between $24,000 and $178,000 per year. However, a slight breakdown shows that the average salary falls between the 25th percentile and the 75h percentile.

The 25th percentile earns about $76,000 and the 75th percentile earns around $118,000 per year.

Outpatient Salary

An outpatient occupational therapist makes an average salary of about $40.6 per hour. The average starting salary of those experts who have an experience of 5 years or less is normally around $64,000 per year.

However, as their career progresses they can expect to earn somewhere between $83,000 and $90,000 per year in the mid of their career.

Private Therapist or Consultant Salary

Most occupational therapists work in medical facilities and clinics which have an occupational therapy setting.  

Other than health care and clinical settings, some occupational therapists also work in residential settings and work directly with families.

These are also known as family occupational therapists.

Career Outlook for Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists are expected to have a career growth between 24% and 26% according to the BLS for the decade between 2016 and 2026.

Given the high rate of physical disabilities and lack of physical movement habits among young adults, there is a high susceptibility of rising in the need of OT experts in the years to come especially in those locations where there is a higher retired population.

As I mentioned earlier, 27% job increase expect till 2026, so you can aspect a bright future in this field.  According to TheBalance, over 31,000 jobs open in 2017 and 11,400 for Assistant. All type of careers like Pediatric, PRN, assistant, and Therapist Aid has a bright career. For a fully licensed Occupational therapist, you must require At-least master or doctoral degree.

  1. Number of People Employed (2016): 130,400

We take some stats from the various website or direct interview with the top therapist, so if you have more update about OT career than inform us VIA commenting. We will appreciate your effort.

Private Occupational Therapy Jobs

Here are some top private level jobs, 70% + therapist prefer to job in any kind of field other than Government. 15% prefer to open own clinic or server as a private or family therapist.

  1. Pediatric Occupational therapist
  2. OT Assistant
  3. OT AIDS
  4. Senior Level therapist
  5. PICU Sister
  6. Rehabilitation Specialist
  7. Field Staff Required
  8. Travel Occupational Therapist in Acute Care
  9. Consultant
  10. Educator

Some therapist work with the Nurse practitioner or registered nurse in hospitals for improving the capability of treatment.

Occupational Therapist Similar Professions

Beside Physical therapist (PT vs OT), all therapist average salary lower compare to the occupational therapist. We mention updated stats below here, so you will clear the concept about earning level by most of the therapist.

  1. Transpersonal Therapist: $76,000
  2. Art Therapist: $48,060
  3. Physical Therapist: $87,000
  4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: $74,000
  5. Dance/Movement Therapist: $53,000
  6. Speech Pathologist: $62,000
  7. Occupational Therapist Assistant: 50,000

Note: Some professional is also consider Nursing field with the therapist, but mostly didn’t. Share your opinion on it with us.

Top Paying Industry

In the USA many private firms, rehabilitation center, hospitals (Private + Government) offering therapist to high salary plus bonus. On the other hand, mostly hiring fixed salary PLUS profit sharing depending on the client.

Top Paying Industry Salary Offering Location
Orlando Health Center Above $ 1k Orlando, FL
THE MEDICAL TEAM $120,000 Houma, LA 70360
Bayfront Health St Petersburg $140,000 Saint Petersburg, FL
Riverside Health System Above $ 1k Newport News, VA
The Weston Healthcare Group $120,000 New Rochelle, NY 10804
Total Education Solutions $110,000 South Pasadena, CA 91030
Hospital for Special Surgery Above $ 1k New York, NY


These stats have taken from some credible sources like (The Balance, BLS) and other Salary related web. If you have more information about any particular type of therapist salary, then suggest us. Some figure is updated mid of 2018 in some state of the USA.

Note: In addition, if you find jobs nearby your location, then request us. We will update you about current job opening basis on your qualification, experience level, and type of occupational therapist.