How Much Can You Expect to Make as an Occupational Therapist?

Although you probably didn’t choose to become an occupational therapist for the paycheck, knowing how much you can expect to make in this field is important. Everyone deserves to be fairly compensated in their field. How much can you expect to make for your salary? Here are the few variables that will impact your income and salary range.

Experience and Education

The primary determination for your salary is likely going to be experience, although education does play a role as well. There is a large difference in the salary that occupational therapists with less than five years of experience receive when compared to therapists who have 20+ years of working experience.

In either case, you’ll have to get a degree from an accredited school if you want to get your foot in the door. You could check out a site like Quality Education and Jobs to find an accredited college near you. There is also an increasing number of online occupational therapy courses available and they are often as respected as any other diploma from a brick and mortar institution.

Demographics and Demand

Of course, if you live in an area where there is a huge need for occupational therapists, you should expect your salary to be on the higher end. This is a basic principle of supply and demand. The greater the demand for your services, the higher the salary you can expect to receive. If you live in an area where there is a large aging population, you can probably expect to have a higher salary. However, if you live in an area that’s mostly younger individuals or one that already has a large population of therapists, salaries will likely be lower.

Therapy Setting

The environment where you work will also affect your salary. Working in home health and skilled nursing facilities usually is the higher end of salary when it comes to occupational therapists. However, if you choose to work in a school, you may have a slightly lower salary. For some occupational therapists, the setting is more about their quality of life rather than paycheck. However, if you are hoping to have a higher income, you may want to consider where you’re employed.

Fixed Work Versus Traveling

Although you may not be able to travel out of your area, traveling occupational therapists will make a significantly higher income than therapists who are based out of one hospital or rehab center. Additionally, traveling therapists can also enjoy additional perks such as paid housing, living stipends, and bonuses in addition to their higher salary. If you are in a position in life where you can travel easily, then you may want to consider this option for your career. Many of these traveling positions last for at least a few months which will give you adequate time to explore the area.

Although specific salaries will depend on a variety of factors, this breakdown should provide you with more information on what you can expect to affect your salary. Working as an occupational therapist is usually a good income but the range can be large.


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