Occupational Therapy: Career and Salary Variation Factors

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Occupational Therapy is evidence – based health program and a fulfilling career path. As a Therapist, you can help and provide treatment for all age group people with physical, cognitive, and mobility impairments. You can assist infants, kids, toddlers, and adults spend productive, meaningful, safe, and quality life in the environment they live. With your support, these people can independently perform functions necessary for their activities of daily livings (ADL), manage homes, and participate in their communities.


The bright career outlook, attractive salaries, and easy employment opportunities combine to make Occupation Therapy the fastest growing career. There is a greater demand for these health professionals in a variety of settings because they help individuals with disabilities and impairments recover and develop the skills needed for performing everyday activities.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), May 2015, their jobs will grow 27 percent from 2014 to 2024, and 30,400 more practitioners will be required in all settings. In the same period, employment of therapy assistants will grow 40 percent. The workplaces for both practitioners include private and public hospitals, rehabilitation centres, skilled nursing facilities, physician’s offices, adult day centres, schools, home health care services, orthopaedic centres, assisted living centres, old age homes, community centres, psychiatric facilities, and Scientific Research and Development Services.


There is a significant rise in the demand for these health care professionals in recent years. The growth in demand is also one of the primary reasons for increased Occupational Therapy salary and career opportunities. According to the BLS, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2015, their Mean Annual Wage was $81,690, Annual Median Wage – $80,150, and Hourly Median Wage – $80,150. The percentile annual wage varied from $66,040 to $116,030. The factors responsible for wages variation include location, work experience, population, and settings.

Population Density

The demand for Occupational Therapy practitioners is higher in these towns and cities where population density is high because these areas have a growing patient population, facilities, and employment opportunities.

Work Experience

After a few years of work experience, these healthcare professionals can earn higher remuneration than their counterparts with no or little work experiences.


Working in cities and metropolitans can earn them attractive salaries because these areas have the higher patient population, increased number of settings, and soaring demand for these practitioners. In the US, the top salary paying metropolitans for this occupation are Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach Longview, Waco, Beaumont-Port Arthur, and Beaumont-Port Arthur.


The compensations of therapists are not uniform in all settings because few settings pay better salaries than others. Skilled nursing facilities, Scientific Research and Development Services, and home health care services are the best salary paying centres as compared to the offices of physicians, schools, hospitals, and other settings.


The pay structure is also not same in all US States, but varies widely depending upon factors like population, the number of patients, settings, demand and supply, employment opportunities, and the cost of livings. The remuneration even differs in towns, cities, and metropolitan areas in the same state.

According to OES, May 2015, the top five best paying states for this occupation were Nevada, $98,930, Texas $94,360, New Jersey $89,960, California, $88,850 and DC $87,400.

Occupational Therapy practitioners must keep these points in mind when searching jobs because these factors can influence their salaries. They must also remember that each US state has its own rules and regulations for education, licensing and employments, and they must complete these requirements before applying for a job in that particular state.

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