Occupational Therapist Salary

Are you considering a career as an occupational therapist? If so, one of the factors that may interest you is the salary and earning potential in this field. Occupational therapy offers a highly rewarding and impactful career path, helping individuals regain independence and improve their overall quality of life. In this guide, we will explore the average salaries of occupational therapists, factors that may influence earnings, and the outlook for this profession.

Understanding the Role of an Occupational Therapist

Before we delve into the specifics of salary, let’s first understand what an occupational therapist does. Occupational therapists work with individuals of all ages who have physical, developmental, mental, or emotional challenges that affect their daily living skills. They help their patients overcome these challenges and develop or regain the necessary skills to carry out everyday activities, such as personal care, work-related tasks, leisure activities, and more.

occupational therapist salary

Average Occupational Therapist Salary

The average salary for an occupational therapist can vary depending on several factors, including years of experience, specialization, industry, and location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for occupational therapists was R 647 551 per year as of May 2023. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $60,820, while the highest 10 percent earned over $126,990.

It’s important to note that these figures represent the median salary, which means that half of the occupational therapists earn more than this amount and half earn less. Additionally, these statistics may not reflect the recent salary trends or variations between different regions and work settings.

Factors Influencing Occupational Therapist Salaries

Several factors can influence an occupational therapist’s salary:


As with most professions, experience plays a significant role in determining salary. Occupational therapists with several years of experience and a proven track record of success may command higher wages compared to entry-level practitioners.

Education and Specialization:

Advanced degrees or specializations within occupational therapy can also impact earnings. Occupational therapists with specialized training or certifications in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or hand therapy may have increased job opportunities and higher salaries.

Industry and Work Setting:

The industry and work setting can significantly affect an occupational therapist’s salary. Occupational therapists working in hospitals, nursing care facilities, or home healthcare services may earn higher wages compared to those in schools or outpatient clinics.

Geographic Location:

Salaries can also vary depending on the geographic location. Higher costs of living in certain cities or states may be accompanied by higher salaries to compensate for the increased expenses.

Job Outlook for Occupational Therapists

The job outlook for occupational therapists is highly promising. The demand for occupational therapists is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. This demand is primarily driven by the aging population, increased awareness of occupational therapy services, and advancements in medical technology.

As the healthcare field continues to evolve, occupational therapy is becoming an essential component of patient care across settings. With the growing emphasis on preventative care and the importance of maintaining independence in daily activities, the need for occupational therapists is on the rise.


Choosing a career as an occupational therapist can be incredibly rewarding both personally and financially. While salaries may vary depending on factors such as experience, specialization, industry, and location, the outlook for this profession is promising. As the demand for occupational therapy continues to increase, so do the opportunities for professionals in this field. If you have a passion for helping others and making a positive impact on their lives, pursuing a career as an occupational therapist may be an excellent choice for you.

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