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Occupational Therapy Salary: How much can I make as an occupational therapist?

By Brendan Conway updated on Monday, January 28, 2013

Occupational therapy is a fulfilling career path, through which you can help many people overcome the difficulties they face and lead fuller, more complete lives.

What's more, occupational therapy is actually one of the fastest growing fields in the country. This is because occupational therapists are needed more and more, particularly in the field of health care for the elderly as the elderly population continues to rise.

Occupational therapy salaries are rising, as well, in accordance with increased demand for these important professionals. Putting aside any of the other positive and desirable benefits of being an occupational therapist, the rising occupational therapy salaries out there make today a better time than ever before to pursue a degree from an occupational therapy college.

Some figures on occupational therapy salaries

The average occupational therapy salary varies depending upon the type of occupational therapy in question. For example, an occupational therapist in a position at an elementary or secondary school is only likely to have an average salary of $60,020 per year, based on figures from 2008.

In comparison, the median occupational therapy salary from 2008 for an occupational therapist involved in home health care services was $74,510.

This difference in occupational therapy salaries is representative of differences in demand. Different types of occupational therapy are more or less desired, simply as a consequence of demographics.

Other average occupational therapy salaries of significance include $72,790 for occupational therapists working in nursing care facilities; $69,360 for occupational therapists working with health care practitioners; and $68,100 for occupational therapists working in hospitals.

The range of self-employed occupational therapist salaries extends from about $50,980 to $78,000, according to some sources. The average occupational therapy salary across all occupational therapists was $66,780, with the average range lying between $55,090 and $81,290.

What factors determine occupational therapy salaries?

Occupational therapy salaries are likely to vary by state, as each state is going to have slightly different conditions in terms of its demand for occupational therapists and its ability to provide salaries to occupational therapists, both in the private and public arenas. For instance, the average occupational therapy salary by state would likely be much greater in those states with higher populations of the elderly.

Occupational therapists interested in working for schools and public institutions instead of private companies will likely find the occupational salary by state to favor those states with greater budgets for education (and in turn, probably higher taxes). Those occupational therapists will also still likely find their salaries to be generally lower than if they were to work for private companies.

Another factor to keep in mind with reference to occupational therapy salaries is the simple fact that the salary an individual occupational therapist earns will increase as that individual earns more experience. At the beginning of his or her career, an occupational therapist might be making the lower end of the average occupational therapy salaries, but as time goes on, he or she will almost certainly ascend that scale towards the top.

Occupational therapy salary: Its role in your decisions

In the end, the most important part to keep in mind about occupational therapy salary is that you should be pursuing the type of occupational therapy in which you are most interested. If you work hard, you will almost certainly be able to find a job with a salary that suits your needs. Keep working hard, and you'll be able to find better and better salaries as time goes by. And always remember that the benefits of a job in occupational therapy go far beyond the paycheck.

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About the Author

Brendan Conway is the Web Content Editor for Peterson's Interactive and is well-versed in the world of higher education and admissions. He is a graduate of Hamilton College, and has been working in admissions advice, test-prep advice, career planning advice, and similar fields for the majority of his career since graduation. Brendan endeavors to provide the most relevant, useful, and interesting information via Peterson's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feeds. Brendan enjoys lexicological oddities and voraciously reading in his free time.

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