Do Occupational Therapists Make Good Money

Occupational therapists assist individuals in regaining or improving function in daily activities and occupations affected by injury, illness, or disability. Their salary potential depends on factors such as experience, location, and employer type. On average, occupational therapists earn a comfortable income, with the potential for higher earnings in specialized areas or leadership roles. Their valuable contributions to patient rehabilitation and quality of life make their profession both personally rewarding and financially sustainable.

Occupational Therapist Job Outlook

The job outlook for occupational therapists is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. The aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases are just two factors that are driving the demand for occupational therapists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of occupational therapist jobs will grow by 17% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Salary Trends

Occupational therapists earn a good salary, with a median annual wage of $85,570 in May 2020, according to the BLS. The lowest 10% of earners made less than $56,140, and the highest 10% earned more than $122,720.

Occupational therapist salaries can vary depending on a number of factors, including experience, education, location, and employer. For example, occupational therapists who work in hospitals tend to earn higher salaries than those who work in schools or clinics.

Average Annual Salary for Occupational Therapists
Experience Level Salary
Entry-level $65,000
Mid-career $85,000
Senior-level $105,000

Factors Influencing Occupational Therapist Earnings

Occupational therapists, also known as OTs, play a crucial role in helping individuals with disabilities or injuries improve their physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. While the field offers a rewarding career path, the financial compensation can vary depending on several factors.

Education and Experience

  • Earning a master’s or doctoral degree in occupational therapy typically leads to higher salaries.
  • Years of experience in the field also contribute to increased earnings potential.


  • Geographic location can significantly impact salaries. Urban areas tend to offer higher compensation compared to rural areas.
  • States with high costs of living may also have higher average salaries for occupational therapists.


  • Occupational therapists working in hospitals or acute care settings generally earn more than those in schools or community-based clinics.


  • OTs who specialize in areas such as pediatrics, mental health, or geriatrics may earn more due to specialized training and experience.

Additional Certifications and Licenses

  • Obtaining additional certifications or licenses, such as the Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) or Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT), can enhance earnings potential.
Average Annual Salaries for Occupational Therapists by State
State Average Salary
California $97,150
New York $96,880
Massachusetts $89,280
Illinois $86,230
Texas $82,960

Occupational Therapist Salary Outlook

As an occupational therapist, you can expect to earn a comfortable salary. The median annual salary for occupational therapists was $85,570 in May 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This means that half of all occupational therapists earned more than $85,570 and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent of occupational therapists earned less than $56,280, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $122,840.

Comparing Occupational Therapist Salaries to Other Healthcare Professions

Occupational therapists earn more than some other healthcare professions, but less than others. Here is a comparison of median annual salaries for several healthcare professions, according to the BLS:

  • Physical therapists: $95,620
  • Speech-language pathologists: $80,440
  • Occupational therapists: $85,570
  • Registered nurses: $77,600
  • Licensed practical nurses: $48,820

It is important to note that salaries for occupational therapists can vary depending on their experience, education, and location. For example, occupational therapists with a master’s degree or doctorate will typically earn more than those with only a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, occupational therapists who work in urban areas will typically earn more than those who work in rural areas.

Median Annual Salaries for Healthcare Professions
Profession Median Annual Salary
Physical therapists $95,620
Speech-language pathologists $80,440
Occupational therapists $85,570
Registered nurses $77,600
Licensed practical nurses $48,820

Well folks, there ya have it! Hopefully this article has given you some insight into the financial world of occupational therapists. Remember, money isn’t everything, but it sure helps pay the bills! So, if you’re passionate about helping others and are looking for a career that can provide a comfortable living, occupational therapy may be the perfect fit for you. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back for more occupational therapy-related articles in the future!