How Much Does an OT Make: Exploring Occupational Therapy Salaries

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Are you considering a career in occupational therapy? One of the common questions that arise is, “How much does an OT make?” Occupational therapy plays a crucial role in improving the quality of life for individuals facing physical, mental, or emotional challenges. In this article, we will delve into the world of occupational therapy salaries, examining various factors that affect earning potential and providing insights into the average salary range for occupational therapists.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Before we dive into the financial aspect, let’s understand the essence of occupational therapy. Occupational therapy is a healthcare profession that focuses on helping individuals regain independence and functionality in their daily lives. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages, addressing a wide range of conditions, such as injuries, disabilities, developmental delays, and mental health disorders.

Factors Affecting Occupational Therapist Salaries

Several factors come into play when determining the salary of an occupational therapist. These factors include education, experience, location, and industry. Let’s explore each of these factors in detail:


Education plays a significant role in an occupational therapist’s earning potential. Generally, a higher level of education, such as a Master’s or Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy, can lead to better job prospects and higher salaries. Additionally, specialized certifications or advanced training in specific areas of occupational therapy can also contribute to increased earning potential.


Experience is another crucial factor in determining an occupational therapist’s salary. As with any profession, the more experience one gains, the more valuable they become. Occupational therapists with several years of experience often earn higher salaries compared to those who are just starting their careers. Experience brings not only expertise but also a track record of success and the ability to handle complex cases.

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Location plays a significant role in salary fluctuations. Occupational therapist salaries can vary depending on the geographical area in which they practice. Metropolitan areas or regions with higher costs of living generally offer higher salaries to compensate for the increased expenses. Additionally, certain states or countries may have higher demand for occupational therapists, which can drive up salaries.


The industry in which an occupational therapist works can also impact their earning potential. Occupational therapists are employed in various settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, home healthcare, and private practices. Salaries may differ based on the industry, with some sectors offering higher compensation due to the complexity of cases, work hours, or specialized services provided.

Average Salary Range for Occupational Therapists

Now that we have explored the key factors influencing occupational therapy salaries, let’s delve into the average salary range for occupational therapists. Please note that the figures provided are a general overview and can vary depending on factors mentioned earlier.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for occupational therapists was $86,280 in May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $57,330, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $127,510. It’s important to consider that these figures are subject to change based on factors like experience, education, location, and industry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the starting salary for an occupational therapist?

A: Starting salaries for occupational therapists can vary based on factors such as location, education, and industry. On average, entry-level occupational therapists can expect to earn between $60,000 and $75,000 annually. However, it’s essential to note that salaries may vary depending on the specific circumstances.

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Q: Do occupational therapists earn more in certain settings?

A: Yes, salaries can vary depending on the work setting. Occupational therapists working in hospitals or specialized rehabilitation centers often earn higher salaries compared to those in schools or home healthcare. The complexity of cases, work hours, and demand for specialized services can contribute to varying salary levels.

Q: How does location affect an occupational therapist’s salary?

A: Location plays a significant role in salary discrepancies. Major metropolitan areas or regions with high costs of living tend to offer higher salaries to compensate for the increased expenses. On the other hand, rural areas or regions with lower demand for occupational therapists may have lower salary ranges.


In conclusion, occupational therapy is an incredibly fulfilling profession that not only helps individuals overcome challenges but also offers competitive earning potential. While factors such as education, experience, location, and industry influence an occupational therapist’s salary, the average salary range for occupational therapists is approximately $86,280 per year.

If you are passionate about making a positive impact on people’s lives and enjoy working in a dynamic field, a career in occupational therapy could be the perfect fit. Remember, salaries can vary based on numerous factors, and it’s always advisable to research further and consult reliable sources to gain accurate and up-to-date information on occupational therapy salaries.

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