How much do Occupational Therapist actually earn?

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (18)

Jason Neilson in Silver Spring, Maryland

57 months ago

I have been looking into OT and I have a hard time grasping how much an OT can expect to earn. At this point I think it is false that an OT earns 90 thousand and up as claimed by some. But, I do not expect to earn this much in the field. I would like to know how much I can expect to earn living in a normal city such Salt Lake, Las Vegas, or Reno? I am concerned that this career is losing out to other careers like nursing and I might want to reconsider.

Please let me know, thanks

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (50) / No (30) Reply - Report abuse

alana9494 in Cleveland, Ohio

57 months ago

look up occupational therapist on salary.com I'm not sure about Reno or any of those area, but for the most part it can range from 50-70k depending on the setting and your experience.

Make sure you shadow some OT's before you make the big leap, just an FYI

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (36) / No (18) Reply - Report abuse

clairebear37 in San Jose, California

39 months ago

Van in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: Whatever they earn it never enough to pay for the misery that this field leads you to. Most companies will promise you loads and then cut back once they have you on board anyways. There are a lot better ways to make a living than this. Most people in this field do not make $50 thousand.

If it was just about making a living, then you shouldn’t be doing OT. If you want to be an OT, you’ll probably be fine, and make a descent, honest living with money left over for all kinds of securities, and if you know how to invest, then youll have luxuries to. Geez people.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (16) / No (32) Reply - Report abuse

OT in NJ in Fair Lawn, New Jersey

35 months ago

Van in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: Whatever they earn it never enough to pay for the misery that this field leads you to. Most companies will promise you loads and then cut back once they have you on board anyways. There are a lot better ways to make a living than this. Most people in this field do not make $50 thousand.

I have to disagree with Van on this one. It will ultimately depend on where you live and which setting you work it but when I was a new grad I started in the $70Ks and classmates of mine ranged from $65K- $82K depending on where they worked. No one I knew of made under $65K. I also have to disagree with the statements of the "misery of this field" and that there are "better ways to make a living". I personally don't find OT to be miserable and I have worked in other professions that were MUCH worse than this.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (54) / No (8) Reply - Report abuse

The guy in Spokane, Washington

35 months ago

OT in NJ in Fair Lawn, New Jersey said: I have to disagree with Van on this one. It will ultimately depend on where you live and which setting you work it but when I was a new grad I started in the $70Ks and classmates of mine ranged from $65K- $82K depending on where they worked. No one I knew of made under $65K. I also have to disagree with the statements of the "misery of this field" and that there are "better ways to make a living". I personally don't find OT to be miserable and I have worked in other professions that were MUCH worse than this.

Your job is what you make of it. You have so many opportunities to make therapy fun as an OT that if you hate your job its either: 1) You suck as a therapist 2) A chronic complainer who is never content or has to bring everyone else down 3) You're working in the wrong setting/workplace and need to simply leave.

Anyways, new grad here about to finish up my first FW II. When negotiating salary is there anything I need to make sure to do besides getting it in writing? I know pay is different accross the country but I was told to never accept anything under $30, is that fairly sound advice (I am mostly interested in acute care, ECF's, and burns at this time).

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (21) / No (10) Reply - Report abuse

splntrskl in Charlotte, North Carolina

33 months ago

Hi! I've been reading a couple of the threads and haven't been able to see someone comment from the Southeast. I was wondering if anybody has any idea around how much you think is a fair salary for someone in home care of about 3-4 years. I've checked salary.com and indeed.com and now I have a rough idea bout how much OT's make here. But I would love to hear some more feedback.. Really appreciate. =)

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (7) / No (6) Reply - Report abuse

hezekiel in Medunsa, South Africa

29 months ago

Asolutely wrong Van,salary depends on your location and qualifications

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (10) / No (4) Reply - Report abuse

Karamococa in Chicago, Illinois

29 months ago

Anyways, new grad here about to finish up my first FW II. When negotiating salary is there anything I need to make sure to do besides getting it in writing? I know pay is different accross the country but I was told to never accept anything under $30, is that fairly sound advice (I am mostly interested in acute care, ECF's, and burns at this time).

I'm curious about this as well... also curious about staffing agencies.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Steven Condon in Los Angeles, California

25 months ago

I live in Anaheim and I always wanted to help people, and somehow be able to change people's lives. Same here, I have been looking into OT program. I wonder can an OT sustains a family consist of three member alone? I don't really care about title... being a doctor or something, but I do care if I can provide a decent living for my future family. My definition of decent living is no worry of food, housing...basic living things, and some luxury such as movies and eating at restaurants with my family. Can any OT addresses his or her life style if possible... and how they think about his or her job. I have been checking various website but the range of salary and life style vacillate within a big range.
with my great respect to all the OTs.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (6) Reply - Report abuse

Marc in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

24 months ago

Ots make anywhere from $50,XXX to over $100,000. The setting in which you work plays a role in how much you are paid and so does the location and your years of experience. Someone in the midwest generally will not earn as much as someone with the same qualifications in the same setting in San Francisco. However, the cost of living in San Francisco is way higher, so how much more you're actually making is debatable.

Starting salaries will range from mid 50s to over 100k. Home health and SNF as well as traveling usually yield the highest salaries from what I hear. School settings are the most desirable, but do not pay the best. (It's still good though considering all of your time off, plus you have the ability to work PRN at another company to make more $$).

Please do not become an OT if you are only looking to make $$. There are other ways to make more $$. It takes a special person and not everyone is cut out for it.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (15) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

OT123 in Los Angeles, California

24 months ago

Marc in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania said: Ots make anywhere from $50,XXX to over $100,000. The setting in which you work plays a role in how much you are paid and so does the location and your years of experience. Someone in the midwest generally will not earn as much as someone with the same qualifications in the same setting in San Francisco. However, the cost of living in San Francisco is way higher, so how much more you're actually making is debatable.

Starting salaries will range from mid 50s to over 100k. Home health and SNF as well as traveling usually yield the highest salaries from what I hear. School settings are the most desirable, but do not pay the best. (It's still good though considering all of your time off, plus you have the ability to work PRN at another company to make more $$).

Please do not become an OT if you are only looking to make $$. There are other ways to make more $$. It takes a special person and not everyone is cut out for it.

I haven't heard of anyone having a starting salary of over 100K. They must have some convincing interview skills. People may work their butt off (extra per diem jobs) and earn 100K during their first year, but I haven't heard of a new grad being offered a 6 figure salary. From the people I have spoken to, starting salaries seemed to range from 45K to 70K, dependent on setting and location.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (4) Reply - Report abuse

Marc in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

24 months ago

It's not the norm; I completely agree with you on that. In fact, it's probably hard to find a position that pays that much starting out. But you're right, it's all about how well you can negotiate. This is true for SNF and Traveling jobs. For a new grad he/she probably would have to work more hours , too, on average to make that much money. 45k seems pretty low, but I'd say 50-82k is definitely the norm. If you seek, you shall find though. It is all about where you're working and what setting you're working in that will make all the difference. I've spoken to plenty of therapists who tell me you can make six figures coming out of schoool if you're a contractor, for instance.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Marc in Cape May, New Jersey

24 months ago

Definitely true, but if you have a traveling position you will always have work and be paid top dollar and if money is what you are looking for, it will be worth it. Yes, you may have to work more hours and have less time off, but if you want to maximize your income because you're trying to pay off debt or something...then it's probably you're best bet. Working for a SNF is not that bad either. Yes those problems exist, but not always. And if you're a traveling therapist, you definitely can still get perks such as benefits and paid-time off. Once again, all about your ability to negotiate and find the right job.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Marc in Cape May, New Jersey

24 months ago

I totally agree that you're sacrificing seeing your regular friends/family. On the other hand, it's a good way to meet new people and see the country. Just because you're moving from place to place doesn't mean you're necessarily unattached. Life is a journey and it's honestly a learning experience the whole way. Traveling gives you great opportunities to expand your horizons and develop your skill set. I agree it's not a good idea to enter the same river twice; but, I disagree that "most OTs stay emotionally immature and clueless"- not fair to generalize and say that because it's pretty far from the truth in my opinion. If anything OTs are more in touch with their emotions and feelings, which is why they are good at what they do. Traveling is a great stepping stone in expanding your adulthood. People who do not travel sometimes lack a worldly perspective that is a vital part of maturing in adulthood.

I also disagree with you saying that "traveling is no picnic"--that may be your experience, but every setting and situation will vary. And that's part of the challenging and exciting aspect of a career. You are not committed to do anything that is not in the scope of being an OT. That goes for any job. Don't let yourself be taken advantage of and nip any kind of manipulation in the bud. Just try to be diplomatic about it, yet don't be a pushover and a wimp.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (6) Reply - Report abuse

Marc in Cape May, New Jersey

24 months ago

And btw, I've worked for 3 SNFs, and yes, I do encounter the problems you're referring to...so I am not denying they don't exist. You just have to handle it appropriately as things arise. Be proactive rather than reactive. If someone is dying and you believe you cannot treat them, then don't. I've refused to treat people who are sick/dying (literally 2 hours from their expiration) or who have refused and are cognitively intact.

I can say that people have benefited from therapy in a SNF and that it is a real job that helps people, not "just $$". A very cynical mindset if you ask me. Maybe you should get out of the field because it sure sounds like you don't believe in or like the job.

Traveling is great and there is plenty of steady work, so I'm sorry you don't like it but that doesn't mean we all won't.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (8) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Amber in Madison Heights, Michigan

19 months ago

clairebear37 in San Jose, California said: If it was just about making a living, then you shouldn’t be doing OT. If you want to be an OT, you’ll probably be fine, and make a descent, honest living with money left over for all kinds of securities, and if you know how to invest, then youll have luxuries to. Geez people.

I also disagree with Van, I am a new grad OT from michigan and everyone from class got a job right away (literally within days of setting out resumes) and I do not know anyone who is making less than 65k/yr. Also, not to mention if you pick up a few home health care patients a week you can easily make over 90K/year. OT is a great field to go into. Has all of the same things to offer as physical therapy plus a lot more. Great field, great pay and very very rewarding!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (24) / No (4) Reply - Report abuse

jon in Keego Harbor, Michigan

13 months ago

Amber in Madison Heights, Michigan said: I also disagree with Van, I am a new grad OT from michigan and everyone from class got a job right away (literally within days of setting out resumes) and I do not know anyone who is making less than 65k/yr. Also, not to mention if you pick up a few home health care patients a week you can easily make over 90K/year. OT is a great field to go into. Has all of the same things to offer as physical therapy plus a lot more. Great field, great pay and very very rewarding!

I'm also from the Michigan area. Do you mind if we email off the forum?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

OTinHI in Honokaa, Hawaii

13 months ago

Check out the government website at

www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm

it's pretty much accurate for the median pay, but that depends on location, type of job (SNF/school system/hand therapist, etc)

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.