Average Salary for Occupational Therapists in the US

  • Interview and Job Offer Preparation
  • By Jobs For Therapists
  • Published on October 8

In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare professions, occupational therapy continues to play a crucial role in improving the lives of individuals facing various challenges. Occupational therapists (OTs) are dedicated professionals who help people regain independence and improve their quality of life through therapeutic interventions. If you're considering a career in occupational therapy or are just curious about the financial aspects of this rewarding profession, you've come to the right place. In this blog post, we will explore the average salaries of occupational therapists in the United States, highlighting the factors that influence their earnings.

Before we dive into the numbers, it's important to understand some fundamental concepts about occupational therapy salaries. The salary of an occupational therapist can vary significantly based on factors such as location, experience, education, and employment setting. Therefore, when discussing average salaries, it's essential to take these variables into account.


Location plays a substantial role in determining an occupational therapist's salary. In general, states with a higher cost of living tend to offer higher salaries to healthcare professionals. For instance, occupational therapists in California, Massachusetts, and Nevada typically earn higher incomes compared to those in states with a lower cost of living.


Experience is another critical factor that influences an occupational therapist's salary. Newly graduated OTs may start with lower salaries, but as they gain experience and expertise, their earning potential increases. Many occupational therapists also pursue advanced certifications or specialties, which can lead to higher salaries.


The level of education can also impact an occupational therapist's salary. While a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy is the minimum requirement for entry-level positions, many OTs pursue master's or doctoral degrees to enhance their knowledge and career prospects. Higher levels of education can lead to higher salaries.

Employment Setting:

Occupational therapists can work in various settings, including hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, and private practices. The type of employment setting can influence salary levels. For example, OTs working in hospitals may earn more than those in school settings.

Certification and Specialization:

Obtaining certifications or specializing in a specific area of occupational therapy, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or hand therapy, can significantly impact salary potential. Certified specialists often command higher salaries due to their specialized expertise.

Economic Conditions:

Economic conditions and healthcare policies can also impact the demand for occupational therapists and their salaries. Changes in government funding, insurance reimbursement rates, and healthcare legislation can have indirect effects on OT salaries.

We've compiled a list of the mean and median annual and hourly wages for Occupational Therapists in the US here (Based on data from May 2022 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)