Occupational therapists help clients to perform tasks better both at work and at home. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapists assist clients with performing such activities as dressing, cooking, and using a computer. Occupational therapists also use computer programs to help people improve memory, abstract reasoning and problem solving. They also can collaborate with employers to better design the client's workspace, especially if the client suffers from a disability affecting her ability to work.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) analyzed the results of 2006 salary surveys conducted by state occupational therapy regulatory boards. The salary surveys reported an average annual entry-level salary of $46,300 for occupational therapists. The AOTA wrote that entry-level salaries appear to be rising, based on its review of job advertisements and reported sign-on bonuses. "Advance" magazine reported that salaries rise for the first 10 years of an occupational therapist's career before leveling off.
Mean Salaries for All Occupational Therapists
AOTA's 2006 report claims an average annual salary of $58,000 for all occupational therapists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a mean annual salary of $66,780 for all occupational therapists as of May 2008. "Advance" magazine wrote in 2009 that mean salaries had risen to $65,190.
Salary by Region
The "Advance" salary survey provides a breakdown of salaries by state. Salaried occupational therapists earned the most in Delaware ($83,333), North Carolina ($83,087) and Maryland ($71,181). The lowest-paying states included Maine ($48,138), Idaho ($53,000), Minnesota ($53,494) and New Hampshire ($51,896). AOTA reported highest salaries in the Pacific and South regions, with the Mountain and North Central regions providing the lowest pay to occupational therapists.
Highest Paying Industries
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the major industries in order of average salary. The highest-paying employers in 2008 were home health care services ($74,510) and nursing care facilities ($72,790). Offering lower salaries were health care practitioners' offices ($69,360), general medical and surgical hospitals ($68,100) and elementary and secondary schools ($60,020). AOTA reported the highest salaries in areas like adult daycare facilities ($77,106) and colleges and universities ($69,847).
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Therapists
- AORTA: Workforce Trends in Occupational Therapy
- "Advance's" 2009 Salary Survey
- "Advance": Table 1 -- Salaries by State
- AORTA; Occupational Therapy Salaries and Job Opportunities Continue to Improve; 2006
- "Advance": Table 2 -- Salaries by Employer
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