Occupational Therapy: Salary and Career Outlook

U.S. News and World Report consistently lists occupational therapy as one of America’s best careers. It was ranked in the Top 25 on the publication’s “Best Jobs”list in 2015. The field received high marks because of its diversity.

Occupational Therapy Jobs

Occupational therapists address physical, mental, emotional and developmental needs for clients of all ages. Moreover, occupational therapy jobs are available in a variety of areas including schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities, outpatient service providers, home health, early intervention and academia.

Doctoral degrees are becoming increasingly necessary in order to meet the complex demands of healthcare. Occupational therapists will need to pursue doctoral education in order to compete and exert leadership in the educational and healthcare services arenas.

Occupational Therapy Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics*, the median pay for an occupational therapist in 2012 was $75,400 per year.

The need for occupational therapists is rising with an expected increase in employment of 29 percent between 2012 and 2022 – which is much faster than the rate of growth for all occupations. Occupational therapists will continue to be in demand, especially due to an aging baby boomer population.

Occupational therapists with doctoral degrees can take a leadership role, effecting policies and strategies that help people with a variety of challenges including but not limited to:

  • Autism
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson’s Disease

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Occupational Therapists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm (visited September 14, 2015).