How Much Money Do Occupational Therapists Make?

Occupational therapists are vital for people who need assistance completing everyday tasks. According to Regis College, an occupational therapist, or OT, applies therapeutic style techniques to their patients to help them return to normal and be able to handle day-to-day life on their own. If you were in an accident or had surgery and spent time in the hospital, you may lose your ability to do simple things like write or walk steadily. An OT will come in and create a treatment plan to get you back to how you were before. If that is not possible, they will help you learn how to use new equipment that may now be necessary.

According to WebMD, one of the most common forms of OT is used in children. Many children with disabilities or those who live with conditions like autism, ADHD, or have sensory issues can benefit from seeing an OT. This specific kind of therapist will help them learn how to socially interact with others and reach milestones that they may not otherwise be able to do on their own. The elderly are also a popular group that can benefit greatly from working with an OT, especially ones that may be dealing with memory loss, arthritis, or chronic pain. It's clear that an occupational therapist is an important job, but just how much do they make?

Occupational therapists make a good salary

If you are interested in becoming an occupational therapist, you're in luck. While many career paths are taking a dive, OT is growing. By 2028, Forbes predicts the amount of occupational therapist jobs will rise by 18%, making it an increasingly popular and in-demand job. And even better than being able to find a job once you graduate? The median salary for an occupational therapist is quite good as well. While factors like where you live are always at play, The Balance Careers reports that the average occupational therapist salary is about $83,200. At the higher end, some OTs make as much as $120,440, while at the lower end, they can make about $54,560.

According to ZipRecruiter, OTs who live in New Jersey are paid the most, while those that live in Georgia are paid the least. But before you pack up your things and move, be sure to factor the cost of living to your base salary. Interested in pursuing a career as an occupational therapist? Here's what it takes.

What it takes to become an occupational therapist

Unfortunately, it is actually quite tedious to become an occupational therapist. According to The Balance Careers, you first need an undergraduate degree in something like biology, psychology, or liberal arts. Once your four-year degree is secured, you will need to apply to graduate programs in occupational therapy. The program you choose will need to be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. Luckily, the ACOTE has options for all types of learners, including those that need weekend classes or who want to participate in bridge programs.

After you have graduated with your graduate degree, you will need to take and pass a board exam and get licensed in the state you wish to practice. Once you have completed these requirements, you may find yourself working in a clinic or hospital or even opening your own practice, per WebMD. Beyond your schooling and field work, an OT will also need to have good communication skills, have a high level of patience, consider themselves a flexible person, and have a knack for solving problems (via Regis College). But, all of this will be worth it, as OTs truly help people live their very best lives.