Occupational Therapist Salary
Occupational therapy is a tough but rewarding profession, and few people choose this field for the money. Most occupational therapists are passionate about helping people lead better lives, and are intrinsically motivated by their work and their patients. Still, your education was not cheap, and it is only fair for you be to adequately compensated for your skills and hard work. As of 2018, the median salary for occupational therapists is around $83,000, but this can vary widely. Here are some of the variables that go into determining the salary of an occupational therapist.
Like most careers, occupational therapy pays more for those with a great deal of experience. In fact, your starting salary may be less than $70,000, while those at the top of the field could make more than $100,000. Experience matters more than education, with masters-level occupational therapists not seeing a significant salary increase over bachelors degree holders.
Supply and Demand
The reality is that occupational therapists provide a service, and the greater the demand for that service, the more it costs. If you live in an area with a sizeable elderly population but few occupational therapists, your salary will likely be higher than if you live somewhere with lots of OTs but a relatively small population of people who need your services.
Of course, average salaries also vary according to cost of living and insurance reimbursement rates. If you are considering a relocation, be sure to check average salaries for occupational therapists in the locations you are thinking about.
Where you practice will also affect your salary. Home health and skilled nursing facilities are typically among the highest paying, while schools often pay the least. Don’t let your paycheck be the sole driver for the setting you choose, though. Most OTs have a passion for a specific client population, and you will likely be happier working with those clients who touch your heart rather than working somewhere solely for the money.
Travel Occupational Therapy
If you are interested in seeing the country, either in the long term or just to try out different settings after graduation, travel occupational therapy can be lucrative as well as rewarding. Your compensation will likely be higher than in a permanent setting, and you may get extra perks such as a non-taxable stipend, paid housing, and even bonuses for completing assignments. Just be sure to read the fine print in your contract, especially in regard to health insurance, vacation time, and the ability to relocate from a position that isn’t the right fit for you.
As an occupational therapist, you will have the ability to choose from a wide range of positions and client populations. Pay scales vary, but most OTs are able to find a position that pays a salary they are comfortable with while also allowing them to work with the clients that most personally resonate with them.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re ready to boost your score on the NBCOT® exam, we invite you to contact Pass the OT today for more information or to choose the package that is right for you.
It was a late September morning. I woke up with a pit in my stomach, searched my apartment for any signs of 13, my lucky number, and logged into the NBCOT® exam portal to see if I had passed the exam on my second try. I clicked the core browser and immediately began crying.
“442,” the score box read.
How could I score lower after just missing a passing score by two points a month ago? Furthermore, I had a job all lined up and now I couldn’t take it. To say I was in shock and totally heartbroken is an understatement. (more…)
Those who have been reading this blog and following my articles may or may not know that it took me three times to pass the NBCOT® Exam. While I certainly credit part of my success to a change in perspective and taking better care of myself mentally and physically, switching from Therapy Ed®to Pass the OT was, without a doubt, the critical step in my eventual, and long overdue completion of my occupational therapy degree. (more…)
Starting any Fieldwork II experience is stressful. Whether it’s your first or your second, there’s always a sense of apprehension about what exactly to expect, and how to make a good impression during that crucial first week. Yet even in the midst of feeling overwhelmed by the constant stream of new information coming your way, there are steps you can take to make sure that the first week goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips to help you out. (more…)
From April 19th through April 22nd, AOTA® will be taking over the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City Utah for their annual conference. Chances are, you have heard of the weekend-long event throughout your education. But if you’re like me, what exactly happens during the event has always been a bit of a mystery. (more…)
Studying for the NBCOT® Exam can be a long and arduous process for anyone. Whether it’s your first time going through the motions of reviewing content or your third time taking the exam, the journey is long and, at its worst, grueling. Finding the motivation to stay on task can be incredibly difficult during the lulls of the process, however, with the right tools, getting yourself out of the rabbit hole of negativity can be much easier than you think. Below are seven tips to help you when times get tough. (more…)
Studying for the NBCOT® exam can be extremely difficult to do on your own. Often students feel discouraged, lost, afraid, and overwhelmed by the material which causes them to fixate on unnecessary details, over analyze, and second guess themselves. Typically, students in occupational therapy programs are high-achieving and goal-oriented independent learners. But the NBCOT® exam is not a typical final exam or chapter test. It is comprehensive. It requires students to reach out of their comfort zone, to think outside the box, and to use critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. It also requires students to believe in their knowledge and education, to apply it to clinical situations, and to answer exactly what is being asked in an ethical and professional manner. Will there be more than one correct answer? Probably, but what is the BEST answer? Students must think which response best answers what is being asked–which one applies to the OT practice framework. (more…)
By Shannon Corcoran
It’s no secret that taking the NBCOT® Exam is stressful in countless ways. Without a proper plan, studying for the OT and OTA test can be overwhelming and daunting. Between the time commitment required to prepare, the sacrifices that are inevitably made while studying, and the financial stress that comes with buying review materials and high exam fees, it often feels like the NBCOT® Exam journey is a really long dark tunnel, where some fear they may never reach the light.
Studying for and taking the NBCO® Exam feels like a never-ending process full of emotions that range from helplessness to being overwhelmed. However, after not passing the first, second, or third time, those feelings are heightened tremendously. Days filled with self doubt can often become the norm and, sometimes, students can’t help but wonder if OT is really what they were meant to do. While these times of struggle can drag on, there are ways to make them as short as possible or even end them altogether, especially if you are a friend or loved one of a student going through the NBCOT® Exam journey. Here are five tips to help a student going through a rough patch of study time. (more…)
The NBCOT® exam strikes fear in the hearts of occupational therapy students everywhere, and for good reason. The exam has developed a well-earned reputation for being extremely hard to pass. Why is it so tough, and what can test takers do to boost their chances for success? Let’s unpack these issues. (more…)
By: Victoria Guggenbiller
As a former faculty member I had a lot of difficulty preparing my students for the NBCOT® exam. Therefore, I decided to reach out to many program directors at a variety of colleges and universities to better understand the challenges they face when helping students prepare for the NBCOT® exam. Here are some of their major complaints. (more…)
Finding out you failed the NBCOT® exam can be disheartening. All your hard work and money you contributed towards preparing and taking this exam seems to be meaningless at this point. You may first feel shocked followed by anger or sadness. You may be feeling discouraged at this point. However, it is important to take a deep breath and take action towards your next steps. Failing the NBCOT® exam will not define you as an occupational therapist. Remember, at this point you have successfully completed all coursework, research projects, and fieldwork, thus earning your Master’s degree in occupational therapy.
While preparing for the NBCOT® exam, you may find there are infinite resources to choose from. However, not all test prep is created equal or reliable. Purchasing test prep materials can also be expensive. Therefore, it is important to decide which test prep will best accommodate your learning style in the most cost-effective way. While some learners may prefer paperback books to highlight key concepts and mark pages, online test prep has shown to help NBCOT® candidates pass the certification exam at a higher rate. There are many reasons why online prep is the right choice for preparing for the COTA NBCOT® exam.