Occupational Therapy vs. Nursing – Career Comparison Table

occupational therapy vs nursing table
Occupational TherapyNursing
EducationUndergrad + 2.5 years Graduate2 years Associate’s
Min. Degree RequiredMaster’s (Doctorate’s by 2027)Associate (Trending to Bachelor’s)
Avg. Degree HeldMaster’sBachelor’s
Min. Tuition Cost$20,000+$6,000+
Median Annual Salary (2019)$84,950 (OTR/L)$73,300 (RN)
Median Hourly Salary (2019)$40.84 (OTR/L)$35.24 (RN)
By Gender83.9% Female86.7% Female
Job Outlook18% growth12% growth
BurnoutN/A (likely lower)High
No. Jobs (2018)133,0003,059,800
By Race82.7% White, 6.5% Asian, 5.1% Black63.7% White, 12.2% Hispanic, 10.1 Black, 5.7% Asian
Avg. Age41.342.8
Patient Ratio1 OT : 1 Patient1 RN : 1+ Patients
Common Pay TypeHourlyHourly
Avg. Hours Worked8 hrs/day – 5 days/wk12 hrs/day – 3 days/wk
Physical DemandHigh (Patient Transfers)High (Standing, Stooping)
Work SettingsManyMany
Workplace BullyingLowMedium-High
Non-clinical Setting OpportunitiesManyMany
Salary GrowthAverageHigher than Average
StressAverage-HighHigher than Average
COVID RiskHighVery High
Patient Responsibility & RiskHighVery High
CreativityHigher than averageLow
Public Perception & FamiliarityUnfamiliar & unknown “What is OT?”Well-known
Pregnancy Risk (Exposure, Injury)Higher than averageVery High

Additional Information

Interested in learning more about a career in Occupational Therapy? I made an online course for those considering to become occupational therapists.

If you are interested in a career in Nursing, I made an online course for that too!


  • bls.gov
  • datausa.io