OT Dude’s Salary Survey Report July 2024

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OT Dude Salary Database Report for July 2024 Released

Welcome to the OT Dude Salary Database, a comprehensive resource for understanding the salary landscape within the field of occupational therapy. This database aggregates salary data from various respondents, providing valuable insights into the financial aspects of careers in occupational therapy across different states and settings.

Purpose of the Database

The primary objective of this database is to offer occupational therapy professionals, students, and stakeholders a detailed overview of salary trends. This information can help in making informed decisions regarding career planning, negotiations, and understanding market standards.

Data Overview

The database includes key metrics such as hourly rates and annual incomes for both Occupational Therapists (OT) and Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTA). The data points are further broken down by state, offering a granular view of how salaries vary across different geographic regions.

Key Metrics and Statistics

For each state, we provide:

  • Hourly Rate: Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation
  • Annual Income: Mean, Median, Mode, and Standard Deviation
  • Data Points: The number of responses collected from each state

These statistics allow users to gauge the range and distribution of salaries within each state, providing a robust understanding of regional differences.

Usage of the Database

This database can be utilized by:

  • Current Professionals: For salary comparison and negotiation purposes.
  • Students and New Graduates: To understand potential earnings and make informed decisions about where to practice.
  • Employers and Recruiters: To benchmark salaries and ensure competitive compensation packages.
  • Policy Makers and Researchers: For analysis and research on salary trends within the occupational therapy profession.

Purpose

The OT Dude Salary Database is a valuable tool for anyone involved in the field of occupational therapy. By offering transparent and detailed salary information, we aim to support the professional growth and financial well-being of occupational therapy practitioners.

Hourly Rate (OT & COTA Combined)

  • Mean: $41.38
  • Mode: $45.00
  • Median: $38.80
  • Standard Deviation: $15.06

Annual Income

  • Mean: $76,295.13
  • Mode: $65,000.00
  • Median: $73,000.00
  • Standard Deviation: $57,376.75

Occupational Therapists (OT)

Hourly Rate:

  • Mean: $43.13
  • Mode: $40.00
  • Median: $40.00
  • Standard Deviation: $15.49

Annual Income:

  • Mean: $74,286.07
  • Mode: $78,000.00
  • Median: $75,000.00
  • Standard Deviation: $25,081.93

Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTA)

Hourly Rate:

  • Mean: $31.11
  • Mode: $35.00
  • Median: $32.00
  • Standard Deviation: $5.42

Annual Income:

  • Mean: $88,032.32
  • Mode: $65,000.00
  • Median: $55,000.00
  • Standard Deviation: $139,923.18

Top 5 States by Mean Hourly Rate

Michigan (MI)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $60.00
  • Median Hourly Rate: $60.00
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $60.00
  • Minimum Wage: $10.10 (as of 2024)
  • Average House Cost: $240,000
  • Average Monthly Living Expenses: $3,500
  • Comparison to Average Salary of Healthcare Professionals: The average annual salary for healthcare professionals in Michigan is approximately $85,000, which translates to about $40.87 per hour.
  • Data Points: 1

California (CA)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $54.82
  • Median Hourly Rate: $53.75
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $63.00
  • Minimum Wage: $16.00 (as of 2024)​
  • Average House Cost: $700,000
  • Average Monthly Living Expenses: $5,000
  • Comparison to Average Salary of Healthcare Professionals: The average annual salary for healthcare professionals in California is approximately $100,000, which translates to about $48.08 per hour.
  • Data Points: 18
  • Standard of Living Index: 150

Oregon (OR)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $50.29
  • Median Hourly Rate: $50.29
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $45.57
  • Minimum Wage: $14.20 (as of 2024)
  • Average House Cost: $450,000
  • Average Monthly Living Expenses: $4,000
  • Comparison to Average Salary of Healthcare Professionals: The average annual salary for healthcare professionals in Oregon is approximately $90,000, which translates to about $43.27 per hour.
  • Data Points: 2

Mississippi (MS)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $50.00
  • Median Hourly Rate: $50.00
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $50.00
  • Minimum Wage: $7.25 (as of 2024)
  • Average House Cost: $200,000
  • Average Monthly Living Expenses: $3,000
  • Comparison to Average Salary of Healthcare Professionals: The average annual salary for healthcare professionals in Mississippi is approximately $75,000, which translates to about $36.06 per hour.
  • Data Points: 1

Iowa (IA)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $46.29
  • Median Hourly Rate: $46.29
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $46.29
  • Minimum Wage: $7.25 (as of 2024)
  • Average House Cost: $220,000
  • Average Monthly Living Expenses: $3,200
  • Comparison to Average Salary of Healthcare Professionals: The average annual salary for healthcare professionals in Iowa is approximately $80,000, which translates to about $38.46 per hour.
  • Data Points: 1

Most Data Points by State

New York (NY)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $46.05
  • Median Hourly Rate: $40.00
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $40.00
  • Minimum Wage: $15.00 (as of 2024)
  • Average House Cost: $650,000
  • Average Monthly Living Expenses: $5,500
  • Comparison to Average Salary of Healthcare Professionals: The average annual salary for healthcare professionals in New York is approximately $100,000, which translates to about $48.08 per hour.
  • Data Points: 13
  • Standard of Living Index: 180

North Carolina (NC)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $38.25
  • Median Hourly Rate: $38.90
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $26.92
  • Minimum Wage: $7.25 (as of 2024)
  • Average House Cost: $300,000
  • Average Monthly Living Expenses: $3,200
  • Comparison to Average Salary of Healthcare Professionals: The average annual salary for healthcare professionals in North Carolina is approximately $75,000, which translates to about $36.06 per hour.
  • Data Points: 11
  • Standard of Living Index: 95

Florida (FL)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $33.28
  • Median Hourly Rate: $37.31
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $10.00
  • Minimum Wage: $11.00 (as of 2024)
  • Average House Cost: $350,000
  • Average Monthly Living Expenses: $3,500
  • Comparison to Average Salary of Healthcare Professionals: The average annual salary for healthcare professionals in Florida is approximately $80,000, which translates to about $38.46 per hour.
  • Data Points: 9
  • Standard of Living Index: 110

Texas (TX)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $37.09
  • Median Hourly Rate: $37.50
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $40.00
  • Minimum Wage: $7.25 (as of 2024)
  • Average House Cost: $320,000
  • Average Monthly Living Expenses: $3,000
  • Comparison to Average Salary of Healthcare Professionals: The average annual salary for healthcare professionals in Texas is approximately $85,000, which translates to about $40.87 per hour.
  • Data Points: 8
  • Standard of Living Index: 100

Oklahoma (OK)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $42.49
  • Median Hourly Rate: $42.83
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $30.00
  • Minimum Wage: $7.25 (as of 2024)
  • Average House Cost: $250,000
  • Average Monthly Living Expenses: $2,800
  • Comparison to Average Salary of Healthcare Professionals: The average annual salary for healthcare professionals in Oklahoma is approximately $70,000, which translates to about $33.65 per hour.
  • Data Points: 6
  • Standard of Living Index: 90

Analysis

  • California: With the most data points, the mean hourly rate for occupational therapists is relatively high, but the high cost of living and housing prices make it a challenging state for meeting expenses comfortably.
  • New York: High mean hourly rate but extremely high cost of living makes it challenging to meet expenses.
  • North Carolina: Lower mean hourly rate but balanced with a lower cost of living, making it more manageable.
  • Florida: Moderate mean hourly rate with a slightly higher cost of living, presenting a balanced scenario.
  • Texas: Favorable mean hourly rate with moderate living expenses, providing good earning potential.
  • Oklahoma: Decent mean hourly rate with low living expenses, making it very favorable for occupational therapists.

Top Settings by Mean Hourly Rate

Mental Health

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $50.70
  • Median Hourly Rate: $39.23
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $1.52
  • Standard Deviation: $28.66

Home Health

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $49.21
  • Median Hourly Rate: $44.23
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $35.00
  • Standard Deviation: $14.47

LTC (Long-Term Care)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $46.00
  • Median Hourly Rate: $46.00
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $46.00
  • Standard Deviation: Not available

SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $43.23
  • Median Hourly Rate: $41.33
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $36.00
  • Standard Deviation: $11.79

Hand Therapy

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $44.43
  • Median Hourly Rate: $39.11
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $33.17
  • Standard Deviation: $13.40

Most Held Degree

  • Master’s Degree

Union Membership and Hourly Earnings

Based on the data from the OT Dude Salary Database, there is a significant difference in the mean hourly rate between occupational therapists who are union members and those who are not:

  • Union Members: The mean hourly rate for union members is approximately $58.30.
  • Non-Union Members: The mean hourly rate for non-union members is approximately $39.81.

Analysis

Occupational therapists who are part of a union earn significantly higher hourly wages compared to their non-union counterparts. This indicates that union membership can have a substantial positive impact on earnings in the field of occupational therapy. Unions often negotiate better wages and benefits for their members, which can explain the higher mean hourly rate observed among union members in this dataset.

Settings Where Most New Graduates Worked (Less than 1 Year of Experience)

  1. Inpatient
    • Number of New Grads: 15
  2. SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility)
    • Number of New Grads: 11
  3. Pediatrics
    • Number of New Grads: 11
  4. School System
    • Number of New Grads: 5
  5. Outpatient
    • Number of New Grads: 3
  6. Hand Therapy
    • Number of New Grads: 3

These settings represent the most common workplaces for new graduates with less than one year of experience. Inpatient settings, skilled nursing facilities, and pediatrics are particularly popular among new grads entering the field of occupational therapy.

Top Settings for Experienced Therapists (10+ Years of Experience)

  1. School System
    • Number of Experienced Therapists: 5
  2. SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility)
    • Number of Experienced Therapists: 4
  3. Other (Not Listed)
    • Number of Experienced Therapists: 3
  4. Home Health
    • Number of Experienced Therapists: 2
  5. Inpatient
    • Number of Experienced Therapists: 2
  6. Pediatrics
    • Number of Experienced Therapists: 1

Top Years of Experience

  1. Less than 1 year
    • Number of Professionals: 56
  2. 10+ years
    • Number of Professionals: 17
  3. 2 years
    • Number of Professionals: 13

Work Type Distribution

  • Full-time: 99 professionals
  • Part-time: 31 professionals

This categorization shows a predominance of full-time workers among the respondents. This distribution helps understand the working hours in the field of occupational therapy, with a significant number working full-time.

Hourly Rate Comparison Based on Raises

Those Who Received Raises

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $45.44
  • Median Hourly Rate: $44.23
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $45.00
  • Standard Deviation: $19.91

Those Who Did Not Receive Raises (or marked N/A)

  • Mean Hourly Rate: $39.71
  • Median Hourly Rate: $37.98
  • Mode Hourly Rate: $40.00
  • Standard Deviation: $12.33

Analysis

Professionals who received raises tend to have a higher mean and median hourly rate compared to those who did not receive raises or marked N/A. The standard deviation is also higher for those who received raises, indicating a wider range of hourly rates in this group. This suggests that receiving raises is associated with higher overall compensation in the field of occupational therapy.

Trends and Patterns in Salary and Cost of Living vs. Education

High Cost of Living States

  • California (CA) and New York (NY):
    • High Mean Hourly Rates: These states offer some of the highest salaries for occupational therapists.
    • High Standard of Living Index: The cost of living, including housing and monthly expenses, is significantly higher in these states.
    • Financial Challenge: Despite high salaries, the elevated cost of living makes it difficult for occupational therapists to meet expenses comfortably.

Moderate Cost of Living States

  • Oregon (OR) and Texas (TX):
    • Moderate Mean Hourly Rates: Salaries in these states are balanced with the cost of living.
    • Standard of Living Index: These states have a moderate cost of living, which aligns well with the salaries offered.
    • Balanced Scenario: Occupational therapists in these states can enjoy a good earning potential relative to their living expenses.

Low Cost of Living States

  • North Carolina (NC), Florida (FL), and Oklahoma (OK):
    • Lower Mean Hourly Rates: Salaries are lower compared to high-cost states but are more than sufficient relative to the cost of living.
    • Standard of Living Index: These states have a lower cost of living, making the mean hourly rates more favorable.
    • Financial Advantage: Lower living costs make it easier for occupational therapists to manage their expenses and save money.

Education Cost and Debt Repayment

Cost of OT School

  • Tuition and Fees: The average cost of an Occupational Therapy (OT) program ranges from $60,000 to $120,000 for a Master’s degree.
  • Living Expenses: Additional costs include living expenses, books, and supplies during the course of the program, adding up to approximately $20,000 to $40,000 per year.
  • Total Cost: The total cost of completing an OT program can range from $100,000 to $160,000.

Worth of OT Education and Debt Repayment

  • High Cost of Living States:
    • California and New York: High salaries in these states can help in repaying student loans quicker, but the high cost of living may extend the debt repayment period.
    • Debt Repayment Timeline: Given the high expenses, it may take 10-15 years to pay off OT school debt if living expenses consume a significant portion of the salary.
  • Moderate Cost of Living States:
    • Oregon and Texas: Moderate salaries and living costs provide a balanced scenario. Occupational therapists can expect to repay their student loans in about 8-12 years.
    • Debt Management: The moderate cost of living allows for better debt management and potential savings.
  • Low Cost of Living States:
    • North Carolina, Florida, and Oklahoma: Lower living costs make it easier to allocate a larger portion of the salary towards debt repayment.
    • Debt Repayment Timeline: Occupational therapists in these states might be able to repay their student loans within 6-10 years due to the favorable cost-to-salary ratio.

Conclusion

The value of an OT education and the timeline for debt repayment heavily depend on the state of employment. While high-cost states offer higher salaries, the substantial living expenses can extend the repayment period. Moderate and low-cost states provide a more balanced and favorable scenario for debt repayment and financial stability, making it easier for occupational therapists to manage their finances and achieve long-term financial goals.

Occupational therapists in the United States face varied financial landscapes based on their geographical locations. In high-cost living states like California and New York, occupational therapists benefit from some of the highest mean hourly rates in the country. However, these financial gains are often offset by the significantly high cost of living, including expensive housing and monthly expenses. For instance, despite earning attractive salaries, the elevated living costs in these states make it challenging for occupational therapists to manage their expenses comfortably and save for the future.

Conversely, states with moderate living costs, such as Oregon and Texas, present a more balanced financial scenario for occupational therapists. In these regions, the salaries are well-aligned with the cost of living, providing a decent earning potential. Therapists can enjoy a good standard of living without the financial strain experienced in higher-cost states, allowing for better debt management and potential savings.

In states with a low cost of living, such as North Carolina, Florida, and Oklahoma, occupational therapists find a favorable financial environment. The lower living expenses in these states make the mean hourly rates more advantageous, allowing therapists to manage their costs more easily and save money. The balance between salary and living costs in these regions provides a significant financial advantage, making it easier for therapists to repay student loans and achieve long-term financial goals.

Comparing the current scenario to five and ten years ago reveals notable trends. In 2019, the occupational therapy profession saw an increase in salaries, but this was accompanied by rising living costs, particularly in metropolitan areas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for occupational therapists in 2019 was significantly higher than in 2014, reflecting the growing demand and value of the profession. However, the cost of living also increased, particularly in high-demand urban areas, which somewhat offset the salary gains.

Looking back to 2014, occupational therapists earned lower salaries compared to today, but the cost of living was also relatively lower. This period marked the beginning of a steady increase in both wages and living costs. The average salary growth over the past decade indicates that the profession has become more financially rewarding, but the rising expenses, particularly in housing and healthcare, continue to be a challenge.

Education costs for occupational therapy programs have also risen over the years, adding to the financial burden of new graduates. With tuition and fees for a Master’s degree in occupational therapy ranging from $60,000 to $120,000, plus living expenses during the program, the total cost can reach up to $160,000. Repaying this debt can take 6-15 years, depending on the state of employment and cost of living.

Overall, the financial landscape for occupational therapists in the United States has evolved significantly over the past decade. While salaries have increased, the cost of living has kept pace, making it crucial for therapists to consider both earnings and expenses when planning their careers. States with lower living costs offer a more favorable financial environment, allowing for better debt management and financial stability, compared to high-cost states where the higher salaries are often offset by the elevated living expenses.

Comparison of Occupational Therapy with Other Professions

Occupational therapists (OTs) in the United States experience a varied financial landscape depending on their geographic location. States like California and New York offer high salaries but also come with a high cost of living, which can offset the financial benefits. In contrast, states with moderate and low costs of living, such as Texas and Oklahoma, provide a more favorable balance between earnings and expenses, making it easier for therapists to manage their finances and repay student loans.

When comparing occupational therapy to other healthcare professions, several key differences emerge:

Physical Therapists (PTs)

  • Salary: The average salary for physical therapists in the United States is approximately $101,801 annually, with salaries ranging from $93,301 to $110,701 depending on factors such as location and experience​ (Salary.com)​​ (BLS.gov)​.
  • Education: PTs require a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, which typically takes three years post-bachelor’s degree to complete​ (Salary.com)​.

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)

  • Salary: SLPs earn an average annual salary of about $83,240, with variations based on experience, setting, and location.
  • Education: A master’s degree in speech-language pathology is required, along with certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Registered Nurses (RNs)

  • Salary: The median annual wage for registered nurses is around $77,600, with opportunities for higher earnings based on specialization, education, and experience.
  • Education: RNs typically hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, with advanced practice nurses requiring a master’s or doctoral degree.

Physician Assistants (PAs)

  • Salary: PAs earn a median annual salary of approximately $121,530, reflecting their extensive training and responsibility in the medical field.
  • Education: A master’s degree from an accredited PA program is required, along with national certification and state licensure.

Physicians (MDs)

  • Salary: Physicians’ salaries vary widely, with primary care physicians earning a median annual salary of around $214,370, and specialists earning significantly more.
  • Education: Becoming a physician requires a minimum of 11 years of education and training, including a bachelor’s degree, medical school, and residency.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs)

  • Salary: LMFTs earn an average annual salary of about $54,590, with higher earnings possible through private practice and specialization.
  • Education: A master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a related field is required, along with state licensure.

Non-Healthcare Professions

For OTs considering a transition to non-healthcare professions, roles such as academic instructors, healthcare administrators, or corporate trainers can offer competitive salaries. For instance, healthcare administrators earn a median annual salary of $104,280, reflecting the high level of responsibility and expertise required.

Financial Considerations

The cost of OT education, ranging from $60,000 to $120,000 for a master’s degree, combined with the cost of living in various states, plays a significant role in financial planning for OTs. High-cost states may extend the debt repayment period, while states with lower costs of living can facilitate quicker debt repayment and financial stability.

Trends Over Time

Comparing the current landscape to five and ten years ago, OT salaries have generally increased, but so have living costs. In 2019, the mean annual wage for OTs was lower than today, but the cost of living was also more manageable. Over the past decade, both salaries and living expenses have risen, making it crucial for OTs to carefully consider both aspects when planning their careers.

Overall, while the occupational therapy profession offers competitive salaries, especially in comparison to some other healthcare roles, the cost of living and educational expenses must be factored into financial decisions. States with lower costs of living provide a more favorable environment for financial growth and stability.

Is an OT Degree Worth It? Analyzing the Data

Determining the value of an Occupational Therapy (OT) degree involves considering various factors such as salary potential, job satisfaction, job stability, and the overall return on investment (ROI) of the education required. Here’s an in-depth analysis using the latest data and comparisons with other professions.

Salary and Job Outlook

Salary Potential: According to the latest data from the OT Dude Salary Database, the average hourly rate for occupational therapists varies significantly by state, with higher rates in California ($54.82) and lower rates in states like Iowa ($46.29). This aligns with the general trend seen in national data, where the average annual salary for OTs is around $86,280 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job Stability: The job outlook for occupational therapists remains very positive, with an expected growth rate of 14% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by an aging population and increased demand for rehabilitative services.

Education Costs and Debt Repayment

Education Costs: The cost of an OT degree ranges from $60,000 to $120,000 for a master’s program, excluding living expenses. Given the total costs, including living expenses, can reach up to $160,000, it’s crucial to consider the repayment period. For instance, in high-cost states like California, the high salaries can help in repaying student loans quicker, but the high cost of living might extend the debt repayment period.

Debt Repayment: Using data from the OT Dude Salary Database, occupational therapists in lower-cost states can manage to repay their student loans more efficiently. For example, in states like Texas and Oklahoma, where the cost of living is lower, therapists can allocate more of their income towards debt repayment, potentially reducing the repayment period to 6-10 years.

Job Satisfaction and Work-Life Balance

Job Satisfaction: Occupational therapists often report high levels of job satisfaction due to the meaningful impact they have on patients’ lives. The ability to help individuals regain or improve their ability to perform daily activities can be highly rewarding.

Work-Life Balance: Many OT positions offer flexible hours and opportunities to work in various settings, contributing to a good work-life balance.

Financial and Personal Considerations

Return on Investment: Given the competitive salaries and positive job outlook, the ROI for an OT degree is generally favorable. However, the high upfront costs must be considered. States with lower living costs and moderate salaries provide a more favorable scenario for quicker debt repayment and financial stability.

Comparisons with Other Professions:

  • Physical Therapists (PTs): PTs earn an average salary of approximately $101,801 annually. Although PTs typically require a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, which involves more extensive education, the higher salary can offset the additional educational costs.
  • Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs): SLPs earn around $83,240 per year. The educational requirements are similar to those of OTs, making the financial outlook comparable.
  • Registered Nurses (RNs): RNs have a median annual wage of about $77,600. The educational path for RNs can vary, with some requiring only an associate’s degree, which can reduce educational costs.
  • Physician Assistants (PAs): PAs earn a median annual salary of approximately $121,530. Although the education is more intensive, the significantly higher salary offers a strong financial incentive.
  • Physicians (MDs): Physicians’ salaries vary widely, with primary care physicians earning a median annual salary of around $214,370. The extensive education and training required for MDs result in a much longer and costlier educational path.
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs): LMFTs earn an average annual salary of about $54,590. The lower educational costs and shorter training period can make this profession financially appealing, despite the lower salary.

Conclusion

An OT degree can be a worthwhile investment, especially when considering the positive job outlook, high job satisfaction, and competitive salaries. However, the value of the degree depends significantly on the location of employment and associated living costs. High-cost states offer higher salaries but also come with increased living expenses, potentially extending the debt repayment period. In contrast, states with lower living costs provide a more favorable financial environment, allowing for better debt management and financial stability.

When comparing with other healthcare professions, OTs have competitive salaries and a good job outlook, though the initial educational investment is significant. Ultimately, an OT degree is worth it for those passionate about the field and willing to navigate the financial challenges associated with the cost of education and living expenses.