occupational therapy assistant helping patient

Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary and Benefits

Staff Writer
Jan 22, 2023

If you become an occupational therapy assistant you’ll make a difference in other people’s lives on a regular basis. However, anyone considering a new career also has to think about how much they’ll make in their new vocation. This is how much occupational therapy assistants make, and how their salaries can vary.

Related Resource: What Is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

Average Salary for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2021 mean pay for OTAs was $63,560 per year. That comes out to $30.56 per hour. Just like all jobs, there is pay variation based on region and specialization, and plenty of room for career advancement.

OTA hourly salary


OTA annual salary


OTA Salary by Industry

According to the BLS, the top industries with the highest pay for OTAs in 2021 were:

  • Individual and family services: $80,410
  • Home healthcare services: $73,840
  • Continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly: $71,990
  • Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities): $69,090
  • Management of companies and enterprises: $68,720

Related Resource: 6 Great OTA Career Opportunities

OTA Salary by State – Highest & Lowest Paying Cities

Regional economies also shape OTA salary. The annual mean wages for OTAs by state, according to the BLS include:

  • Alabama: $64,320
  • Alaska: N/A
  • Arizona: $59,710
  • Arkansas: $67,490
  • California: $75,080
  • Colorado: $59,950
  • Connecticut: $67,090
  • Delaware: $71,930
  • District of Columbia: $60,230
  • Florida: $65,370
  • Georgia: $66,740
  • Hawaii: $73,330
  • Idaho: $52,740
  • Illinois: $62,860
  • Indiana: $54,510
  • Iowa: $56,960
  • Kansas: $58,650
  • Kentucky: $64,300
  • Louisiana: $63,310
  • Maine: $56,250
  • Maryland: $66,580
  • Massachusetts: $65,760
  • Michigan: $54,040
  • Minnesota: $54,540
  • Mississippi: $60,180
  • Missouri: $56,230
  • Montana: $57,720
  • Nebraska: $58,630
  • Nevada: $78,100
  • New Hampshire: $65,620
  • New Jersey: $72,860
  • New Mexico: $69,800
  • New York: $64,870
  • North Carolina: $66,100
  • North Dakota: $56,130
  • Ohio: $61,760
  • Oklahoma: $61,760
  • Oregon: $63,680
  • Pennsylvania: $55,820
  • Rhode Island: $62,190
  • South Carolina: $64,160
  • South Dakota: $46,420
  • Tennessee: $60,520
  • Texas: $70,770
  • Utah: $63,580
  • Vermont: $63,400
  • Virginia: $66,580
  • Washington: $65,050
  • West Virginia: $58,500
  • Wisconsin: $51,760
  • Wyoming: $60,360

Highest and Lowest Paying Cities for OTAs

The BLS also breaks down OTA pay by city.

The top five paying metropolitan areas for OTAs are:

  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $85,570
  • Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV: $77,720
  • San Diego-Carlsbad, CA: $77,650
  • Reno, NV: $76,970
  • Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA: $76,750

The lowest paying metropolitan areas for OTAs are:

  • Eau Claire, WI: $44,850
  • Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY: $48,850
  • La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN: $49,130
  • Racine, WI: $49,760
  • Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ: $50,430

OTA vs PTA Salary

Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) help patients with therapy interventions, which includes activities of daily life or plans for patients to help them learn how to live a more independent life.

Physical Therapy Assistants (PTAs) help patients regain muscle strength, range of motion, joint mobility and flexibility.

Related Resource: Occupational Therapy VS Physical Therapy

Occupational Therapy Assistant vs Occupational Therapist Salary

As an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you’ll provide much of the same treatment and support to clients as do Occupational Therapists, however, OTAs operate under the supervision of licensed OTs. Here’s the difference in salary between the two careers, according to the BLS.

  • OTA Median Annual Wage Per Year: $63,560
  • OT Median Annual Wage Per Year: $85,570

Other Benefits to Being an OTA

Besides the salary, becoming an OTA also has other benefits. As someone who makes daily life possible for others, you’ll do meaningful work. One of the biggest indicators of whether someone likes their job is if they can see the value in it. You’ll see meaning in every step of progress your clients make.

Being an OTA is also an active job. You’ll be up and about on a regular basis, and while you’ll spend some time behind a desk, that won’t be your life. Being able to avoid the downsides of a sedentary lifestyle is a major benefit of being an OTA. Do it if you’re excited about getting up, getting out there, and improving people’s lives with your new career.

Related Resource: 6 Personality Traits of Highly Effective OTAs




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