Occupational Therapist Salary Guide and Career Outlook

The occupational therapist salary in the United States is $64,618 while the median salary in South Africa is R209,306 ($16,035) and in the United Kingdom, it is E26,797 ($28,443). The pay is similar in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada at AU$59,022, NZ$56,042, and C$58,329. These slight variations could be due to the people submitting salary information to Payscale.

A huge part of an occupational therapist career is knowing what the expected salary is and what impacts the bottom line. Therefore, this article covers pay ranges in 7 different countries, how varying levels of experience and types of industries affect it, what the typical work schedule is, and if there is a promising career outlook.

How Much Does an Occupational Therapist Make per Year by Country?

Occupational Therapist Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Pay $35.00 C$35.00 ($26.73) E20.00 ($21.23) AU$28.37 ($21.74) NZ$26.00 ($18.68) Rs 187.49* ($2.80) R259.00 ($19.84)
Annual Pay $64,618 C$58,329 ($44,541) E26,797 ($28,443) AU$59,020n($45,232) NZ$56,042 ($40,260) Rs 389,999 ($5,814) R209,306 ($16,035)

*These figures are estimated based on the other pay information given. This assumes a 40 hour work week.

what is an occupational therapy salary

Occupational Therapist Salary Influencing Factors

The occupational therapist salary ranges in different countries depend on individuals from those countries self-reporting data. Therefore, they may be dissimilar when looking at sites like Payscale or Indeed.

1. Location

How Much Does an Occupational Therapist Make in the US?

The occupational therapist hourly rate in the United States is $27.91 to $48.80 with an overtime rate of $27.98 to $65.84. Therefore, the annual salary is $49,532 to $84,970 with a bonus up to $8,081 and a small profit share of $1,400. Their total salary ranges from $52,913 to $95,168.

How Much Does an Occupational Therapist Make in Canada?

Occupational therapists in Canada will make a salary from C$40,038 to C$79,385 dollars. Their hourly rate is C$24.90 to C$45.63 with a few reporting overtime of C$25.43. However, some professionals will earn a bonus of C$5,000 for a total final salary of C$46,616 to C$88,782.

How Much Does an Occupational Therapist Make in the UK?

The occupational therapist salary in the United Kingdom is E20,751 to E34,281 with a small bonus of E3,500. If they get paid hourly, the reported base rate is E20.00, and the reported overtime rate is E37.60. Their full income from being an occupational therapist is E20,902 to E38,859.

How Much Does an Occupational Therapist Make in Australia?

The 10th percentile of occupational therapists in Australia will earn a salary of AU$44,876 annually and an hourly rate of AU$24.77. The 90th percentile of earners will make AU$77,962 and AU$44.81 an hour. Additionally, those who earn a bonus report it at AU$8,500 and those who see a profit share make AU$1,965. In summary, their total pay is AU$47,363 to AU$83,491.

How Much Does an Occupational Therapist Make in New Zealand?

The base pay for occupational therapists in New Zealand is NZ$45,302 to NZ$79,149. A small number of individuals (6) report an hourly rate of NZ$26.11. However, there are no reported bonuses or additional sources of income. The cumulative salary is thus very similar to the base salary, and it is NZ$44,353 to NZ$81,276.

How Much Does an Occupational Therapist Make in India?

The final pay for these professionals in India is Rs 180,000 to Rs 625,396. This comes from a base salary of Rs 178,793 to Rs 608,942 and a reported bonus of Rs 3,444.

How Much Does an Occupational Therapist Make in South Africa?

The occupational therapist salary in South Africa is R118,983 to R376,090 with a bonus from R2,027 to R29,590. They can earn an hourly rate of R260.00 and bonus hourly rate of R360.00. Actually, their total income is R121,420 to R491,252.

2. Experience

The occupational therapy starting salary may range. In Australia, entry-level occupational therapists get 4 percent below the average while late-career therapists see a pay 30 percent above this average. The pay range by experience in Canada increases sharply for the first five years and modestly for those with more than 20 years. Experienced occupational therapists in New Zealand have an income 41 percent above the median. However, the pay in India is significantly under the median at 29 percent below. It increases modestly for those in the United Kingdom for the first 15 years and then increases 17 percent for those with 20 years of experience. The pay increases about $20,000 from entry-level to experienced occupational therapists in the United States.

The most common category of experience range is 1-4 years in all seven of the countries described in the salary ranges above.

3. Industry

The vast majority of occupational therapists work in either hospitals or in an office with a suite of therapists. They can also work in elementary schools, nursing homes, or home healthcare services. Therefore, the occupational therapist salary can differ from one institution to another. In addition, they have a very patient-centric job, and thus regardless of the office they work in, they will help people regain their normal movement and function.

Some skills are valued differently. For example, in Australia, the occupational therapy requirements regarding skills are mental health, disability support, and rehabilitation. However, in the United States, it is home health care, occupational therapy, geriatrics, and certified hand transplant.

In the United States, there is The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA) that helps to organize various information. These professionals get it from various conferences to professional development, to latest news and research in the field.

Schedule & Working Hours

Approximately 25 percent of occupational therapists work part-time. The rest work full-time. They may have to work evenings or weekends depending on their patients. It is not normal for these professionals to have to work more than 40 hours a week. If they do, it is likely that they will make overtime pay.

Some occupational therapists could go to businesses or schools and make recommendations for how the workplace could be improved. They regularly have to lift heavy items and help patients move in potentially awkward positions.

Bonuses & Benefits

The benefits seen for occupational therapists depends on how many hours they work. Naturally, part-time employees will see different and most likely fewer benefits than their full-time counterparts.

An example of the benefits offered by a company called Integrated Rehabilitation Group: competitive pay, quarterly bonuses based on performance, 401(K), comprehensive healthcare coverage, paid time off including vacation and sick pay, and discounted tuition on professional development. There is a note from the company that says that contract or per diem employees are not eligible for any benefits.

One of the most important employee benefits is healthcare coverage. Therefore, it is valuable to look at what healthcare coverage occupational therapists around the world have. The table below shows these percentages.

Country United States Canada United Kingdom Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Medical 77 76 10 10 25 41
Dental 63 67 3 12
Vision 52 51 5 4 12
None 21 17 85 90 75 59

Career Outlook

In the United States, these professionals will see tremendous job growth as the growth is projected to be 27 percent through the year 2024. An occupational therapist has an important role to play in the rehabilitation of people who has degenerative diseases or deal with chronic injuries or conditions. It is a goal of many seniors to remain independent for as long as possible. Occupational therapists can help them maintain their independence. In fact, while there are similarities, their pay is higher than the social worker salary. That’s due to their extra medical training. In 2014, there were 114,600 occupational therapists, and in 2024 that number should be 145,100.

In every country explored except India, there are more females than men. India has 33 percent females and 67 percent males working as occupational therapists. In the United Kingdom and Canada, the percentage of females is at 71 and 77 percent. Finally, the percentage of females is much higher in the United States and Australia at 85 and 91 percent.


An occupational therapist career is a great choice that should lead to several job opportunities and a good salary. However, there may still be demand for positions that are in desirable locations or that involve working with a desirable population. If you have good fine-motor skills and like to help people regain independence in their life then

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