2019 Occupational Therapy Salary Survey Overview

A first look at the 2,000 responses we received from OT professionals

For the first time in three years, Elite Healthcare (formerly ADVANCE) has offered an occupational therapy Salary Survey! Almost 2,000 professionals responded in the past few months, and we take a closer look at their answers.

This week, we’ll provide an examination of some of the main themes that emerged from our results—how long people have worked in OT, some of their general attitudes towards their jobs, and the conditions under which they perform their work. In the coming weeks, we’ll be able to provide more specific, particular looks at how much money a person in a specific situation or stage of their career is making.

First, a few general breakdowns from some of our simpler questions:

  • Our responses were split 70/30 between occupational therapists and OTAs.
  • A little over 88 percent of total respondents are female.
  • There’s a lot of mid-career representation in occupational therapy, as over 56 percent of respondents are between the ages of 31-50. Similarly, over 62 percent of responses report somewhere between 6-25 years of professional experience.
  • Geographically, Florida was our most popular state, with almost a full 10 percent of responses coming from the Sunshine State. Florida was followed, in order, by Ohio, California, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Now for the biggest question: how much are OT professionals making? Again, this is an overview, with statistics not yet broken down by OT/OTA or across other boundaries. But the most common range was $70,001-$80,000, representing a shade over 15 percent of total responses. However, all $10K ranges from $50,001-$60,000 to $80,001-$90,000 received at least 13 percent of responses. 

In all, 58 percent of responses reported a salary between $50,001-$90,000, with the split between those making more (20 percent) and less (22 percent) relatively even. 

Our next area of focus was employment status, where exactly 75 percent of you replied that you work as a full-time (defined as 35+ hours per week) employee. 15 percent are working part-time, with another nine percent employed on a per-diem basis. At 29 percent, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are the most common employment setting for OT professionals in 2019. Schools (19%), home care (15%), and outpatient clinics(11%) were the next most popular answers.

Benefits for Employees

The good news is that a whopping 83 percent of our responses indicate that employees are receiving benefits through their position, a fact made even more impressive when you consider that only 75 percent are working full time. 

The benefits often thought to be standard (medical, vision, prescription, dental) were named almost universally as those offered by employers, but a few surprising categories included paid or reimbursed continuing education (just over 50 percent), short-term and long-term disability (60 percent and 52 percent, respectively), health savings accounts (46 percent). The downside, if there was one, is that only 11 percent on responses indicated their employers offer bonuses on a regular basis. By and large, however, the employee benefits landscape appears to be a positive one in the occupational therapy profession.     

Moreover, 84 percent of responses indicated their benefits have remained at the same level or improved over the past 12 months. More than 80 percent of professionals responded that they feel their benefits are at or above the standard they’ve come to expect in their careers.

Loosely tied to benefits is the concept of regular raises, where we can happily report that about 60 percent of OT professionals have received a raise in the past 12 months.

Overtime

The simple answer—most OTs aren’t required to work overtime. Only about three percent of OTs reported being required to work beyond the 40 hour per week mark. An additional 17 percent are in salaried positions in which they do work extra hours, but the government and our survey doesn’t define such a situation as overtime. 

But that doesn’t mean extra work is unavailable or that these professionals are unwilling to perform those added hours. Of those who reported that they weren’t required to work overtime, about 20 percent added that they have volunteered to do so anyway. In all, it adds up to an additional statistic that shows about a quarter of OT professionals working more than 40 hours per week (this includes those required to work overtime, those volunteering to do so, and those in salaried positions working extra hours.) The vast majority say they’re working between 1-8 extra hours per week.

Second Jobs and Work/Life Balance

Second jobs are relatively common, with 28 percent of OT professionals reporting employment in at least one other environment. They don’t tend to be large time commitments, with most people working 10 hours or fewer in their second jobs. 

One area that was hard to draw any real conclusion was the question that asked OT professionals how long they travel to reach work on a daily basis. More than 58 percent can get to work in under 30 minutes, but a full 16 percent reported traveling up to an hour or more to get to their place of employment. 

In this day and age, it’s not surprising to see that 62 percent of OTs either already have the opportunity or would pursue an opportunity to work virtually. Some of the reported commute times only serve to underline that point.

Job Search 

Here’s one you’ll want for your professional description: OTs tend to be a particularly loyal group.

An impressive 71 percent of respondents indicated their average stay in a job is greater than five years; a remarkable percentage in an era where many pundits encourage the need for a ‘constant’ job search, always availing one’s self of the latest opportunities. OT professionals seem to have moved in the other direction, finding a position they enjoy and staying in place.

Looking back through our results, it’s easy to see why. They enjoy full-time employment in roles where they receive competitive benefits and aren’t overworked in terms of hours—enough so that many have the ability to dabble in second jobs or moonlight to make extra money. At first glance, our 2019 Salary Survey reveals a strong state of affairs in the occupational therapy profession. 

 

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