How Much Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Make per Year?
The chart below outlines salaries and their USD equivalency for select countries worldwide.
|OTA Salary||US||Canada||UK||Australia||New Zealand||India||South Africa|
|Hourly Wage||$26||C$17 (US$13)||£10 (US$12)||AU$22 (US$17)||NZ$24 (US$17)||Rs199 (US$3)||R107 (US$8)|
Often confused with physical therapists, occupational therapists have many more responsibilities than just physical well-being. They use intervention and assessment to make sure that individuals or groups of individuals correctly develop and maintain a set of activities and occupations that are essential to their well-being.
Factors that Influence the Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary
OTA salary varies by geographic region, professional experience, and work setting, according to Payscale.com, Indeed.com, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and country-specific employment resources. Additional information on earnings and a career in occupational therapy is provided in the following paragraphs of this guide.
1. Geographic Area
Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary in the US
OTA salary in the US ranges from nearly $29,000 to just under $58,000 per year. There is potential for bonus earnings that can boost overall earnings significantly by $6,000 to $12,000. Some OTAs receive an hourly wage ranging from about $18 to more than $34. Overtime and shift differential may be rewarded with additional pay of more than $47 per hour. Earnings increase steadily during the first 10 to 20 years’ of experience, but additional experience does not add to overall income.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary in Canada
In Canada, occupational therapy assistants early in their careers can expect to earn about C$31,000 per year. With experience, average salaries increase to an average of C$40,000 annually. With additional experience and responsibility, annual earnings increase to nearly C$57,000.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary in the UK
In the UK, the median annual salary for OTAs is £19,773 per year. Upon entering a career in occupational therapy, starting salaries are just under £13,000 per year. With experience and additional responsibility, annual earnings increase to more than £30,000. Incomes in London are about 21% more due to the higher cost of living stipends commonly offered in the city and nearby surrounding areas.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary in Australia
Median OTA salary in Australia is AU$45,000 per year or AU$21 per hour for those working on an hourly wage. During one’s early career, earnings are about AU$35,000 per year or AU$18 per hour, increasing with experience to nearly AU$56,000 per year or AU$24 per hour. Additional pay of up to AU$35 per hour is offered by some employers for overtime hours.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary in New Zealand
In New Zealand, the average OTA salary is NZ$46,500 per year. For entry-level OTAs, starting salary is about NZ$35,000 per year. With additional experience and increasing responsibility, annual earnings climb to about NZ$65,000.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary in India
Occupational therapists in India likely earn higher salaries than OTAs; however, salaries for occupational therapists can be used as a reference for OTA earnings. Starting salaries for occupational therapists are just under Rs179,000, increasing to nearly Rs609,000 per year. Bonuses can account for an additional Rs3,400 yearly income.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary in South Africa
With limited information on OTA salaries in South Africa, we will use earnings for occupational therapists as a reference. Occupational therapists earn between R119,000 and just over R376,000 per year. There is potential to further increase earnings through bonus income of more than R29,500.
All countries reviewed for this guide saw notable increases in earnings related to experience for OTAs. In the US where OTA income was highest, the gap between starting salaries and those of experienced OTAs is nearly $29,000, representing an increase of 101%. The percentage of income growth was greatest at 132% in UK where earnings were on the lower end of the pay scale, representing an increase of £17,000 per year. Rising income with experience also is evident in Canada (C$29,500 or 114%), New Zealand (NZ$30,000 or 86%) and Australia (AU$21,000 or 60%).
OTAs work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and in-home health care. Some employers require OTAs to be certified, which necessitates an associate’s degree and additional training, but also garners higher incomes. Those employed by 24-hour care facilities may have a greater opportunity for overtime pay and shift differential earnings, while bonus potential may be greater in for-profit settings compared to non-profit hospitals.
There are full-time and part-time employment opportunities for OTAs. Those employed in home healthcare positions may have the greatest flexibility in scheduling, while work hours in hospitals and nursing homes can span any hour of the day, seven days a week due to 24-hour care being provided. Most OTAs express a high level of job satisfaction and positive work-life balance as a result of the part-time and flexible schedule opportunities as well as the nature of the work in helping patients achieve greater life independence.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Healthcare benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage are common for full-time OTAs, while part-time employees may not be eligible for coverage. Bonus potential is offered by some employers. Paid time off for holidays, vacations, and sick time may not be available to part-time employees.
Future demand and job growth are expected to be very strong for OTAs as occupational therapy is important for aging adults who may experience more instances of illness, stroke, and other conditions requiring rehabilitation. Greater awareness of occupational therapy for patients of all ages is also increasing demand. According to the US Burau of Labor Statistics, growth among OTAs and aides is expected to be 40% between 2014 and 2024, a rate that is much faster than the overall growth of all occupations.
While only the equivalent of a high school degree is needed for employment as an occupational therapy aide, a two-year associate’s degree is required for OTAs. Licensure with the appropriate governing body is also required in most countries.
Occupational therapy is a growing field worldwide that offers part-time and flexible work schedule opportunities. The salary for occupational therapy assistant is solid and there is bonus potential and the required educational training is less. A strong growing demand for OTAs should continue to support income levels and provide many employment options. OTAs express a high level of job satisfaction and positive work-life balance.