Occupational Therapy Aides
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Speciality
Overview
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Under close supervision of an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing patient and treatment room.
Titles for this career often contain these words
AideRehabilitationOccupationalTechDirectOTTherapyRehabRestorativeProfessionalSupportTechnicianCertifiedCORAServiceStaffIndependentLivingSpecialistTherapistProgramTrainerSchedulerServicesTechnologistCoordinator
Education
Only 18% of occupational therapy assistants and aides have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by occupational therapy assistants and aides
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer occupational therapy assistants and aides have bachelor's degrees than 59% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Occupational therapy aides, with 7,900 workers, form a smaller workforce than 90% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for occupational therapy aides are expected to grow by 19%, and should have about 1,100 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Occupational therapy aides are less likely to be automated than 67% of other careers.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for occupational therapy aides compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most occupational therapy aides earn.
$29K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Gender
Women account for 84% of occupational therapy assistants and aides -- that's a larger percentage than 93% of other jobs.
Gender of occupational therapy assistants and aides
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For occupational therapy assistants and aides, the median men's salary was 8% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 19% of occupational therapy assistants and aides are minority, and 9% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of occupational therapy assistants and aides
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (9%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Occupational Therapy Aides per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of occupational therapy aides who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (100%)
  • Time Pressure (91%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (86%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (63%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (60%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (46%)
  • Deal With Physically Aggressive People (39%)
  • Consequence of Error (33%)
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings (32%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do occupational therapy assistants and aides earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries at the specialty level (occupational therapy aides). This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for occupational therapy aides (BLS Salary Data)
$29K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$29K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers. This view of salaries is only available for all occupational therapy assistants and aides.
Distribution: Salaries for occupational therapy assistants and aides (ACS Salary Data)
$46K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$46K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $42KAll jobs' median $45K$44K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire occupational therapy aides.
Employers of Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides (ACS)
Private for-profit (74.8%)
Private not-for-profit (12.6%)
Local government (4.4%)
State government (4.5%)
Federal government (2.0%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.4%)
Self-employed not incorporated (1.3%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of occupational therapy assistants and aides by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of occupational therapy assistants and aides, which combines the 2 specialties for this career.
$46K$46K$45K$54K$39K$36K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of occupational therapy aides by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty occupational therapy aides, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$29K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for occupational therapy assistants and aides

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$53K$51K$23K$42K$47K$42K$47K$47K$51K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
01K2K3K4K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Occupational therapy assistants and aides and gender

With 84% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 93% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
84%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Occupational therapy assistants and aides
Men (16%)
Women (84%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for occupational therapy assistants and aides, with the median salary for men 8% higher than the median salary for women.

$45K$49K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Occupational therapy assistants and aides have one of the smaller inequity calculations, with the increase for men's median salary over women's median salary in this job lower than that for 78% of other jobs.

8%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of occupational therapy assistants and aides

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. The percentage of minority occupational therapy assistants and aides falls in about the middle of all careers' percentages. There is a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of occupational therapy assistants and aides
White (80% )
Black (11% )
Asian (4% )
Multiracial (3% )
Other (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
19%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
9%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for occupational therapy assistants and aides by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$39K$40K$46K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KBlackAmerican IndianWhite
Distribution: Salaries for occupational therapy assistants and aides by nativity
$46K$46K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Occupational therapy assistants and aides and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 28% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 81% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
28%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time occupational therapy assistants and aides is shown following.

$25K$46K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by occupational therapy aides

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), occupational therapy aides typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as occupational therapy assistants and aides as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for occupational therapy aides

All states regulate the practice of occupational therapy assistants, with most requiring licensure. Licensure typically requires the completion of an accredited occupational therapy assistant education program, completion of all fieldwork requirements, and passing the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam. Some states have additional requirements.

Occupational therapy assistants must pass the NBCOT exam to use the title “Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant” (COTA). They must also take continuing education classes to maintain their certification.

The American Occupational Therapy Association also offers a number of specialty certifications for occupational therapy assistants who want to demonstrate their specialized level of knowledge, skills, and abilities in specialized areas of practice such as low vision or feeding, eating, and swallowing.

Occupational therapy aides are not regulated by state law.

Education attained by occupational therapy assistants and aides
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for occupational therapy assistants and aides? Below we see the distribution of occupational therapy assistants and aides salaries based on the education attained.

$28K$39K$48K$41K$64K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KHigh School (5%)Some College (14%)Associate's/Cert. (63%)Bachelor's Degree (15%)Master's Degree (2%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click the program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Associate's degree or certificate
Bachelor's
Graduate
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for occupational therapy assistants and aides

What jobs will most occupational therapy assistants and aides hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of occupational therapy assistants and aides reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Occupational Therapy Assistants and AidesOccupational TherapistsRegistered nursesFirst-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support WorkersNursing, psychiatric, and home health aidesMedical and Health Services ManagersPersonal Care AidesCompliance OfficersCashiersHairdressers, Hairstylists, and CosmetologistsMedical assistants and other healthcare support occupationsTherapists, all other
Lateral job transitions for occupational therapy assistants and aides

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 4 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as occupational therapy assistants and aides as well as 1% of respondents after working as occupational therapy assistants and aides. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Prior and next careers for occupational therapy assistants and aides: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as occupational therapy assistants and aides? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of occupational therapy assistants and aides surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most occupational therapy aides? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as occupational therapy aides. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all occupational therapy assistants and aides, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Occupational Therapy Aides per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.10.20.30.4
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where occupational therapy aides earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for occupational therapy assistants and aides compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for occupational therapy assistants and aides.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all occupational therapy assistants and aides, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Location-adjusted median salary for Occupational Therapy Aides (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which occupational therapy aides earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
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$0$20K$40K$60K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
Interests
Environment
Knowledge
Physical Abilities
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All education levels
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