Occupational Therapy Month: 9 Best Jobs for OTs

smiling occupational therapy (OT) professional in blue scrubs helping elderly male patient on the job

April marks Occupational Therapy Month, celebrating all the hard-working OTs who make a difference in healthcare. OTs — let’s celebrate you this month by finding the best occupational therapy jobs in 2024. Whether you’re just starting your career or looking to make a change, knowing your options can guide you toward fulfilling lucrative opportunities.

Discover some of the top settings, specialties, and setups in occupational therapy, from in-demand to high-paying OT roles.

The Best Occupational Therapy Jobs: What to Look For

Alignment with Your Short-Term & Long-Term Goals

The best occupational therapy jobs for you will depend on your unique goals, priorities, and personality.

Think about what matters most to you in your career: Are you all about that work-life balance and flexibility? Are you focused on long-term career goals or making an impact on patients? Knowing your priorities can help narrow down your options to OT opportunities that really speak to you.

Best Occupational Therapy Settings and Job Specialties

Occupational therapy gives you options. Additionally, the best occupational therapy jobs cover a wide range of settings and specialties, each with unique challenges and rewards.

As a whole, the job outlook in occupational therapy is growing at 12% — much faster than average. Apply to in-demand OT jobs to expand your options (and your pay, in many cases).

The Best Occupational Therapy Jobs: In-Demand OT Jobs

Whether acute care, schools, or physical rehabilitation centers, there’s something for every OT this Occupational Therapy Month and all year long. Beyond the paycheck, certain OT jobs are in high demand due to patient needs and healthcare trends. Let’s check out some of the most in-demand settings and specialties to find the best occupational therapy jobs:

Physical Rehab

Occupational therapy is all about recovery and rehabilitation. In rehab centers, OTs work with patients recovering from injuries or surgeries. You’ll create personalized treatment plans to help them achieve independence in their daily lives.

Acute Care

Want to make a difference in the lives of those who need it? In acute care settings, OTs support patients facing sudden illness or injury. From mobility assistance to discharge planning, acute care OTs play a powerful role in recovery.

Schools

Elementary and secondary schools are the third largest employers of occupational therapists. School settings offer some of the best occupational therapy jobs. OTs work with kids of all ages, helping them overcome developmental delays, manage sensory issues, and thrive in and out of the classroom.

Psychology

Remember: Occupational therapy empowers individuals to live their everyday lives despite the physical and mental challenges they face. OTs in psych settings have the opportunity to help patients with mental health conditions build essential life skills, coping strategies, and resilience.

The Best Occupational Therapy Jobs: Highest-Paying OT Jobs

While passion for helping others is a driving force for many OTs, financial stability is also crucial. As of May 2022, the median annual salary for occupational therapists was $93,180/year ($44.80/hour).

However, there’s quite a range of salaries in occupational therapy: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the lowest 10% of OTs earned $63,320/year, while the top 10% earned nearly double at $123,870 or more per year.

As an occupational therapist, you can increase your pay by gaining experience and certifications, as well as applying to some of the best occupational therapy jobs in the highest-paying sectors:

Home Health Care

Occupational therapists in home health care make an average salary of $105,700/year! Not only are they one of the top-paying industries in occupational therapy, but they have some of the highest levels of employment in the sector.

However, salary isn’t the only reason home health care offers some of the best occupational therapy jobs. It’s also fulfilling. Providing personalized, fulfilling care for patients in the comfort of their own homes can change lives.

Outpatient Care

The average occupational therapist in outpatient care is also earning six figures, with an average salary of $102,840/year. In outpatient settings, OTs get to work with a diverse range of people, tackling everything from post-surgery rehab to chronic condition management.

Travel OT

Crave flexibility and adventure? As a travel OT, you’ll work temporary contracts with different facilities statewide or wherever you’re licensed nationwide. You’ll gain diverse work experience and visit diverse places. Plus, travel OTs at CareerStaff often earn more per hour than local OTs, with added benefits, stipends, and schedule control.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

OTs in SNFs play an impactful role in helping residents regain their independence and quality of life. Occupational therapists in skilled nursing facilities rank as high-paying and high-demand. OTs in SNFs earn an average salary of $98,000/year, and the setting ranks at #5 for OTs’ top employment levels.

PRN OT

Don’t just consider where you work — consider how you work. As a PRN OT, you’ll work on an as-needed basis. Basically, a facility might have certain shifts they need to fill or certain tasks they need performed subject to availability. As a result, you’ll gain more flexibility over your scheduling. Plus, PRN OTs tend to make more per hour than traditional OTs!

How to Find the Best Occupational Therapy Jobs This Month — and Beyond

Now that you have a better idea of what’s out there in the world of OT, it’s time to start your search. Whether you’re networking like a pro or reaching out to recruiters, being proactive can help you find the perfect fit for your skills and passions.

Celebrate you this Occupational Therapy month (and beyond) by learning more about the best jobs in occupational therapy. Search local, travel, and per diem OT jobs nationwide, or Quick Apply below to start exploring your options now.

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