Occupational Therapy Assistant Guide

Welcome to the OTA Guide, the complete occupational therapy assistant resource. Here you will find all the info you need to complete your occupational therapy education and get licensed as an OTA in your state. Get started with our free state by state OTA resources on: OTA Schools, OTA Licensing,OTA salary data.
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How Much is an Occupational Therapist Assistant Salary?

If you are interested in a career as a COTA you certainly would like to know how much a certified occupational therapy assistant salary is. The good news is that COTA salaries are very competitive, and typically higher than many other similar healthcare careers’ salaries, at a mean annual salary of: $58,340.

OTA Salaries by State

OTAs are earning a wide range of salaries in different states. An annual OT assistant salary may range from $38,440 to $78,080 according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Click a state to see the median OTA salaries in it’s major cities. Click here to download our 2016 OTA Salary Guide PDF.

COTA Salary Factors

Occupational Therapist Assistant Salary Data and InsightsAn OTA Salary will be influenced by a number of factors. Factors can include the state and city you live in, the type of health care facility you work in, your employer, your experience and more. That said, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), OTA Jobs are growing rapidly and they pay a competitive salary to other 2 year health care degrees. Occupational Therapy is one of the fastest growing fields in health care and is not projected to slow down.

The BLS did a survey in May of 2014 and found that the average annual COTA Salary is $58,340 while the lowest 10% of all OTAs earned just under $38,440 while the top 10% earned over $78,080. Download 2016 OTA Salary Guide

Highest OTA Salaries by Job Type

The BLS survey was broken down by industry, or type of OTA job. When analyzing each industry the BLS looked at employment rate, % of entire OTA industry, and mean wages. Home health care came out on top and consists of jobs where OTAs perform their duties at the patient’s home. The second highest OTA salaries came from jobs at Nursing Care Facilities.

Here is a list of the top paying industries for OTAs to work in:

IndustryEmploymentPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Home Health Care Services2,2200.17$32.03$66,630
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)6,7400.41$30.50$63,450
Other Ambulatory Health Care Services1500.05$29.63$61,630
Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly5400.06$28.78$59,870
Management of Companies and Enterprises1700.01$28.71$59,720
thumbnail highest ota salaries by city

Click to Enlarge Infographic

Click here to get the OTA Salary Data in a PDF to go

Highest OTA Salaries by City

If you are considering moving then you may want to know the highest paying cities for OTAs. Below is a table of the top paying cities for occupational therapy assistant salaries and to the right is an infographic containing the data.

Metropolitan areaEmploymentEmployment per thousand jobsLocation quotientHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV1400.160.62$50.48$105,000
El Paso, TX1300.441.70$39.75$82,670
Tyler, TX800.783.05$38.38$79,820
Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Division1400.150.57$37.77$78,560
Corpus Christi, TX1100.562.19$36.98$76,930
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL500.261.00$36.24$75,370
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX4900.512.00$34.92$72,640
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX800.351.35$34.91$72,600

Occupational therapist assistants also have the ability to earn even more income if they have experience in specialty areas such as pediatric OTAs that work with children.

OTA Salary Averages by State

The BLS also broke down the survey results by location to see which regions offered the highest and lowest average occupational therapy assistant salaries. Here is a list of states that offer an OTA salary of over $60,000 per year as well as under $40,000 per year.

OTA Salary Over $60K

  • California
  • Texas
  • Nevada

OTA Salary Under $40K

  • Colorado
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • South Dakota

Keep in mind that when looking at an entire region the salary data is aggregated across industries and types of OTA jobs. So, you may still be interested in a few jobs in the lower paying states, that still pay well but are brought down by other lower paying jobs in the same state. Also, employment rate is something to consider for job security, here are the states with the highest OTA employment rates:

StateEmploymentEmployment per thousand jobsLocation quotientHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Texas 3,8400.331.29$34.18$71,100
Ohio 2,8600.542.10$27.68$57,570
New York 2,3700.261.03$26.99$56,130
Pennsylvania 2,3000.401.56$22.68$47,170
Illinois 2,1000.361.40$28.65$59,590

Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary: Hourly & Annual Wages by State

OTA salaries range from $36,000 to $72,000 annually, depending on where the OTA is employed. Below is a list of the average hourly and annual OTA salaries across the country. Download our free PDF to take this OTA salary data with you.

StateEmploymentHourly Mean WageAnnual Mean Wage
New Hampshire180$24.76$51,510
New Jersey320$31.46$65,440
New Mexico140$28.01$58,270
New York2160$25.95$53,970
North Carolina1300$27.65$57,520
North Dakota80$20.77$43,210
Rhode Island130$24.10$50,120
South Carolina550$27.02$56,200
South Dakota60$17.34$36,070
Texas 3230$34.11$70,950
West Virginia200$27.32$56,830
Wyoming 80$22.89$47,620

Close behind occupational therapy assistants, in terms of compensation, are OT Aides. The range for an occupational therapy aide salary is about $26,550 to $44,220. Although an occupational therapist aide salary is lower, they don’t require as much schooling or requirements to gain license for employment.

2016 OTA Salary Guide PDF

Ready to start your OTA Career?

From the data you can see that Occupational Therapist Assistants are paid extremely well for their 2 year investment in higher education. Now that you know the salary for occupational therapist assistants, you can learn more about a career as an OTA on these pages:

All of the data presented here was researched online from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Therapy Assistants.

1) Click on any schools below to learn more about their programs
2) Under “Program of Interest” choose “Occupational Therapy Assistant” or another degree of interest