How Much Can You Realistically Earn as an Occupational Therapist

Before you set your mind on going through the appropriate training, required to become an occupational therapist, it’s a good idea to get a feel for the industry and what you’re earnings are going to be like, once you’ve completed your training.

As you’re going to need a Masters degree, it can time extensive to qualify and there is going to be student debt, likely to accumulate. Therefore, knowing the salary expectations you can earn in, from a career in Occupational Therapy, is going to be advantageous, in order to know you can meet your living costs.

How Much Can You Realistically Earn as an Occupational Therapist

Starting salary of a newly qualified occupational therapist

When you first start out, being newly qualified, you can find work with either the National Health Service, or going into the private sector. Pay grades for the NHS are set by the “Agenda for Change.” This works on a point based system, with newly qualified OTs beginning at a band 5 pay level.

At time of publication, the salary for band 5 staff are £21,176. This salary will increase year on year, as you gain more experience on the job, and continue your career studies, to maintain a higher standard of service. Staying within band 5, your salary can increase up to £27’625, after which time, you’ll be ready for career progression into a more senior role. S

enior occupational therapists will be paid at band 6, 7 and 8, with the higher bands being applicable to managerial roles, however, to continue working as a senior occupational therapist, you can expect to earn around £25k per annum, and with more experience, that could see your salary increase to £40’000 per year.

Should you progress in your career to become the head of an occupational therapy department, you can expect to advance to a band 8 or 9 pay level, which is upwards of £40k per annum. It’s also worth nothing that there are additional supplements for areas associated with a higher cost of living.

Salaries for experienced occupational therapists in the private sector

While the NHS is by far the largest employer for occupational therapists, there are a number of other employment opportunities out with the HHS trust. Private clinics, hospitals and nursing home, require the services of an occupational therapist to help better the lives of patients.

In the private sector, the rates of pay will be in line with the NHS, although they will be significantly higher in some assisted living facilities, where there’s a higher demand for your specialist services.

You will find the salaries for occupational therapists will average £18’000 – £20’000 per year. There are also specialist areas you could focus your career on, such as Paediatric occupation therapy, which some positions in the private care sector pay as high as £40’000 per year. When you first start out, you can expect to be earning around the £18’000 salary range.

It’s also worth noting that most employers in the health care industry, will include additional benefits packages. That can range from local gym memberships to private health insurance coverage. There is the potential to earn a high salary as an occupational therapist, however, the main benefit is the job satisfaction of assisting people to live a healthier and happier lifestyle.