Research Summary. Here are some key points about hiring occupational therapists in the United States:

  • There are currently 134,369 occupational therapists in the US, as well as 78,315 job openings.
  • Occupational therapists are in the highest demand in New York, NY, with 119 current job openings.
  • The median cost to hire an occupational therapist is $1,633.
  • It takes between 36 and 42 days to fill the average role in the US.
  • Human Resources use 15% of their expenses on recruitment on average.
  • On average, it takes around 12 weeks for a new occupational therapist to become settled and show total productivity levels at work.

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How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Occupational Therapist

Hiring an occupational therapist comes with both the one-time cost per hire and ongoing costs. The cost of recruiting occupational therapists involves promoting the job and spending time conducting interviews. Ongoing costs include employee salary, training, benefits, insurance, and equipment. It is essential to consider the cost of occupational therapist recruiting as well the ongoing costs of maintaining the new employee.

Occupational therapists earn a median yearly salary is $75,707 a year in the US. However, if you're looking to find occupational therapists for hire on a contract or per-project basis, hourly rates typically range between $27 and $46.

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How to hire an Occupational Therapist, step by step

To hire an occupational therapist, you should clearly understand the skills and experience you are looking for in a candidate, and allocate a budget for the position. You will also need to post and promote the job opening to reach potential candidates. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to hire an occupational therapist:

  • Step 1: Identify your needs
  • Step 2: Create an ideal candidate profile
  • Step 3: Make a budget
  • Step 4: Writing an occupational therapist job description
  • Step 5: Post the job
  • Step 6: Interview process
  • Step 7: Send a job offer and onboard your new occupational therapist
  • Step 8: Go through the checklist for the hiring process

Identify Your Needs

Before you get started with hiring an occupational therapist, identify what type of worker you actually need. Certain positions might call for a full-time employee, while others can be done by a part-time worker or contractor.

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Hiring the perfect occupational therapist also involves considering the ideal background you'd like them to have. Depending on what industry or field they have experience in, they'll bring different skills to the job. It's also important to consider what levels of seniority and education the job requires, and what kind of salary such a candidate would likely demand.

This list provides information on the salaries of different occupational therapist roles.

Type Of Occupational TherapistDescriptionHourly Rate
Occupational TherapistOccupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working.$27-46
Rehabilitation TechnicianA rehabilitation technician is responsible for assisting therapists and other medical personnel on supporting the patients in their daily activities and physical therapy sessions. Rehabilitation technicians provide high-quality care services for the patients by administering medications, accompanying them on medical appointments, and ensuring the cleanliness and orderliness of all equipment and facilities to prevent hazards within the premises... Show More$11-17
Music Therapy InternshipIn a music therapy internship, an intern's duties primarily depend on the directives of a manager or supervising staff. Typically, they are responsible for gaining industry insights and practical experience while performing support tasks such as answering calls and correspondence, preparing and processing documents, conducting research and analysis, setting-up instruments and other devices, and running errands as needed... Show More$10-29

Create An Ideal Candidate Profile

Before creating an occupational therapist job description, imagine the ideal employee for this position and begin creating a profile. What skills do they have and what responsibilities do they have to be proficient in?

Here are some of the most common occupational therapist skills:

Common Skills:
  • Patients
  • Rehabilitation
  • Home Health
  • Patient Care
  • COTA
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Adaptive
  • OTR
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • Physical Therapy
  • SNF
  • Treatment Programs
  • Adaptive Equipment
  • Discharge Planning
Check All Skills

Here are the responsibilities that most occupational therapists perform:

  • Achieve advance clinical competency in UE splinting.
  • Manage outpatient occupational therapy rehabilitation program.
  • Provide home assessment and recommend adaptive equipment and/or home modification needs to maximize safety of patients in their own environment.
  • General debility, CVA, joint replacement, upper extremity weakness, ADL 's
  • Founder of TLC program to educate patients, staff and family about CVA.
  • Complete evaluations and IEP's for home school children and perform on-going therapy for the kids.
Check all Duties

Beyond the nuts and bolts, cultural fit is an important factor. It might help to ask yourself how your ideal occupational therapist will live by the company's mission statement and contribute to the team dynamic you already have in place. Clearly communicating this vision in your occupational therapist job description will help attract candidates who are better suited for the role.

Most Common States For Occupational Therapists In The US

Rank #State# Of Jobs% of PopulationAvg. Salary

Professional Project Manager CV example

Make A Budget

Including a salary range in the job description can help attract top candidates to the position. An occupational therapist salary can be affected by several factors, such as the location of the job, the level of experience and seniority of the candidate, any certifications they may hold, and the prestige of the company they will be working for. For example, the average salary for an occupational therapist in South Dakota may be lower than in California, and an entry-level occupational therapist may earn less than a senior-level occupational therapist. Additionally, an occupational therapist with certifications may command a higher salary, and working for a well-known company or start-up may also impact an employee's pay.

Updated March 16, 2023

Occupational Therapist Salary Estimate


$36.40 hourly

Entry level Salary
$58,000 yearly

Occupational Therapist Average Salary By Location

RankStateAvg. SalaryHourly RateJob Count
5District of Columbia$85,893$4140

Occupational Therapist Average Salary By Company

Writing an Occupational Therapist Job Description

A good occupational therapist job description should include a few things:

  • Summary of the role
  • List of responsibilities
  • Required skills and experience
Including a salary range and the first name of the hiring manager is also appreciated by candidates. Here's an example of an occupational therapist job description:

Example of Full Job Description

Part-Time - 24 (Sat, Sun & Mon)

Here is your opportunity to channel the full extent of your knowledge, skills, ambition, and experience on a daily basis. Inspire our patients to progress each day as you:

• Effectively delegate tasks and supervise occupational therapist assistants and technicians.

• Provide occupational therapy treatment and patient care according to hospital, state and federal regulations and professional guidelines.

• Maintain open and ongoing communication with hospital departments to ensure that patient, staff and hospital needs are met.


• Current state licensure or certification on or before first day of employment required.

• CPR certification preferred, unless otherwise required by hospital policy.

• Successful completion of a degree from an accredited therapy program or one that is determined to be substantially equivalent to a U.S.-accredited program by an appropriate certifying agency preferred.

• Effective communication skills for working with patients, families, and caregivers required.

• Demonstrated competency in occupational therapy evaluation, assessment, care planning and treatment.

Enjoy competitive compensation and benefits that start on day one, including:

• Benefits that begin when you do.

• Affordable medical, dental and vision plans provided to meet the needs of full and part-time employees and their families.

• Generous paid time off that increases with tenure.

• Tuition reimbursement and continuing education opportunities.

• Company-matching 401(k) and employee stock-purchase plans.

• Flexible spending and health savings accounts.

About Us:

Helping patients regain hope and independence, Encompass Health is a national leader in post-acute care. We operate rehabilitation hospitals and offer home health and hospice care in 36 states as well as Puerto Rico. Following the Encompass Way, we are driven by our core values: We proudly set the standard, lead with empathy, do what’s right, focus on the positive, and remain stronger together.

Realize the powerful difference you can make. Take this opportunity to join our team.

Address: 13031 Wortham Center Drive, Houston 77065
Schedule: Part-time

Post A Job

To find the right occupational therapist for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Consider internal talent. One of the most important sources of talent for any company is its existing workforce.
  • Ask for referrals. Reach out to friends, family members, and current employees and ask if they know or have worked with occupational therapists they would recommend.
  • Recruit at local colleges. Attend job fairs at local colleges to recruit occupational therapists who meet your education requirements.
  • Social media platforms. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter now have more than 3.5 billion users, and you can use social media to reach potential job candidates.

Post your job online:

  • Post your occupational therapist job on Zippia to find and recruit occupational therapist candidates who meet your exact specifications.
  • Use field-specific websites such as healthcarejobsite, health jobs nationwide, hospitalcareers,
  • Post a job on free websites.

Interview Process

To successfully recruit occupational therapists, your first interview needs to be all about engaging with candidates to learn about their interest in the role and experience in the field. You can go into more detail about the company, the role, and the responsibilities during follow-up interviews.

Don't forget to include a few questions that give a candidate chance to expand on their strengths in their own words. Asking about their special skills might reveal things you'd miss otherwise. At this point, candidates who are good enough can move on to the technical interview.

The right interview questions can help you assess a candidate's hard skills, behavioral intelligence, and soft skills.

Send A Job Offer And Onboard Your New Occupational Therapist

Once you've decided on a perfect occupational therapist candidate, it's time to write an offer letter. In addition to salary, it should also include details such as benefits and perks available to the employee. Qualified candidates may be considered for other positions, so make sure your offer is competitive. Candidates may wish to negotiate. Once you've settled on the details, formalize your agreement with a contract.

It's also important to follow up with applicants who do not get the job with an email letting them know that the position is filled.

To prepare for the new employee's start date, you can create an onboarding schedule and complete any necessary paperwork, such as employee action forms and onboarding documents like I-9 forms, benefits enrollment, and federal and state tax forms. Human Resources should also ensure that a new employee file is created.

Go Through The Checklist For The Hiring Process

  • Determine employee type (full-time, part-time, contractor, etc.)
  • Submit a job requisition form to the HR department
  • Define job responsibilities and requirements
  • Establish budget and timeline
  • Determine hiring decision makers for the role
  • Write job description
  • Post job on job boards, company website, etc.
  • Promote the job internally
  • Process applications through applicant tracking system
  • Review resumes and cover letters
  • Shortlist candidates for screening
  • Hold phone/virtual interview screening with first round of candidates
  • Conduct in-person interviews with top candidates from first round
  • Score candidates based on weighted criteria (e.g., experience, education, background, cultural fit, skill set, etc.)
  • Conduct background checks on top candidates
  • Check references of top candidates
  • Consult with HR and hiring decision makers on job offer specifics
  • Extend offer to top candidate(s)
  • Receive formal job offer acceptance and signed employment contract
  • Inform other candidates that the position has been filled
  • Set and communicate onboarding schedule to new hire(s)
  • Complete new hire paperwork (i9, benefits enrollment, tax forms, etc.)
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Hiring Occupational Therapists FAQs

How Much Does A Good Occupational Therapist Cost?

A good occupational therapist costs $36.4 an hour in the US. However, it can vary based on factors such as the occupational therapist experience, abilities, industry, and the specific requirements of your business.

What Are The Duties Of An Occupational Therapist?

The duties of an occupational therapist are:
  • Achieve advance clinical competency in UE splinting.
  • Manage outpatient occupational therapy rehabilitation program.
  • Provide home assessment and recommend adaptive equipment and/or home modification needs to maximize safety of patients in their own environment.

Should I Hire An Occupational Therapist With No Experience?

Yes, you should hire an occupational therapist with no experience. Hiring an entry-level occupational therapist with no experience offers versatility for your team. They may lack some qualifications, but are adaptable and have not yet formed problematic habits. However, more training may be required compared to experienced.

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