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How to Advance Your Career as an Occupational Therapist



Are you an occupational therapist who wants to progress their career? If so, you’ve come to the right place. There are a number of things you can do to earn more money and see more success in this field. Let’s take a closer look at how to advance your career as an occupational therapist.

Earn a Doctoral Degree

You probably already know that occupational therapy graduate programs are a must for this career path. If you have an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, you can work as an occupational therapist’s assistant. But if you want to practice as an occupational therapist in the United States, the minimum educational requirement is a master’s degree in occupational therapy.

If you’re looking to take your career to the next level, you might consider earning a doctorate degree. Having a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy will help make you more in demand and hirable. You’ll find more opportunities and higher-paying positions.

Get Advanced Certification in OT Specialties

The American Occupational Therapy Association recommends occupational therapists to get advanced certification in one or more areas of specialization. Occupational therapists who get certified in one or more specialties have greater room for advancement in the field. Some of the specialties you can get certified in include:


brain injuries


feeding, eating, and swallowing
hand therapy


mental health

physical rehabilitation
seating and mobility
stroke rehabilitation

The more specialty certifications you have, the more knowledge and skills you will have. You will become more hirable and in demand and find more opportunities available to you.

Work in the Right Job Setting

You might not think that your job setting makes that much of a difference in your earning potential, but it does. The average annual occupational therapist salary is $89,470, with some earning as much as $123,840 a year. When it comes to an occupational therapist’s income, where you work matters.

Occupational therapists who work in home health care are the highest paid, with an average annual salary of $102,640. Those who work in health practitioners’ offices earn approximately $87,690 a year and are the lowest-paid occupational therapists.

Seek a Higher Position

Another way you can advance your career in occupational therapy is by seeking a higher position. Those who work in clinical supervisor or occupational therapist supervisor, senior occupational therapist, and regional rehabilitation director positions all earn more money than entry-level occupational therapists.

You might be wondering how you can work your way to the top. In addition to having years’ worth of work experience, earning a doctorate degree and getting certified in occupational therapy specialties can help increase your odds of landing supervisor positions.

Consider Teaching and Certification Roles

Have you ever thought about teaching the occupational therapists of tomorrow? If you have a doctoral degree in occupational therapy, you can teach at the college or university level. You will also be able to administer certification tests. You can take on these roles part-time or full-time to increase your income.

Look Into Traveling Positions

Does the idea of working as a traveling occupational therapist interest you? In addition to earning a high salary, traveling occupational therapists also tend to get housing allowances and other financial benefits that add up. You’ll be able to save money on rent and travel the world doing what you love: helping people!

These are just a few ways you can advance your career in occupational therapy. Doing one of these things or a combination of these things can help you earn more money and find a more fulfilling position in the occupational therapy field.


I'm Nikos Alepidis, blogger at motivirus. I'm passioned for all things related to motivation & personal development. My goal is to help and inspire people to become better.

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