Salaries: Physical Therapy Vs. Occupational Therapy

by Lucy Friend; Updated September 26, 2017

Both physical and occupational therapy careers can be rewarding. While physical therapists assist patients in regaining mobility after illness or injury, occupational therapists assist patients with a wide range of disorders to perform basic daily tasks or become more independent. All states require accredited training resulting in at least a master's degree for these occupations and a license to practice professionally. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported salaries for both of these occupations in May 2009.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists held 174,490 jobs in the United States in May 2009. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 30 percent job growth through 2018 for physical therapists. Median annual wages were $74,480. The 25th percentile earned $62,270 per year and the 75th percentile earned $87,940 per year.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists held 97,840 jobs in the United States in May 2009. Job growth of 26 percent is expected for occupational therapists through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Annual median wages were $69,360. The 25th percentile earned $57,230 per year and the 75th percentile earned $84,150 per year.

Industries

Both of these professionals to work in a variety of industries related to health care and educational services. The highest level of employment of physical therapists was in offices of other practitioners, where annual mean wages were $75,760. The highest level of employment for occupational therapists was in general hospitals, where these professionals earned annual mean wages of $71,300.

Geography

The highest level of employment for physical therapists was in Vermont, where annual mean wages were $65,390. For occupational therapists, the highest level of employment was in Maine, where annual mean wages were $57,330. The highest wages for physical therapists were in Alaska, where annual mean salaries were $87,410. The highest wages for occupational therapists were in California, where annual mean salaries were $82,610.

About the Author

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