10 Facts About Travel Occupational Therapy Assistants (2023)

10 Facts About Travel Occupational Therapy Assistants (1)

There are a number of traveling OT opportunities for travel occupational therapy assistants to pursue.

It seems that these traveling OT positions aren’t very well known and there are many questions about them.

Specifically, people want to know what is an OTA and what is different about a traveling OTA?

So, today we are going to dive in and share 10 facts about travel occupational therapy assistants to answer all these questions.


    • 0.1 Job Description And Requirements
    • 0.2 Where do Traveling OTA Work?
    • 0.3 Opportunities for Traveling OTA
    • 0.4 Job Flexibility
    • 0.5 Tasks and Responsibilities
    • 0.6 You’ll Have A Mentor
    • 0.7 Work Independently or With a Placement Service
    • 0.8 Salary for Traveling OTA
    • 0.9 Benefits And Perks
    • 0.10 Highest Paying Cities for Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • 1 Top 8 Highest Paying Cities for Occupational Therapist Assistants
  • 2 Should I Move for Higher Compensation?
  • 3 Coming Soon

Job Description And Requirements

The requirements for becoming a travel occupational therapist are exactly the same as it is for a usual OT. Their responsibilities are also exactly the same.

A certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) assists a licensed occupational therapist (OTR). Together they treat patients with a variety of illnesses, injuries, and disabilities who struggle performing daily living and work activities known as ADLs or Activities of Daily Living.

The above job description is true for both traditional COTA and Traveling OTA working in multiple settings.

Where do Traveling OTA Work?

The type of medical settings that a traveling OTA will find themselves in are similar to any other as they will work in clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, community health programs, and skilled nursing facilities as well as providing care for those staying at home.

We wrote this post sharing a complete list of places OTA work that will give you more ideas for settings where traveling OTA may be found working.


Opportunities for Traveling OTA

This type of OTA has plenty of job opportunities in that they don’t need to worry about there being a shortage.

Healthcare facilities always have positions that are available in one part of the country or another because of a shortage of staff, people that are on leave, and absences.

A traveling OTA will typically work on a contract basis and after their assignment is finished they will then go to the next project and new destination.

Job Flexibility

Because the jobs are on short-term contracts it won’t be necessary to stay for long periods of time.

If however, an OTA decides to take a permanent job then they will be obliged to stay in that one setting for at least one to two years before they could relocate to a new work setting.

Tasks and Responsibilities

As far as your education requirements go, you won’t need to attend a special OTA program in order to work as a travel OTA.

The common practice is to give an occupational therapist assistant who is new some very difficult tasks and a lot of supervisory work and sometimes even unrealistic standards are set and this makes many feel as though they’re being taken advantage of.

A traveling OTA, on the other hand, has a stronger position to refuse unrealistic tasks if a hospital tries to assign those to them. It is easier to simply leave and work in a different location if necessary.

You’ll Have A Mentor

The average company will provide a mentor for the therapist who is traveling to help them through the process of every stage when they’re starting out.

These mentors will help to locate a new place, they will help with therapy, and even provide ethics lessons and other services to improve your career.

Work Independently or With a Placement Service

When you get started in this profession you’ll be able to decide whether or not you want to be completely independent or if you want to work with a placement service.

If you do decide to go with a placement organization then you’ll want to make sure you’re familiar with their policies and terms and this includes any health benefits they offer. You should also know their termination policy, how they allow you to go on leave and so on.

(Video) Why work as a travelling occupational therapist?

Salary for Traveling OTA

According to some online sources the average traveling OTA can earn on average $68,308 and up to $121,000 a year (According to ZipRecruiter) which is considerably more than what an occupational therapist assistant who is working at one location full-time would make.

Below we share more OTA salary data from our salary database on the top paying cities, but on average, an OTA working in one location full-time would earn $57,620 annually.

Benefits And Perks

The allowances that are given to a traveling OTA includes gratuity as well as a higher salary.

If you use a placement company they will often pay for housing, provide mileage reimbursement, a non-taxable living stipend, referral bonuses, a bonus for completing your assignment, and a 401K.

In addition to these benefits, you also have the chance to travel the country and see a number of new places.

Highest Paying Cities for Occupational Therapy Assistants

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national mean wage for Occupational Therapy Assistants is $60,410 annually and $29.04 hourly.

This is a very competitive salary to earn which only requires an associate degree. Similar healthcare careers which require associate degrees pay well but many don’t pay this well.

Although physical therapy assistants earn $57,620 annually, this is about the only other 2 year healthcare degree that earns close to an OTA.

We’ve compiled OTA salary data for every major city in the U.S. and we took that data to create today’s infographic. In the infographic, you can see the top 8 cities that pay OTAs the most in terms of hourly and annual mean wages.

10 Facts About Travel Occupational Therapy Assistants (2)

Wow, the top 8 cities pay an average salary for Occupational Therapy Assistants that is between $72,600 and $105,000 annually.

Although living in Las Vegas isn’t the lifestyle for everyone, it is important to note that you could find a traveling OTA job there that only required you to live their part time.

(Video) DAY IN THE LIFE Of A Travel Occupational Therapist | NEW GRAD

Many parts of Texas pay OTAs very well so if you like horses and beautiful sunsets then perhaps you should look into some of these Texas cities.

Las Vegas, NV

  • Annual Salary: $105,000
  • Hourly Wage: $50.48

El Paso, TX

  • Annual Salary: $82,670
  • Hourly Wage: $39.75


  • Annual Salary: $79,820
  • Hourly Wage: $38.38

Ft. Worth, TX

  • Annual Salary: $78,560
  • Hourly Wage: $37.77

Corpus Christi, TX

  • Annual Salary: $76,930
  • Hourly Wage: $36.98

Daytona Beach,FL

  • Annual Salary: $75,370
  • Hourly Wage: $36.24

San Antonio,TX

  • Annual Salary: $72,640
  • Hourly Wage: $34.92

McAllen, TX


  • Annual Salary: $72,600
  • Hourly Wage: $34.91

As you can see, Texas is home to many of the highest paying cities for occupational therapy assistants.

This is a common question that many people have once they start researching what other occupational therapist assistants in their field are earning in other locations. The short answer is, ‘no’.

Here are a few reasons why I wouldn’t recommend moving solely for higher compensation:

  • The cost of living may be higher in other regions. This could completely offset your increase in comp or even leave you with less money than you currently have after your expenses are paid.
  • Your quality of life may be lower in other regions. Depending on your current situation and where you areconsidering moving too, make sure you take into consideration your quality of life. Things like the length of your commute, the people you work with, the safety and amenities of your neighborhood etc.
  • There will be an increase injob responsibilities. Often times a higher paying position comes with some additional responsibility. This is great if you arequalified and prepared for the added workload, however, some may find themselves overwhelmed with what they signed up for.

Just make sure that if you are considering a move for higher compensations that you take everything into account when making the decision.

Where you will live, what things will cost you, what your day to day will be like and specifically what are all of the major changes.

One of the best ways to make these decisions is to make a “T-chart” with Pros and Cons.

Basically, you want to see a list of all thebenefits and detriments to making the move. Once you have a list with all of the information,side by side right in front of you, it is much easier to weigh your options and make a decision.

Alright, so now you know everything you need to know about traveling OTA and the top 8 cities that payoccupational therapy assistants the most.

If these locationsaren’t interesting to you, then don’t worry. You can work as a travel occupational therapy assistant and find the location that suits you best before settling down.

Stay tuned for our next infographic that will share some of the top paying fields for OTAs to work in such as pediatric, geriatric, and home healthcare.

Click those links to learn about OTAs working in many places to get some ideas. Perhaps you can stay in your current location but find another position for OTAs to try your skills in and receive better compensation.

(Video) TOP 10 MYTHS ABOUT TRAVEL THERAPY: Travel PT Explains What to Know Before Starting Travel PT/OT/SLP

Until next time, keep doing what you do and helping others live their lives to the fullest. 🙂


What are the benefits of being a travel OT? ›

Perks and Benefits

Traveling OT is entitled to get a lot of allowances and gratuity, apart from a high salary. The placement companies generally provide paid housing, bonuses on completing assignments, mileage reimbursement, non-taxable living stipend, referral bonus, 401(k), etc.

Is traveling an occupation occupational therapy? ›

Many OTs consider trying out traveling occupational therapy at some point. Not only do travel OT jobs provide tons of experience and exposure to multiple settings, they pay well and can help you pay down loans and get out of debt quickly. That said, as with any type of practice, there are pros and cons to consider.

Where do OTAs make the most money? ›

Below are the top five states where OTAs get paid the most:
  • Nevada. Average Hourly Wage: $37.55. Average Annual Salary: $78,100.
  • California: Average Hourly Wage: $36.10. Average Annual Salary: $75,080.
  • Hawaii: Average Hourly Wage: $35.25. ...
  • New Jersey: Average Hourly Wage: $35.03. ...
  • Delaware: Average Hourly Wage: $34.58.
Jan 4, 2023

Why are occupational therapy assistants important? ›

Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in providing therapy to patients; occupational therapy aides typically perform support activities.

How do I get started with travel OT? ›

You can follow these steps to begin a career as a travel occupational therapist:
  1. Earn a bachelor's degree. ...
  2. Complete observation hours. ...
  3. Research graduate programs. ...
  4. Obtain your master's or doctorate. ...
  5. Pass the NBCOT exam. ...
  6. Get licensed. ...
  7. Consider a certification. ...
  8. Take continuing education courses.
Sep 29, 2021

How does occupational therapist get paid to travel? ›

We've compiled 15 ways for just about anyone to get their golden ticket to spending weeks or years, in exotic lands while earning some cash.
  1. Teach English. ...
  2. Research for a travel guidebook. ...
  3. Become an Instagram influencer. ...
  4. Become a flight attendant. ...
  5. Apply for the New York Times' 52 Places to Go job.
Feb 11, 2018

Is travel therapy worth it? ›

There's amazing earning potential.

Additionally, travel PTs are reimbursed for housing, licensure, and other travel fees—and they are also often provided with health and dental insurance. But, even beyond the perks of better salary and living expense reimbursements, travel therapy can offer tax advantages, too.

Can OTS make 6 figures? ›

Yes, occupational therapists can make six figures.

The second and third highest-paid industries are Management of Companies and Enterprises ($99,850) and Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly ($94,360).

What states pay OTA the most? ›

Best-Paying States for Occupational Therapy Assistants

The states and districts that pay Occupational Therapy Assistants the highest mean salary are Nevada ($78,100), California ($75,080), Hawaii ($73,330), New Jersey ($72,860), and Delaware ($71,930).

Can Cota make 6 figures? ›

You can easily earn six figures as an OT or a COTA by yourself running your own kids gym – Guiselle Miranda is an OTR/L and an amazing example of this and you can see her story here https://www.alternativehealthcarecareers.com/blog/how-guiselle-miranda-otr-launched-kids-gym-in-one-year.

What are 3 fun facts about the career of occupational therapy? ›

Occupational therapy is ranked #10 as the best health care job by US News and World Report in 2021. Approximately 27% of occupational therapists work with children in early intervention and the school systems. Occupational therapists and physical therapists are different but work closely together.

Is OTA a stressful job? ›

Stress Level

OTA is considered to be a lower stress career compared to other health care careers.

What can an OTA not do? ›

An OTA can state or write observations but cannot make an evaluation or determine a need for occupational therapy services. This must be determined by an OT. The OT interprets the information provided by the OTA and integrates that information into the evaluation and decision-making process.

Why is traveling important facts? ›

Traveling is important in life because it will open you up to a new way of living and being. You will experience new connections with people and places and immerse in different cultures, which can help widen your perspective. So much learning and personal growth can come from traveling.

What are 3 things you must have to travel? ›

21 Travel Essentials You Must Carry!
  • Sanitizer.
  • Mask.
  • Sleeping Bag Liner.
  • Comfortable Shoes.
  • Luggage Bag.
  • Portable Charger & Power Surge Protector.
  • Travel Pillow.
  • Filtered Water Bottle.
Aug 11, 2020

What is travel therapy? ›

What is Travel Therapy? Travel therapy is a career option for physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists who are looking for short-term contracts at facilities across the country. Travel therapy jobs often range in length, with most contracts lasting 13 weeks.

How do you get paid to travel around? ›

While there are many different ways of getting paid to travel the world, these are the best options.
  1. Public Speaking. ...
  2. Travel Blogging (or fashion, food, mommy, tech, etc.) ...
  3. Proofreading and Editing. ...
  4. Brand Ambassador. ...
  5. Teaching English Abroad. ...
  6. Social Media Influencer (the most fun way to get paid to travel!)
Feb 19, 2023

What is the highest paying occupational therapy job? ›

According to the BLS, OTs who work in home healthcare get paid the most. The annual mean wage of home health care OTs was $102,640 in 2021.

Which job is best to travel the world? ›

21 Best Jobs For People Who Love To Travel!
  1. Flight Attendant. Source Flight Attendance is one of the best jobs that allow you to travel extensively. ...
  2. Cruise Ship Worker. ...
  3. International Aid Worker. ...
  4. Foreign Service Worker. ...
  5. English Teacher. ...
  6. Tour Guide. ...
  7. Writer. ...
  8. Sports Instructor.

How do full time travelers make money? ›

You can try different options, including being a travel blogger, doing affiliate marketing, selling digital products, or just finding a full-time job in a new city. If it works well to earn money while traveling the world, then it's the best approach for you.

How much do travel people make? ›

Travel Salary
Annual SalaryMonthly Pay
Top Earners$216,500$18,041
75th Percentile$162,000$13,500
25th Percentile$83,000$6,916

Why is traveling therapy? ›

Many psychology professionals recommend travel as a form of therapy. New sights, smells, sounds, and conversations can stimulate your senses in a refreshing way and possibly even trigger your inner muse.

Is it stressful to be a travel agent? ›

Travel agents work in an office environment where they spend much of their time on the phone. Travel agents typically spend much of their day sitting, working on the phone and on the computer. Agents may face stress during travel emergencies or unanticipated schedule changes.

What are the benefits of working with travel agency? ›

6 Incredible Benefits of Working with a Travel Consultant
  • Travel Consultants Help with Last-Minute Changes and Emergencies. ...
  • Consultants Are Familiar with Travel Restrictions and Changes. ...
  • Travel Consultants Can Offer “Insider” Knowledge. ...
  • Travel Consultants can Protect You From Scams and Fraud.

What are some benefits of being a travel nurse? ›

10 Benefits to Working as a Travel Nurse
  • Freedom and flexibility. Travel nursing provides nurses with the unbeatable freedom and flexibility to choose when and where they want to work. ...
  • Professional growth. ...
  • Job security. ...
  • New friends. ...
  • Make more money. ...
  • No workplace politics. ...
  • Find the ideal place to settle down. ...
  • Avoid burnout.


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