Some time ago I wrote a blog about COTA salaries, and in it I mentioned that with the increased cost of schooling and decrease in salaries that soon we may see a shortage of people seeking to enter the field. Was that a bad prediction?
The cost of the two required years of OTA school can vary greatly. At the local community college tuition runs about $15,000, and at the privately owned college tuition will set you back almost $40,000. These figures do not include books and other fees either. All I can say is OUCH! However more and more people are seeking to enter the field.
Many new grad OTAs are reporting an average starting salary of $20-25 per hour. Not a bad beginning wage but still not equal to the pre-PPS days. I remember starting out at $18 per hour back in 1990, when the minimum wage was $3.80 per hour. Today's minimum wage is $7.80, and although my math is not the best, that should mean starting pay (if salary percentages matched the minimum wage increase) should be close to $40 per hour. That would be if all the Medicare cuts and managed care never came into the picture.
One thing I do know is some COTAs are reporting annual earnings of $70-90,000. A more realistic figure would be in the $40-50,000 range for a full time 40 hour work week. Some COTAs make extra money working a second part time job. Maybe a couple hours at a nursing home, or a few home health patients, but typically when you work part time you can demand more per hour as you receive no vacation days or other benefits. If you're young and have the energy, the need is there and yes, you can make a good annual salary.
Until next time, hope all your "Thoughts" are Good-