Occupational Therapy in Florida: Schools, Certification Procedure and Salary

Occupational Therapy offers a wide range of job opportunities with good payscale due to which this profession has become one of the most popular in the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 33% growth in the employment for the occupational therapists as compared to the other professions by the year 2020. Florida is not only an excellent place to live, but also a great state to pursue your career as an occupational therapist. OT programs are usually offered at the master’s degree level where the applicants practice clinical experiences, perform lab work, and carry out research projects. OT degree programs are generally offered to existing OTs or the undergraduates. Students with unrelated undergraduate degrees may need to complete an additional course to earn the OT degree. The course duration is usually two-year long (depends on the pace and the school of study). A flexible approach towards work, excellent written and spoken communication skills, diligence, strong determination, and positive attitude are some of the requisite skills that one must have to become an occupational therapist. Below is the information regarding the license requirements, schools, and salary of occupational therapists in Florida:

Approved Occupational Therapy Schools in Florida

  • Barry University
    Address – 11300 North East 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores, FL 33161-6695
    Contact No. – 800-756-6000
    Official Websitehttps://www.barry.edu
  • Daytona State College- Advanced Technology College
    Address – 1770 Technology Boulevard, Daytona Beach, FL 32117
    Contact No. – 386-506-4100
    Official Websitehttp://www.daytonastate.edu
  • Daytona State College- Daytona Beach Campus
    Address – 1200 West International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach, FL 32114
    Contact No. – 386-506-3000
    Official Websitehttp://www.daytonastate.edu
  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
    Address – 1601 South Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Tallahassee, FL 32307
    Contact No. – 850-599-3000
    Official Websitehttp://www.famu.edu
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
    Address – 10501 FGCU Boulevard, South Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
    Contact No. – 800-590-3428
    Official Websitehttp://www.fgcu.edu
  • Florida International University
    Address – 11200 South West 8th Street Miami, Florida 33199
    Contact No. – 305-348-2000
    Official Websitehttp://www.fiu.edu
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville
    Address – 501 West State Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202
    Contact No. – 904-632-3221
    Official Websitehttp://www.fscj.edu
  • Nova Southeastern University
    Address – 3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
    Contact No. – 800-541-6682
    Official Websitehttp://www.nova.edu
  • Polk State College
    Address – 3425 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland, FL 33803
    Contact No. – 863-297-1000
    Official Websitehttps://www.polk.edu
  • State College of Florida- SCF Bradenton
    Address – 5840 26th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34207
    Contact No. – 941-752-5000
    Official Websitehttp://www.scf.edu
  • State College of Florida- SCF Lakewood Ranch
    Address – 7131 Professional Parkway East, Sarasota, FL 34240
    Contact No. – 941-363-7000
    Official Websitehttp://www.scf.edu
  • State College of Florida- SCF Venice
    Address – 8000 South Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34293
    Contact No. – 941-408-1300
    Official Websitehttp://www.scf.edu
  • University of Florida
    Address – Gainesville, FL 32611
    Contact No. – 352-392-3261
    Official Websitehttp://www.ufl.edu

Stepwise Procedure to Become an Occupational Therapist in Florida

To offer the best quality services to the people, the Florida Board of Occupational Therapy took the responsibility of the licensure and regulation of this job. There are two levels of licensure available in Florida; one is an occupational therapist, and the other is occupational therapist assistant. One who wants to become an occupational therapist in the state has to follow the procedure given below:

Step 1 – Complete Graduation from an Accredited Occupational Therapy Degree Program

It is essential for an aspirant to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a school certified by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) before applying for the licensure.

Step 2 – Complete the Internship

Every candidate should have a minimum six months of working experience under the supervision of an occupational therapist in a private clinic, hospital or any other clinical setting to get the licensure as a registered OT.

Step 3 – Gaining National Certification

The examination for certification is held by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) and it is mandatory for the applicants to obtain the license. One can take this exam in two ways, i.e., paper version and online version. This exam can be taken multiple times until it is cleared, with the gap of 45 days in between the re-attempts.

Step 4 – Application for Licensure

To apply for the license, you need to complete the following steps:

  • Submit a completed signed application to the board.
  • Submit the score reports of the NBCOT exam to the board.
  • Provide the official transcripts.
  • Pay the required fees.

The board may take some weeks or months to issue the license, after receiving the necessary documents.

Step 5 – Maintain Professional Credentials

It is also important to keep the occupational therapist license active after acquiring it. For license renewal, you need to complete a minimum 20 hours of continuing education during the two-year licensure period.

Salary of Occupational Therapists in Florida

Average salaries for different occupational therapists in Florida were 7% lower than the average salaries of OTs nationwide. As per indeed.com, the average salary of an occupational therapist in Florida was $81,000 (as of March 30, 2016).

Average Salary of Professionals with Related Job Titles

Occupational Therapist Skilled $81,000
Occupational Therapist Occupational Therapy $81,000
Occupational Therapist Rotation $47,000
Occupational Therapist Hand $86,000
Outpatient Occupational Therapist $89,000
Occupational Therapist Rehab $81,000
OT Occupational Therapist Therapy $94,000
OT Occupational Therapy $95,000
Occupational Therapist Outpatient $81,000
Occupational Therapist School $80,000
Occupational Therapist Home Health $88,000
Occupational Therapist Acute $81,000
Occupational Therapist Psych in Florida $81,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric Outpatient in Florida $81,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric

in Florida

$81,000

Information Source: indeed.com (as of March 30, 2016)

Due to some aspects like population and general competition in the market, there can be differences in the salaries of occupational therapists in different cities of the state.

Salary of Occupational Therapists in Various Cities of Florida

Name of the city

Annual Median Salary

Boca Raton $77,878
Bradenton $73,383
Brandon $76,798
Cape Coral $72,223
Clearwater $76,798
Daytona $73,673
Fort Lauderdale $77,878
Fort Myers $72,223
Gainesville $73,278
Hialeah $76,879
Hollywood $77,878
Jacksonville $75,284
Melbourne $72,658
Miami $76,879
Orlando $76,839
Palm Bay $72,658
Pembroke Pines $77,878
Pensacola $71,836
Pompano Beach $77,878
Port Saint Lucie $72,658
Saint Petersburg $76,798
Sarasota $73,383
Spring Hills $76,798
Tallahassee $73,069
Tampa $76,798
West Palm Beach $77,878

Information Source: salary.com

Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale, and Pompano Beach were the highest paying cities and offered $77,878 to the OTs. On the other hand, Pensacola offered the lowest salary, i.e., $71,836.