Frequently Asked Questions

How much does an occupational therapist get paid?

This is a complex question to answer because of the myriad employing agencies and the range of jobs for occupational therapists. The table below outlines the current bands and salaries for staff employed in district health boards.

Band/position Step 30-Apr-15
Advanced clinician/advanced practitioner
/designated positions
15 $96,278.00
14 $93,124.00
13 $91,030.00
12 $87,333.00
11 $83,637.00
10 $79,652.00
9 $75,272.00
8 $72,100.00
7 $69,946.00
Additional progression step 6 $66,039.00
Graduate to experienced clinicians 5 $63,336.00
4 $57,003.00
3 $53,953.00
2 $50,786.00
1 $46,915.00


Pay for occupational therapists employed by Ministry of Education(MOE) varies depending on length of service and skill level.

The minimum rates of pay as of 29 June 2015 are:

Step Step 29-Jun-15
13 $76,925.00
12 $73,959.00
11 $70,827.00
10 $68,165.00
9 $65,504.00
8 $62,787.00
7 $60,180.00
Additional progression step 6 $57,574.00
Graduate to experienced clinicians 5 $54,912.00
4 $52,315.00
3 $49,763.00
2 $47,211.00
1 $44,941.00


Source: Ministry of Education: Kaiarahi i te Reo, Therapists’, ATSSD, Special Education Assistants’ IEA promulgated 27 June 2014.

Pay for occupational therapists working in private practice varies, but can range from around $45,000 to over $110,000 (depending on the nature of employment/responsibilities and employment status).

Are there plenty of job opportunities?

There currently appears to be plenty of opportunities for a career in occupational therapy.

Is OTNZ-WNA a union?

No – the association is not a union. OTNZ-WNA is the professional association for occupational therapists in New Zealand. There are a number of unions which represent occupational therapists. The following three unions represent occupational therapists within different employment sectors:

The New Zealand Public Health Service Association – represents employees within the public sector of Aotearoa

National Union of Public Employees – represents employees within the public sector of Aotearoa

NZ Educational Institute – represents employees within the education sector of Aotearoa

If you have a question about a career in occupational therapy and you have not found the answer from the Career or Occupational Therapy Programme pages please contact us.

As a professional occupational therapist – why should I become a member of the Occupational Therapy New Zealand Whakaora Ngangahau Aotearoa Whakapra Ngangahau Aotearoa?

There are many reasons to be an association member for a professional occupational therapist:

  • as part of the District Health Board MECA agreement, Public Service Association (PSA) members are entitled to a refund of up to $414 of their membership subscription
  • being a member includes access to professional training at no cost or reduced rates
  • access to professional indemnity insurance at a group rate (which means the lowest price you will ever get)
  • networking with other occupational therapists such as through our online SIG groups where current issues and debates affecting occupational therapy are highlighted and questions are asked; or through our national and regional events
  • information, research and news on occupational therapy and related issues through OT Insight, WFOT newsletters and the Journal of Occupational Therapy – free to members
  • you are supporting the profession and raising the banner of occupational therapy in Aoteraoa New Zealand.