Nevada is the highest paying state for Occupational Therapy. It’s actually the highest paying state for all medical disciplines.
I know this, because I lived and worked as an OT in Nevada for 7 years.
There’s also no state income tax in Nevada, making it one of the most affordable places to live.
So what’s Salary like in Nevada?
Occupational Therapists in Nevada make an annual mean wage of $100,970 (BLS.gov)
In this article, I’ll discuss OT salary in Nevada, specifically Las Vegas and Northern Nevada (Reno, Carson City). I’ll then discuss the pros and cons to living in this beautiful desert.
What cities in Nevada pay the most?
Las Vegas and Henderson are by far the highest paying cities in Las Vegas. They’re actually the highest paying cities in the U.S for PT, OT, and Speech Therapy.
Here’s my rundown of the highest paying cities in Nevada
- Las Vegas and Henderson $75-120k
- Reno $79-83k
- Carson City $72-85k
What jobs in Las Vegas pay the most?
If you want to make the highest rate in Las Vegas, it’s best to work per diem at a hospital or well known acute rehab facility.
You can do well at a skilled nursing facility and home health, but the facilities with the most money, pay the most money.
You can work full time with a decent hourly rate, but it will be similar to other high paying states in the U.S.
On Average, per diem employees make about $10-20 per hour more than full or part time employees.
Highest paying OT jobs in Las Vegas ranked highest to lowest
- Hospital based
- Acute Rehab
- Skilled Nursing
- Home Health
- Outpatient (Hand Therapy)
OTA Salary in Las Vegas
Unfortunately, Occupational Therapy Assistants in the Las Vegas area do not have a higher salary range than OTs.
However, OTA salary in Las Vegas is slightly higher than the national average.
The average mean salary for OTAs in Las Vegas and Henderson is $72,320.
The best paid OTA job in Las Vegas is home health. The more experience, the better the pay, and if you’re starting out as a new grad you will be paid similar rates to other facilities.
The highest paid OTA jobs are in home health, hospitals, acute rehab and SNF. The lowest paid OTA jobs are in pediatrics.
How much do new grads make in Las Vegas?
As a new grad, I was offered $36 per hour but negotiated the rate to $38 per hour working at a hospital full time. Check out my other post on negotiating OT salary here.
Most entry-level OTs will start out at $36-45 per hour working full time. They will usually increase their hourly rate by $1.25 per year.
Benefits usually include health insurance, dental, vision, and 401k plans.
Per diem means you work as needed and you’re the first to get called off, but in Las Vegas you’re always needed.
I know per diem employees who work 5 day per week every week and never get called off.
That’s why Las Vegas is the best place to work per diem. Some facilities will only allow per diems to work 3 days per week, and this is why it can be beneficial to work at multiple locations.
The per diem rate for Las Vegas is $50-70 per hour. To work per-diem, you usually need some kind of experience.
I’ve known new grads who changed their work status to per diem after working full time for 3 months.
Per diem is the fastest way to get paid at a higher rate without having additional experience.
If you need health insurance, you can work part time at a facility that offers benefits, and work per diem at another facility.
The increase in pay rate also means a decrease in benefits. Some facilities offer per diem employees 401k but most facilities do not. As a per diem employee you will have to purchase your own health insurance or join a health sharing ministry.
Per diem means you’re flexible, but you’re also not expected to have the same responsibility as full time employees. You make your own schedule, instead of your employer telling you the days you have to work.
At many locations you don’t have a set time to be at work, and if you’re not busy you can leave early.
Read my other post on why per diem OT is worth it.
Is it worth it to work as an OT in Nevada?
OT salary is the highest in Nevada, but there are pros and cons to any place you decide to live.
As a new grad, I decided to live in Las Vegas, because I already knew the area, and it was a great place to save and pay off my student loans.
Living in Las Vegas can also be an unpopular place to live with all the drugs and crime, but there are safe places to live and it’s close to world class rock climbing, hiking, and an international airport.
Here’s my list of pros and cons for working in Las Vegas
- Easy to find OT jobs
- Endless shopping
- No income tax
- Great restaurants
- Inexpensive flights
- Hot summers
- Desert landscape
- Less than average schools
If you’re still not sure about working in Nevada, consider a contract position or travel job. I honestly loved living in Las Vegas, and over time I learned to love the people and landscape.
It’s not a place for everyone, but if you’re looking to save and grow in your profession, it’s a great choice.
I hope this guide was helpful. To learn how to maximize your OT/PT salary, read my other post here.
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David is the lead editor of OT Focus. He has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist since 2013. He specializes in acute care, hand therapy, and ergonomics.