Best Occupational Therapy Schools in New Jersey – 2023

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

Title 13 of the New Jersey Administrative Code permits occupational therapists (OTs) in the Garden State to provide both direct and supervised services to clients affected by sensorimotor, developmental or learning disabilities. New Jersey OTs work with a mix of clients, ranging from new-borns who are suffering from developmental delays to senior citizens who need advice on how to remodel their homes to accommodate declining mobility. We’ve ranked the best occupational therapy programs in New Jersey to make it simpler for you to choose the school that best serves your professional goals.


What Skills and Knowledge will I Gain from an Occupational Therapy Program?

Occupational therapists work with clients to maintain, develop and improve the skills that are necessary to perform the routine activities that are part of everyday life. To that end, coursework is skewed toward helping you understand both the physical and psychological needs of your clients.

You’ll take anatomy and physiology classes, but you’ll also study developmental psychology, sociology, and anthropology. To help you understand the biomechanics embodied in even the simplest sequences of movement, occupational therapy schools in NJ will teach you about kinesiology. Since you’ll be working as part of an interdisciplinary team, you’ll be taught medical terminology. Effective communication is one of the most important skills to have when you’re working one on one with a client, so likely you’ll study effective communication skills as well.

Occupational Therapy Program Length & Cost in New Jersey

The costs of your OT training and the amount of time you devote to it will depend upon whether you’re pursuing a master’s degree or a doctoral degree. If your primary interest is in working with clients, the master’s degree will suffice, and you can expect to be in school for two to three years. The tuition for OT master’s degree programs varies from $27,350 for New Jersey residents attending an institution that accepts state funding to $98,730 at a private university.

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree is more appropriate if you’re interested in research or teaching. This program typically takes three and a half years to complete. Tuition at a state institution begins at $33,300 for Garden State residents, while aspiring OTs who want to attend a private university can expect to spend $119,950.

Type of Program Length Cost
Master's2 to 3 Years$27,350 - $98,730
Doctoral3.5 Years$33,300 - $119,950


(Based on our Ranking Methodology, below are the 3 best Occupational Therapy programs in New Jersey. The list includes both campus-based and online programs.)

1) Seton Hall University - Nutley

2) Stockton University - Galloway

3) Kean University - Union


Occupational Therapist Career Information For New Jersey - 2023

How Many Occupational Therapists are Currently Employed in NJ?


Where do Occupational Therapists Work in New Jersey?

Occupational therapists in New Jersey work primarily in hospitals or from their own practice offices, which they may share with other OTs. Occupational therapists in the Garden State don’t need a physician’s referral in order to work with a client, and increasingly, insurance plans and Medicare are willing to pay for OT services.

In hospital settings, occupation therapists often work with clients who need assistance regaining routine skills following a stroke or orthopedic surgery such as a hip replacement. OTs also play an important role in discharge planning, recommending residential modifications and adaptive equipment for clients who are going home.

More than 500 occupational therapists are employed in New Jersey’s schools. Here, they may work with children who’ve been identified by teachers and school nurses as needing assistance achieving developmental milestones that involve fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination. They may also work with autistic children or children with other conditions resulting in developmental delay as part of those children’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).

OTs also work in skilled nursing facilities and with agencies that provide home care. In these capacities, they mostly work with aging populations to maintain and restore the functionalities necessary for living as independently as possible.

IndustryNumber of Occupational Therapists
Offices Occupational Therapists1,230
Elementary and Secondary Schools540
Home Health Care Services330
Nursing Care Facilities310

What is the Average Salary of an Occupational Therapist in New Jersey?

The average occupational therapist salary in New Jersey is $104,710. OTs who work in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and schools can expect to be offered attractive benefits packages that include health care insurance, retirement savings options and paid time off. School-based OTs will generally follow student schedules, which means they get the same days off that students do.

Type Salary
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Salary Based on Years of Experience

Years of Experience Hourly Monthly Annual
Less than 1 year (Starting) $31.40 $5,440 $65,310
1-4 years $39.53 $6,850 $82,230
5-9 years $49.56 $8,590 $103,090
10-19 years $58.64 $10,170 $121,980
20 years or more $71.41 $12,380 $148,530
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Occupational Therapist Average Salary Comparison: New Jersey vs. National

New Jersey OTs make a considerably higher salary than the national average. Many parts of New Jersey fall within the New York City metropolitan area, where the competition for talented health care workers is tight.

New Jersey National Difference
Number %
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Job Outlook

Openings for OTs in the Garden State are expected to soar nearly 17 percent by the year 2030. This may be due to two factors: By 2030, nearly 2.5 million New Jersey residents will be over the age of 65, and senior citizens are among the top consumers of OT services. Additionally, New Jersey has the nation’s highest rates of autism, and many OTs specialize in the treatment of autism and other conditions that result in developmental delay.

Annual Job Openings

New Replacement Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
(Source: careeronestop)

Metro Wise Employment & Salary Data

Trenton, which is approximately midway between New York City and Philadelphia, employs nearly 200 OTs. Trenton is known for such hospitals as St. Francis Medical Center, the Capital Health Regional Medical Center and the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton.

The phasing out of the casino industry has affected Atlantic City economically: Nearly one-quarter of its population lives below the federal poverty line. A higher rate of developmental disabilities is often found in populations who live in poverty; thus the need for skilled occupational therapists in that city.

Metro Employment Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
Trenton 200 $50.50 $8,750 $105,050
Atlantic City-Hammonton 80 $41.88 $7,260 $87,120
Vineland-Bridgeton 60 $45.25 $7,840 $94,110
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Useful Occupational Therapist Organizations & Associations in New Jersey

New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association

The New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association distributes a bi-monthly newsletter to its members that contains information of particular interest to occupational therapists. The association also sponsor special interest groups where members can network with other OTs who share their specialized interests.

Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

Occupational Therapy Schools in other States

  • Pennsylvania