RESNA 27th International Annual Confence

Technology & Disability: Research, Design, Practice & Policy

June 18 to June 22, 2004
Orlando, Florida

RE-PSG Salary Survey 2003

Glenn Hedman, PE, ATP, RET
Assistive Technology Unit,
University of Illinois at Chicago


In response to RE-PSG member interest, a salary survey was performed using a web-based form. Members were asked about their academic training, certification and licensure status, work experience, work setting, and work responsibilities. Members were asked to convert their salaries to the equivalent salary in Austin, Texas to allow for comparison. Results are presented, with salary information shown for the entire sample and for respondents who cited 50% or more work responsibility in service delivery.


Rehabilitation Engineer, Rehabilitation Engineering Technologist, Salary Survey, Certification


Salary information on Assistive Technology professionals is limited, with results of a previous survey dating back to 1989 (1). The Rehabilitation Engineering Professional Specialty Group (RE-PSG) of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) conducted an informal salary survey of members during 2000, with the results presented at the RESNA 2000 Conference RE-PSG meeting.

Table 1. Educational Background of respondents.
High School 2 5.7%
Associates Degree 1 2.9%
Bachelors degree 8 22.9%
Masters degree 19 54.3%
Doctorate 5 14.3%

Information on salaries is useful to both employers and service providers. For employers, the information is useful when recruiting or retaining Assistive Technology professionals. For the practitioner, knowledge about how local salaries compare with the rest of the industry is useful to trying to establish a fair employment situation.

Information on academic background and certification are useful to see trends in the Rehabilitation Engineering profession, and may encourage professionals to set goals to keep current in these areas. After much discussion, the RE-PSG and RESNA moved forward in 2002 with the establishment of the credential Certification in Rehabilitation Engineering Technology. Survey information on this credential is useful to gauge the interest of members in obtaining the credential.

Table 2. Credentials held by respondents.
ATP 23 65.7%
RET 4 11.4%
PE 3 8.6%
OTHER 2 5.7%
NONE 6 17.1%


As opposed to the direct mailing of the 2000 salary survey to RE-PSG members, it was decided to handle the 2003 RE-PSG salary survey on the group's website. This was decided in order to run the survey in a more cost-efficient manner. An on-line form was created to give RE-PSG members he opportunity to fill out the survey, print it out, and fax it in to a central location. Members were asked not to identify themselves anywhere on the survey.

Information regarding work setting was structured per Smith's compilation of the different Rehabilitation Engineering service delivery models (2).

On the survey form, members were instructed to go to a salary conversion website,, in order to convert their salary from their location to Austin, Texas. This was done to enable the salary figures to be able to be compared with one another. Austin was chosen as a site that would not have a dramatically low or high cost of living. In addition, Austin had been recently cited as one of the most livable cities in the United States.

Table 3. Work settings of respondents.
DME 0 0.0%
Comp Rehab 11 31.4%
Cneter in Univ 9 25.7%
State Agency 4 11.4%
Private 1 2.9%
Non-profit 5 14.3%
Misc (Volunteer, I&R) 0 0.0%
Other 5 14.3%


A total of 35 individuals submitted responses. Because membership to the RE-PSG listserv is open to individuals not RE-PSG members, the respondents reflected a mix of 29 members and 6 non-members.

The most popular academic background to have was a maser's degree, cited by 19 (54%) of respondents. Most respondents had achieved the Assistive Technology Practitioner (ATP) credential, and another 4 had earned the Certificate in Rehabilitation Engineering Technology (RET). Of respondents that do not have the ATP or RET, 5 cited interest in the ATP and 18 planned to seek the RET. Taken together, 22 of the 35 respondents (63%) indicated that they either have or planned to seek the RET.

Table 4. Salary results for all respondents, broken out for each 5-years of work experience.
1-5 YEARS $38,743
6-10 YEARS $48,420
11-15 YEARS $56,021
16-20 YEARS $45,963
21 + YEARS $88,187

The work setting of rehabilitation hospital was cited by 11 (31%) respondents, followed closely by center within a university of 9 (26%). Work experience ranged from 2-27 years, with an average of 11.7 years.

Salary figures responses were grouped according to years of work experience. In order to filter out some responses by professionals who have mainly teaching and / or research responsibilities, another analysis of the salaries was performed for respondents who cited 50% or more of their work responsibilities as being clinical service. The represented 28 of the 35 respondents (80%).


Table 5. Salary results for respondents having 50% or more of work responsibilities in service delivery, broken out for each 5-years of work experience.
1-5 YEARS $37,749
6-10 YEARS $47,707
11-15 YEARS $49,090
16-20 YEARS $43,354
21 + YEARS $53,846

The high level of interest in and response to the survey indicates that it is a member service that may be appropriate to expand to the RESNA general membership. Other professional organizations do this, and charge their members a relatively low fee to access the results.


  1. Cardi, M & Ferguson-Pell, M. Preliminary Results of a Salary Survey for Rehabilitation Technology Specialists. Proceedings from the 12 th Annual RESNA Conference , RESNA, Arlington, VA, 1989, p. 362-363.
  2. Smith, R. Models of Service Delivery in Rehabilitation Technology. In Rehabilitation Technology Service Delivery: A Practical Guide. RESNA, Arlington, VA, 1987, p. 9-26.


This study was performed with the support of RE-PSG Chair Kevin Caves, and the technical assistance of David Jaffe, who made the on-line version of the survey available.

Author Contact Information:

Glenn Hedman
Assistive Technology Unit,
Department of Disability and Human Development (M/C 626),
University of Illinois at Chicago,
1640 West Roosevelt - Room 415,
Chicago, IL 60608-6904.

RESNA Conference Logo