Essential Skills of an Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) require a variety of essential skills to effectively support clients and work in collaboration with occupational therapists. Here are 12 essential skills for an OTA.



OTAs must possess strong verbal and written communication skills to effectively convey information to clients, their families, occupational therapists, and other healthcare professionals.


Active listening

OTAs need to listen carefully to clients and their families to understand their concerns, needs, and goals for therapy.


Interpersonal skills

Building rapport and maintaining positive relationships with clients, their families, and other healthcare professionals is crucial for OTAs


Cultural competency

OTAs must be sensitive to and respectful of clients’ cultural backgrounds and beliefs, adapting their therapeutic approach as needed to ensure an inclusive and supportive environment.



Occupational Therapy Assistants should be able to adapt to various client needs, therapy settings, and unexpected situations, adjusting treatment plans and approaches accordingly.



OTAs must be able to identify challenges and develop creative and practical solutions to help clients meet their goals and improve their overall well-being.


Time management

OTAs must effectively manage their time, balancing multiple client sessions, documentation, and administrative tasks.


Observation and assessment

OTAs need to carefully observe clients during therapy sessions, assessing their progress and making adjustments to treatment plans as needed.


Efficient at Documentation

OTAs are responsible for accurately documenting client progress, treatment plans, and other relevant information, following legal and ethical guidelines.


Technical skills

OTAs must be proficient in using various therapeutic techniques, equipment, and assistive devices to support clients in their therapy goals.


Good at Ethical decision-making

OTAs must adhere to professional ethical standards and make decisions in the best interest of their clients while maintaining client confidentiality.


Teamwork and collaboration

OTAs work closely with occupational therapists, other healthcare professionals, and support staff, requiring effective teamwork and collaboration skills.

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