Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)

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Entry level education: Associate’s Degree

Projected 10-year growth: 25% from 2021 to 2031 (much faster than average)

Number of jobs: 47,000 (2021)

An occupational therapy assistant (OTA) is a healthcare professional who works under the direction and supervision of an occupational therapist (OT). OTAs help people with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities improve their ability to perform daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and grooming. They may also work with individuals recovering from injuries or illnesses to help them regain their functional abilities.

OTAs work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, and community clinics. They may assist with evaluating patients’ abilities and developing treatment plans, as well as providing therapeutic interventions such as exercises, activities, and adaptive equipment to help patients achieve their goals.

OTAs must complete an accredited occupational therapy assistant program and pass a national certification exam to become licensed. They work as part of a healthcare team alongside other professionals, such as physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, and social workers, to provide comprehensive care to patients.

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for occupational therapy assistants was $62,940 as of May 2021.

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The curriculum of an occupational therapy assistant program typically includes coursework in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, therapeutic techniques, and clinical skills, as well as supervised clinical experiences.

The job outlook for occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) is positive, with a projected employment growth of 32% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Financial aid for Occupational Therapy Assistant programs may be available through various sources such as federal and state grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and student loans. Eligibility for financial aid depends on factors such as income, academic standing, and program enrollment status.

There are various scholarships available for aspiring Occupational Therapy Assistants, such as those offered by healthcare organizations, educational institutions, and private foundations. These scholarships typically cover the cost of tuition, books, and other educational expenses, and may be awarded based on factors such as academic achievement, financial need, and career goals.

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When choosing an OTA school, consider factors such as accreditation, curriculum, faculty, program duration, clinical experience, and student support services. Evaluating these aspects can help ensure that the school meets your needs and prepares you for a successful career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

To become an occupational therapy assistant, one must possess strong problem-solving, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills to effectively assist occupational therapists in providing client-centered care.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a OTA, here are some factors to consider to help you decide if it’s the right path for you.

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Occupational therapy assistants (OTA) work with individuals to improve their ability to perform daily living and work activities, while physical therapy assistants (PTA) focus on improving mobility and reducing pain through exercises and physical interventions.

Choosing an online occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program can offer flexibility in scheduling and location, allowing students to balance their education with other responsibilities such as work or family obligations.

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Becoming an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) can be a rewarding career path that offers the opportunity to help individuals achieve their goals, make a positive impact on their lives, and work in a growing field with diverse job opportunities.

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