Occupational Therapy Assistant resized

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational therapy assistants make a difference in the lives of people of all ages. As a result, if you would like to become one, you should be positive, compassionate, flexible, patient and have great interpersonal skills.

Working under the direction of occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants (OTA) teach individuals how to overcome the challenges of performing daily activities because of an injury, illness or disability. Occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in providing therapy to patients.

Occupation therapy assistants work across many areas - in homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, skilled nursing homes, therapists’ offices and workplaces.

They work with children who are at risk for developing disabilities, helping them improve their motor skills, cognitive skills, and sensory processing to minimize the potential of developmental delays. They also help people with arthritis, teaching them how to manage their inflammation or identifying orthotic devices that help them control pain, which improves their self-esteem. In addition, OTAs help people overcome physical challenges, recommending mobility changes to everyday equipment such as adding foot straps to bicycle pedals.

OTAs teach individuals with Down syndrome how to gain their independence through self-care activities such as eating, dressing and playing. OTAs also help dementia patients through behavioral interventions (treatment plans), addressing personality changes that are concerning their families and caregivers. Lastly, OTAs help employees with work-related lower back injuries through supervised therapeutic exercises, work reconditioning and on-site intervention.

To become an OTA, you must enroll in a one-year, accredited program at a hospital, vocational-tech school or community college. Most programs also include fieldwork under the supervision of a registered OT or certified OTA.

After training, you will be eligible for licensure as an OTA, by taking the national exam given by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). You’ll also need a license from the state of Texas, which will then qualify you to practice as an OTA.

$51,411

entry level salary estimate

$80,450

experienced level salary estimate

745

projected annual job openings

Programs for Occupational Therapy Assistants

Many ways to make a difference.

When you think about healthcare, your thoughts likely turn to doctors and nurses, and caring for patients. Career opportunities in healthcare today are not only in high demand they are also highly diverse – spanning a range of specialist areas and different settings from home to hospital. For many healthcare positions you can get your start with a certificate, and advance your career with an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Health sciences

Sources:

Texas Labor Market Information, Texas Workforce Commission. Statewide wages by occupation, 2021. Statewide projections by occupation, 2020-2030.

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