US Colleges

How to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant

How to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant

How to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant

An occupational therapy assistant is a medical employee who works under the guidance of an occupational therapist for treating patients who are suffering from physical disabilities. Their job is to assist and aid the occupational therapist in promoting the health of patients by engaging them in everyday activities. Occupational therapy is a form of holistic care, which is provided by performing daily activities in a safe and useful way.

[divider]Quick Facts [/divider]

  • Median Salary $47,490/year or $22.83/hour
  • Education Requirements High school diploma or equivalent
  • Professionals Employed 36,000
  • 10 Years Job Outlook 41%
  • 10 Years Job Growth 14,800

What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

Though an occupational therapy assistant works under the guidance of an occupational therapist, they are more directly involved in the treatment of the patient. They work in unison with the occupational therapist to make an outline of the treatment procedure needed for each patient. It is an occupational therapy assistant who does the therapeutic activities on the patient’s body. They will instruct the patient on the type of exercise and movements to perform.

It is their duty to teach the patients on using various kinds of disability-assistance devices. They work with children suffering from developmental complications, to promote coordination and physical activities in them. It is their duty to record the progress of each patient who is undergoing treatment. They also have the task of giving post-treatment assistance for those who contact the hospital.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Average Salary

The average wage for occupational therapy assistant career is $40,000. This is the median salary. Actual pay ranges from $33,000 to that of 60,000. The salary mainly depends on the institutions in which they are employed. The nursing care facilities and home health care services are known to pay the highest salaries in occupational therapy assistant career. Surgical hospitals are known to pay them an average of $42,000 per year.

How to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant

The basic qualification for becoming an occupational therapy assistant is to get an associate’s degree in occupational therapy. This program is provided by most technical schools and community colleges. More than 300 occupational therapy assistant programs have been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). The associate’s degree for becoming an occupational therapy assistant is a full-time course. The main subjects which are to be studied are biology, psychology, and pediatric care.

In most of the U.S. states, occupational therapy assistants are required to have a license to work. Licensure examination can be taken after completing an accredited occupational therapy program. They can also pass an exam conducted by the National board for Certification in Occupational Therapy to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. Other qualities needed by them are Empathy, physical strength, communication skills, and good orientation. These qualities are required to work with suffering patients, who are to be assisted physically and mentally for doing their daily activities.

Occupational therapy assistants are primarily employed in the offices of occupational, speech, and physical therapists. Nursing care facilities also employs a lot of occupational therapy assistants, and they pay a high salary for them. Other places where they get hired are schools, colleges, and in sports teams.