After being assessed by an occupational therapist, patients typically need help in completing the exercises and treatments. Also, patients need oversight by a professional to ensure that they are performing the exercises correctly so the patient can recover and avoid re-injuring themselves. Alongside the occupational therapist and other healthcare professionals, occupational therapy assistants work directly with patients to help them regain function and perform daily coordination tasks. Discover more here about how to become an occupational therapy assistant.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Education Degree Requirements
Most employers ask that occupational therapy assistants have at least a two-year college degree in occupational therapy. Occupational therapy evaluations, therapeutic media, activities of daily living, group process, and occupational therapy in pediatrics might be topics covered in your occupational therapy assistant training. Along with your classes, strong interpersonal skills might be useful for working with patients and other occupational therapy healthcare professionals. Because occupational therapy assistants spend much of their day on their feet and helping patients, good physical strength and stamina might be advantageous.
In most states, licensure is required for occupational therapy assistants. Qualifications vary by state. However, the majority require that applicants graduate from an accredited occupational therapy assistant training program and pass a state exam. Certification from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy will allow you to use the title of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). This certification can open more job opportunities for you.
Becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant: Career Outlook
Occupational therapy assistants promote patient safety and wellbeing as they complete therapeutic treatments. The occupational therapy assistant may physically assist the patient by helping them stretch or serve as a partner for exercises such as passing a ball. They will report on the patient’s progress to the occupational therapist.
While the vast majority of occupational therapy assistants work in hospitals or occupational therapists’ offices, some work for home health organizations or nursing care facilities. Most work full-time. In larger facilities, particularly those that have multiple occupational therapists, experienced occupational therapy assistants may advance to a supervisory role. Other occupational therapy assistants choose to continue their education and become occupational therapists.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for occupational therapy assistants are projected to grow much faster than the average in the coming decade. Most of this growth will result from the larger numbers of older adults who desire to remain independent in advanced age. The median annual wage for occupational therapy assistants was $52,040 in 2011.
Technological advances in medicine are generally allowing a higher number of patients to recover total function after illnesses and injuries. Therefore, these patients will typically need the help of occupational therapy assistants to re-learn daily tasks. Occupational therapy assistants in areas where the population is growing, particularly the south and the west, as well as those outside of metropolitan areas will usually have excellent job prospects. Becoming an occupational therapy assistant can allow you to be a healthcare professional who helps patients improve their quality of life.