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Occupational Therapy Assistant

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Life As an Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistant Definition Assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, direct activity programs, and document the progress of treatments. Generally requires formal training.

A Day in the Life of an Occupational Therapy Assistant

  • Assist educational specialists or clinical psychologists in administering situational or diagnostic tests to measure client’s abilities or progress.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as scheduling appointments, collecting data, or documenting health insurance billings.
  • Design, fabricate, or repair assistive devices or make adaptive changes to equipment or environments.
  • Instruct, or assist in instructing, patients and families in home programs, basic living skills, or the care and use of adaptive equipment.
  • Assemble, clean, or maintain equipment or materials for patient use.
  • Implement, or assist occupational therapists with implementing, treatment plans designed to help clients function independently.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

Below is a list of the skills most Occupational Therapy Assistants say are important on the job.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Time Management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others.

Types of Occupational Therapy Assistant

  • Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA)
  • Occupational Therapist Assistants
  • Occupational Therapy Technician
  • Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)

Job Opportunities for Occupational Therapy Assistants

In the United States, there were 39,300 jobs for Occupational Therapy Assistant in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 29% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 11,400 new jobs for Occupational Therapy Assistant by 2026. There will be an estimated 6,600 positions for Occupational Therapy Assistant per year.

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The states with the most job growth for Occupational Therapy Assistant are Arizona, Georgia, and Utah. Watch out if you plan on working in Delaware, Wisconsin, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary

The typical yearly salary for Occupational Therapy Assistants is somewhere between $39,620 and $80,980.

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Occupational Therapy Assistants who work in Texas, New Jersey, or California, make the highest salaries.

How much do Occupational Therapy Assistants make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $58,700
Arizona $59,090
Arkansas $58,580
California $67,470
Colorado $57,230
Connecticut $65,150
Delaware $59,130
District of Columbia $56,330
Florida $61,340
Georgia $64,630
Hawaii $58,440
Idaho $56,100
Illinois $60,200
Indiana $56,070
Iowa $56,020
Kansas $58,970
Kentucky $55,080
Louisiana $60,730
Maine $50,490
Maryland $62,950
Massachusetts $62,530
Michigan $52,410
Minnesota $50,470
Mississippi $57,050
Missouri $57,310
Nebraska $58,250
Nevada $68,200
New Hampshire $56,160
New Jersey $69,530
New Mexico $57,810
New York $60,890
North Carolina $62,880
North Dakota $48,670
Ohio $59,910
Oklahoma $60,830
Oregon $62,580
Pennsylvania $54,580
Rhode Island $61,640
South Carolina $64,060
South Dakota $41,050
Tennessee $60,640
Texas $74,650
Utah $56,460
Vermont $60,710
Virginia $66,240
Washington $63,570
West Virginia $59,090
Wisconsin $38,650
Wyoming $52,200

What Tools & Technology do Occupational Therapy Assistants Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Occupational Therapy Assistants:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Database software
  • Facebook
  • FileMaker Pro
  • Scheduling software
  • Graphics software
  • Billing software
  • Accounting software
  • Bookkeeping software
  • Laboratory information system LIS

How to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant

Education needed to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant:

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Who Employs Occupational Therapy Assistants?

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The table below shows the approximate number of Occupational Therapy Assistants employed by various industries.

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Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant might also be interested in the following careers:

Are you already one of the many Occupational Therapy Assistant in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

Image Credit: Ryan Conroy via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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