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Occupational Therapy Assistant

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What Do Occupational Therapy Assistant Do?

Example of Occupational Therapy Assistant Job 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.

List of Occupational Therapy Assistant Job Duties

  • Maintain and promote a positive attitude toward clients and their treatment programs.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as scheduling appointments, collecting data, or documenting health insurance billings.
  • Work under the direction of occupational therapists to plan, implement, or administer educational, vocational, or recreational programs that restore or enhance performance in individuals with functional impairments.
  • Select therapy activities to fit patients’ needs and capabilities.
  • Alter treatment programs to obtain better results if treatment is not having the intended effect.
  • Order any needed educational or treatment supplies.

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

These are the skills Occupational Therapy Assistants say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

  • Acute Care Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant/Licensed (COTA/L)
  • Licensed Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Rehabilitation Assistant
  • Staff Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant/Licensed (Staff COTA/L)

Occupational Therapy Assistant Employment Estimates

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. The BLS estimates 6,600 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Occupational Therapy Assistants in U.S.

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.

Salary Ranges for Occupational Therapy Assistants

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

How much do Occupational Therapy Assistants make in each U.S. state?

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 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

Becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant

What education is needed to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Occupational Therapy Assistant Work Experience

Where Occupational Therapy Assistants Are Employed

Occupational Therapy Assistant Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Industries

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

Those who work as an Occupational Therapy Assistant sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:


Image Credit: Ryan Conroy via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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