How To Become An Occupational Therapist Assistant Salary – Millions of people around the world face injuries, illnesses or disabilities that affect their ability to function at work and in their daily lives. Fortunately, there is an entire profession dedicated to helping people maintain or regain the skills, strength, and abilities they need to perform daily activities and live independent and fulfilling lives. If you like the idea of meaningful work that gives you the opportunity (sometimes literally) to help people get back on their feet, becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant may be the right health care career for you!
This career guide will teach you everything you need to know about becoming an occupational therapy assistant, including education requirements, qualifications, day-to-day activities, and how long it generally takes to start your new career.
How To Become An Occupational Therapist Assistant Salary
Not sure if becoming an OTA is right for you? Click here to see the rest of the careers in our full list of the best healthcare jobs for beginners.
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Occupational therapy is about helping people develop and maintain the skills, strength and abilities needed for everyday activities – whether they are recovering from an injury or dealing with additional health problems. As an occupational therapy assistant (also known as an OTA), you will work directly with patients and guide them through treatment options that can significantly improve their independence and quality of life.
Under the supervision of an occupational therapist, OTAs help patients perform therapeutic activities and help people perform important time-consuming activities. Occupational therapy assistants work with people of all ages from newborns to the elderly. OTA assistance educates patients and their families on the use of special medical devices that facilitate the performance of daily activities. OTAs often serve as an important source of emotional and psychological support for patients during the recovery process, which can often be long and slow.
To succeed as an occupational therapy assistant, you will need to be compassionate and have excellent interpersonal skills. Many people in care may find it difficult to carry out simple daily tasks, which can leave them feeling depressed and isolated. Flexibility and strong problem-solving skills are also important in OTAs, as every patient is different and you may need to try several different treatment solutions to help them achieve their goals.
OTAs work in all settings, including schools, clinics, hospitals, home health care, skilled nursing, mental health, dementia care, private practice, travel therapy, and community settings. You may also find occupational therapy assistants working in “non-traditional” settings such as hippotherapy, home modifications, prisons, or hospice care. One of the great things about OTAs is that you can have one certification that gives you the freedom to work anywhere in the country almost anywhere you can imagine.
Otr Vs. Cota: What’s The Difference?
Occupational therapy assistant training and certification. How long does it take to become an occupational therapy assistant? What certification do you need to become an occupational therapy assistant?
To become an occupational therapy assistant, you’ll need to earn an associate’s degree from an accredited college or university. Brookline’s OTA program provides you with the necessary knowledge and skills to safely and effectively care for a variety of patients. While many associate degree programs for occupational therapy assistants take two full years, our accelerated degree programs allow you to complete your OTA program in less than 96 weeks, even if you work part-time. You achieve this through an integrated program where you learn some content online at your own pace and are required to be on campus five Fridays per term.
Like any long-term goal, working toward a new career as an occupational therapy assistant seems more attainable when you break it down into individual steps.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to the education, experience and qualifications you’ll need to become an occupational therapy assistant:
Is Occupational Therapy A Good Career?
The first step to becoming an OTA is enrolling in an occupational therapy assistant program at an accredited college or university. It’s a career open to people from all walks of life if you’re willing to put in the time and effort required to become an OTA Partner. For example, to qualify for Brookline College’s occupational therapy assistant program, you only need a high school diploma or GED and passing the TEAS A2 entrance exam. Most OTA programs will also require some sort of entrance interview to ensure that your goals and personality are a good fit for a career in occupational therapy.
As with all healthcare-related programs, your OTA degree program will include several general education courses in subjects such as English, psychology, and communications. These courses will help you hone your critical thinking skills and become a well-rounded professional. Of course, you will also spend a lot of time studying anatomy and physiology to learn more about the human body and how its systems work and interact.
When you move on to occupational therapy assistant personal training, you will gain advanced knowledge of how the human body moves, heals and develops. You will learn to work with different groups of patients, from pediatrics to the elderly. You will also learn about healthcare industry management and best professional practices, and attend courses designed to improve evidence-based decision-making and general clinical reasoning.
Occupational therapy assistant programs are somewhat unique in that they include more hands-on activities during your OTA degree program. Many of your OTA courses will have a concurrent fieldwork component where you can gain real-world experience with real patients. The capstone courses in the occupational therapy assistant certificate program include extensive clinical work with a degree of independence as you would expect from your first job as an OTA.
Get Your Associate Degree As A Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant In Fredericksburg, Va
Regardless of where you decide to earn your occupational therapy assistant degree, it would be a good idea to consider colleges or universities that offer additional services to students, such as job search assistance after completing their OTA degree program. Students who get work experience programs sometimes have interviews before they even graduate!
Becoming a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) through the National Board of Occupational Therapy Certification allows you to work anywhere in the United States, as it is considered the gold standard of certification for OTAs. The NBCOT exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions in a maximum of four hours of testing, although you should expect to be at the test center for a little more than five hours to complete the necessary pre- and post-test administrative steps.
The rising cost of higher education is making it increasingly difficult for many people to earn a degree the traditional way. Many major colleges and universities charge upwards of $20,000 for just one semester of tuition, which often doesn’t even include the basics like lab fees, textbooks, and other course materials. Fortunately, the advent of online education has made earning a college degree very easy and accessible to countless people across the country, as online colleges do not have the same operating costs. they can pass these savings on to students. For example, Brookline College’s occupational therapy assistant program not only costs less per credit hour than many traditional four-year schools, the cost you are quoted always includes books and materials for all the courses you will need. Even better, over 80% of Brookline students qualify for some form of financial aid! No one likes to be surprised when a higher-than-expected bill shows up—so wherever you decide to get your OTA degree, make sure it’s at a school that’s completely transparent about what you can expect to pay for your education.
According to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary* for all occupational therapy assistants is approximately $63,000, which is approximately $30 per hour. Top-earning OTAs can take home even more — occupational therapy assistants in the top 25% earn nearly $75,000 a year, while salaries in the top 10% can reach $84,000 or more.
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If you’re looking for a healthcare career with great long-term stability, it’s hard to get much better than an OTA career. The BLS estimates that overall employment of occupational therapy assistants will grow by an impressive 36% through 2029.
If you’re looking for a career that gives you the opportunity to change people’s lives for the better, becoming an occupational therapy assistant is one of the most rewarding jobs you’ll find anywhere in the healthcare industry. The fact that it is one of the highest paying healthcare jobs you can get without completing a four-year degree is also a great reason to consider becoming an OTA! This is a fantastic way for caring souls to express their desire to help others find stable, successful and rewarding careers.
Click here to learn more about Brookline College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program and start your new career as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant today!
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