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An Occupational Therapist is a professional who diagnoses and prescribes treatments. In contrast, an Occupational Therapist Assistant works under an Occupational Therapist and assists with rehabilitative activities for patients with mental disorders, developmental disorders, physical disorders, emotional disorders, or someone who is recovering from an injury and finds it challenging to perform the daily life activities.
They work directly with patients of all age groups. Occupational therapists give full dedication to making patients’ lives better and making themselves dependent on specially designed therapeutic and self-care activities. They also prepare adaptive equipment that supports patient activities during treatment.
How OT Aides is Different From An Occupational Therapy Assistant
People often get confused between OTAs (occupational Therapy Assistant) and OT Aides. Please note that Occupational Therapist assistants are different from Occupational Therapy Aides. OT aides do not assist the patients with exercise and treatment like OTA. Also referred to as “service extenders,” OT aides assist OT and OTA with performing specially delegated tasks.
How to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant: Education, Training, and Certification
Other than high school Diplomas, other additional and licensing requirements are a must.
Earn an Associate Degree:
Two years of associate’s degree is the minimum requirement for becoming the Occupational Therapist Assistant. An associate’s degree must be from a program accredited by AOTA (American Occupation Therapy Association) of full-time study. During the course, they learn about the human body function and movement.
License and Certification:
License and certification go with different names in different cities. Some call it a license; some call it certification; some call it registration, authorization, etc. Regardless of the name, an individual must hold an approved graduate program accredited by ACOTE (The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education) and pass the COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant) exam conducted by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Some employers may want you to have an additional certificate of CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).
The training must be of eight weeks duration under a Licensed Occupational Therapy. Mostly, the school that provides an associate degree has the training period included, but if not so, students have to arrange for the training program separately. The training duration may vary, so you must check your state’s requirements for the training.
Roles and Responsibilities of an Occupational Therapist Assistant
- With an occupational therapist, they help patients recover, develop, and improve the patient’s skill needed for daily life activities.
- They are also directly involved in providing therapy to the patients.
- They develop and carry out the treatment plan for patients, along with the collaboration of occupational therapists.
- An occupational therapist assistant’s primary responsibility is to document therapeutic activities and details of patients’ progress.
- Monitor the patient activities and ensure that they are doing it correctly.
- They are also responsible for documenting patients’ weekly progress in pertinent records.
Required skills and competencies to become an Occupational Therapist Assistant.
Your skills and competencies contribute to your successful career as an OTA. These are equally important as education and training. These skills may be natural, through life expense, or work experience.
- Compassion: You have to be strong enough to provide emotional and physical support.
- Interpersonal skill: You have to interact with the patient, team members, patients’ families, doctors, healthcare professionals, and physicians.
- Physical strength: Physical strength of the OTA can’t get ignored. OTA must be able to help the patient stand, stoop, make him walk, and he should be able to stand for the major part of the day.
- Respect for Privacy: Patient confidentiality and privacy of medical records.
- Attentive: This is a must to be able to follow treatment plans as per OT instructions.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Jobs: Work Environment
The working environment for an occupational therapist is the offices of Occupational therapists, speech pathologists, physical therapists, audiologists, and wherever the work demands to be like a patient home, school, or other different settings. Some work specifically for schools, health care agencies, hospitals, or nursing care facilities. The jobs in these fields are typically full time, occasionally working on the weekends as well.
Occupational therapy assistant salary: How much do they earn?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, an occupational therapist assistant’s median annual salary is USD 58,000.
Factors That Affect The Earning Of Occupational Therapist Assistants
Several factors affect the annual income of the Occupational Therapist Assistant.
- The professional and academic qualification.
- Certificates and licenses that an individual holds.
- Place of work where an Occupational Therapist is hired (Country or state, geographical location, educational status, occupational strain variables, etc.).
Quick Job Outlook Of an OTA
The particular field has outstanding job opportunities, and employment is expected to grow significantly. It is termed as the “Bright Outlook” occupation by the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics.
Looking forward to making your career as an OTA. Occupational Therapy Assistant Career is quite satisfying and demands a continuous upgrade of skills and knowledge. Moreover, Occupational Therapy Assistant jobs are expected to see a significant boost in the coming years, according to the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics reports. About Occupational Therapy assistant salary, the more the skill and experience, the higher the salary.