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Occupational Therapist Assistant Schools and Training Programs

Improve the quality of life of your patients as you help rehabilitate those with physical, mental, or developmental impairments by pursuing a job as an occupational therapy assistant, or occupational therapist assistant (OTA).

Occupational Therapy Assistant Careers

Working side-by-side with an occupational therapist, the assistant helps clients with rehabilitation exercises and other therapy in accordance with a treatment plan. These may include stretches or re-teaching normal body movements such as walking. Occupational therapy assistants help develop treatment plans for patients and help to monitor their patients' activities to ensure they are performed correctly. They keep track of the client's progress and document billing.

An occupational therapist aide differs slightly in that an aide handles more clerical tasks such as scheduling appointments, answering the phone, preparing materials, and assembling equipment.

An OTA's working conditions can vary depending on whether they work full- or part-time, and the type of institution in which they work. They will often have to work evenings and weekends to accommodate their patients' schedules. In addition, they need to be relatively strong in order to physically assist patients.

Training to Become an Occupational Therapist Assistant

According to bls.gov, to become an occupational therapy assistant, most candidates must earn an associate degree in the field. There were about 300 accredited OTA programs in 2010, most of them at community colleges and technical schools (bls.gov). Such programs introduce basic anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology, and most require at least 16 weeks of supervised field work prior to graduation. Most states also require that OTAs be licensed, registered or certified.

COTA Certification

Certification is voluntary in most states, and carried out by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Those who pass its national certifying exam are awarded the title Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. This meets the requirement for regulation in some states; other states have their own licensing exam.

Occupational therapist aides usually receive most of their training on the job. They tend to make less money than assistants.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Job Outlook

Jobs for occupational therapist assistants are expected to grow much faster than the national average: 41 percent from 2010 to 2020 (bls.gov, 2011). The reasons for this growth include a growing elderly population that requires therapeutic services; advances in medicine that allow a greater number of trauma patients to survive, who then need therapy; and, overall, greater demand for occupational therapy services that results in spillover to assistants and aides.

Salary for Occupational Therapist Assistants and Aides

Occupational therapy assistants made an average of $51,010 per year in 2010, and occupational therapy aides made an average of $27,430 a year. With occupational therapy training and a helping personality, you could be on your way to a good career in the vibrant healthcare industry.

Additional Information for Individuals Seeking to Enroll in OTA Schools Found on Health-Care-Careers.org
Physical Therapy Assistant Degrees
Occupational Therapy Assistant Career Information

Additional Resources for Occupational Therapy Assistant Professionals:
American Occupational Therapy Association
Bureau of Labor Statistics Data for Occupational Therapist Assistants and Aides

Campus and Online Occupational Therapy Schools

 
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Grand Canyon University

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Locations:
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Quick Summary: There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

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Locations:
  • Grayslake
Programs:
  • M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Quick Summary: Pursue a certificate, master, or doctorate degree in Psychology at The Chicago School for Professional Psychology

Capella University

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Ashworth College

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Liberty University

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Intercoast Colleges

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Northcentral University

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Bradley University

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Brightwood College

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Southern California Health Institute

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Ohio Christian University

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California University of Pennsylvania

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Post University Online

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Argosy University

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Fremont College

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Stratford Career Institute

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National Holistic Institute

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Mayfield College

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