You might be familiar with the basic functions of an occupational therapist's job, but what about an occupational therapy assistant (OTA)? Many people are not even aware that this important role exists, yet OTA positions are on the rise across the country. An OTA works with an OT to treat patients whose abilities to perform work and daily living activities are compromised by an injury, illness, or disability. Could a career as an OTA be right for you?
Below we will discuss some details about OTA jobs:
- Diverse patients. As an OTA, you can work with patients in all phases of life. You might work with elderly patients who are dealing with the pains that accompany growing older. Or, you might treat pediatric patients who need assistance with various childhood disabilities. Occupational therapy is not limited to a particular age group.
- Workplace variety. Contrary to popular belief, this type of therapy doesn't only occur in hospitals. While some OTAs do treat patients in hospitals, there are others who work in a variety of different settings, including: schools, long-term care facilities, academia, home health care, and outpatient clinics.
- Competitive salary. The median salary for an OTA is $55,000 annually. However, many of the top OTAs make more than $70,000 a year. Thus, there is room for growth-- and competitive pay-- in the OTA field.
- Becoming an OTA doesn't take long. OTA positions require an associate degree from an accredited program. Typically, these degrees are obtained at community colleges or technical schools. Often, they require class work as well as clinical fieldwork. While some of these programs are two years long, many schools offer accelerated 16-month programs and online coursework.
- Job security. It's often said that there is always job security in the healthcare field, and occupational therapy is no different. In fact, OTA roles are growing faster than the national average.
- Low stress. Of course, every career has its stressful times. However, some careers are notoriously stressful-- so much so that employee quality of life is sacrificed. There's good news for OTAs though: Career Cast recently listed occupational therapists as one of the top 10 least stressful jobs. So, you can make a difference in patients' lives without compromising your own mental health.
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