Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant

Discover everything you'll need to know to enter a popular career field.

The Basics

What you'll do: You'll work with patients to follow a rehabilitation plan developed under the supervision of occupational therapists. Duties may include teaching injured patients to stretch and strengthen muscles, skill developmentally disabled patients to help them work successfully in society,  record patient improvements for the occupational therapist to review.

Where you'll work: Hospitals, occupational therapists' offices and residential care facilities, home health care agencies, family services, government agencies

Degree you'll need to practice: Associate's degree or 1-year certificate program

Median annual salary: $48,940*

Occupational Therapy Assistant Work Environment

find occupational therapy assistant training

An occupational therapy assistant job will provide you with the opportunity to work in a number of different environments.

The chart below shows the relative distribution of the types of environments where occupational therapist assistants generally work:

ota chart

Education and Training

To qualify for a position as an occupational therapy assistant, students complete two years of study, including the following courses:

  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Psychology
  • Rehabilitation Theory
  • Gerontology

You'll also complete supervised fieldwork in clinics or community organizations to gain hands-on experience before completing your program.

Getting Started as an Occupational Therapy Assistant

In most states, occupational therapy assistants need to pass national certification exams before they can practice. Find out what the occupational therapist licensing requirements are in your state, and find an accredited occupational therapy assistant school that will help you take the first steps toward this exciting career.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Occupational Therapy Assistant and Aides.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Occupational Therapy Resources

Did You Know?

  • The first occupational therapists, who worked to rehabilitate soldiers after World War I, were known as "reconstructive aides."
  • According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, over 30 percent of occupational therapists and their assistants work with children.