Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant
Discover everything you'll need to know to enter a popular career field.
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: $47,490*
Cities with high employment levels: Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Dallas, Cleveland, St. Louis
Occupational Therapy Assistant Work Environment
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:
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
- Rehabilitation Theory
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 wage data published March 27, 2012; 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
- Job Description Learn what occupational therapy jobs are like.
- Choosing a School What to look for in an occupational therapy school.
- Outlook for Occupational Therapy Jobs Get occupational therapy industry information.
- Licensing Info Learn the requirements for licensure.
- Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant Job description, salary info and more.
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.