What does a Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) do?
|Citation||Retrieved in 2017 from BLS.org|
An occupational therapy assistant (OTA) is directly involved in giving therapy to people needing to improve or recover skills needed for day to day living after an illness or injury. They work under the supervision of occupational therapist. He or she assists patients in their treatments, like, stretching and other therapeutic activities.
How to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant
An occupational therapy assistant needs an associate’s degree from an accredited therapy assistant program. You can find these on the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) website. These OTA programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
OTA programs are usually 2 years in length and offered at technical or community colleges. Coursework includes psychology, biological sciences, and pediatric health and one must complete at least 16 weeks of fieldwork to gain practical work experience. Schools usually set this up for you during your program studies.
In addition one must pass a board certification exam to practice and become licensed in the state you reside in or plan to work in. The National Board for Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) offers the certification exam, however you should check with your states office to see what requirements they have to become licensed. Many schools have this information, but each states varies slightly.
Job Description of an Occupational Therapy Assistant
An occupational therapy assistant works with occupational therapists in developing and implementing treatments for patients who are recovering from an illness or injury. They assist them with improving their skills that are needed in their daily routines, such as, balance, standing or sitting, stretching and other forms of exercise.
They teach patients how to use certain equipment that may help them improve their mobility or manage more easily. They record the patient’s developments and provide the information to the occupational therapist. He or she helps children that have developmental challenges or disabilities to achieve socialization and coordination skills through therapeutic play activities.
The occupational therapy assistant educates patients in how to safely maneuver in or out of bed or a wheelchair. An important part of this job is to motivate and encourage patients to overcome their challenges. Some work may also include routine clerical work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a faster than average growth in this career field due in part to the baby boom and the aging population.