What does an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) do?
An occupational therapy assistant 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. Most states also require a license to practice. One can benefit by doing volunteer work in a healthcare environment to get into a community college or technical school. You should study courses in psychology, biology and pediatric health. One must complete at least 16 weeks of fieldwork to gain practical work experience.
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 43 percent growth in 2012-2022 in this career field due, in part, to the baby boom and the aging population.