What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

A career as an occupational therapy assistant lets you make a difference in a high-demand, high-impact field.

An Occupational Therapy Assistant Is…

As an occupational therapy assistant, you will work under the guidance of a registered occupational therapist to carry out treatment plans that help your clients stay independent and return to living fulfilling lives. To better understand the role of an OTA, it may help to also understand the practice and goals of the occupational therapy field.

What’s to Love about OTA?

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy offers treatment to people with various limitations. From working with an elderly woman who needs to adjust to the physical limitations of arthritis to helping a student with autism adapt to a classroom setting, occupational therapy helps clients of all ages overcome physical, mental, and emotional challenges.

The ultimate goal of occupational therapy is to help clients live more satisfying lives.

Through various treatments and adaptations, your clients will learn to perform everyday tasks independently, including dressing, cooking, pursuing their hobbies, and more.

Career Options of an OTA

As a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA), you can work in a variety of health care settings, such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Therapist offices
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools
  • Client’s homes or work places

Occupational Therapy versus Physical Therapy

What’s the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy?

Although OTAs and physical therapists (PTs) or physical therapy assistants (PTAs) may work with similar clients, the focus of treatments is different.

A physical therapist will work with a client to treat and improve a physical impairment or disability. For example, a client may be given muscle exercises to improve strength and flexibility.

As an OTA, you will work with clients to help them function in a way that is satisfactory to them by addressing underlying problems or modifying the task or environment. For instance, you might help a client with arthritis use specially adapted equipment to continue to drive, handle household chores, or take part in a favorite hobby.

What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

This OTA is about to demonstrate to a client how to move heavy objects around the office without adding further injury.

Demand for COTAs

Driven in part by an aging population and a greater number of people living with chronic disabilities, occupational therapy services are in high demand. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 41 percent growth in the number of OTAs by 2022.

With St. Catherine University’s online OTA program, you can earn your degree in as few as 16 months. This means you can start your OTA career and begin earning sooner.

Get started on your future as an occupational therapy assistant by speaking to an admissions advisor today about the OTA program.

What does an OTA do?

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