When you are trying to decide what career path to pursue, there are quite a few questions you must ask yourself to ensure you are well-prepared for said career. It’s important to research any field you are considering so you don’t end up struggling to make ends meet, unsatisfied with your job, or exhausted from a career that doesn’t fit into your life. Checking out career options for certified OTA professionals is a natural part of the process.
Some of these questions to ask include:
- What is the education required to start this career? Do I need an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or something even more advanced? Am I willing to spend that time in college to earn that online OTA degree?
- What is the job outlook for this career? Will I be able to find a job in this field after I earn my degree?
- What is the job satisfaction in this career? Do people leave this field quickly, or are they satisfied?
- What settings can I work in in this field? Will I be able to work in different places, or will I have to stick to a certain setting for the duration of my career?
If you are ready to get started on your career quickly, you may not want to stay in school for four, six, or eight years. Some fields, such as psychiatry, require a master’s degree or higher to practice. Others, such as the occupational therapy field, allow you to work as a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) in less than two years.
While you may love the idea of a certain field, it may be incredibly difficult to find a job in that field. You can easily find the career outlook for many jobs through the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You will want to find a position that is growing rapidly, such as a COTA, which is expected to grow 41 percent by 2022, as opposed to a field that is shrinking or remaining stagnant. You will also want to consider the pay for these positions so you don’t end up living paycheck-to-paycheck.
You don’t want to end up in a field that leaves you feeling like you are wasting your time or are just plain exhausted from. Studies are done on a yearly basis about the fields that are the least stressful (which includes occupational therapy,) and you can read first-hand accounts of job satisfaction through blogs and online forums. You can also find a local professional in the field you are considering and interview or even job shadow him or her.
A high-energy job may be perfect for you in the first years of your career, but you may find that you want something a little different as you grow and develop your career. You will want to consider all options available for professionals in the fields you are considering.
If you are considering a career as an occupational therapy assistant, there are many career options for certified OTA.
While you may feel that a certain job is not the right fit for you, you’ll find that working as a COTA allows you to work in many different environments. This means that as your interests grow, you can stay in the same field and maintain a level of high job satisfaction.
- School System. If you want to work with children and prefer working school-year hours (around 8 am to 4 pm, depending on the school district,) you may want to work in a school system. Working as a COTA in a school system allows you to work with children of various ages. You may work with children who struggle with handwriting or need help with fine motor skills, or you may work with children with autism and other disabilities.
- Geriatric Care. If you prefer working with elderly patients, you may want to work as a certified occupational therapy assistant in geriatric care. COTAs work with geriatric patients to help them maintain a level of independence. You may teach them how to cook meals, a new daily grooming routine, or cleaning their homes. You may also work with patients to help them in the use of a wheelchair or walker and to maintain mobility.
- Home Health. By working as a home health COTA, you are able to help your patient adapt to their home with a few alterations. You will visit your patient at his or her home and help them develop new techniques to do everyday tasks, including cooking, cleaning, getting dressed, and moving around the home.
- Mental Health Facilities. You may want to work in a mental health facility, where you will treat a variety of patients of many different ages. You may find yourself working with a patient to help teach them essential job skills, or working on a routine that allows for emotional control and independence.
With so many different career options for Certified OTA professionals, occupational therapy assistants have many great opportunities ahead of them. Want to learn more? Contact an advisor about earning your OTA degree from St. Catherine University.