If you’re planning on becoming an occupational therapy assistant (OTA), then it’s important to know about the OTA career outlook. Rest assured – the profession remains strong and is projected to increase in the years to come. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment for the OTA profession will grow by 29% between 2016 and 2026.
The OTA career outlook is bright. Considering that the population is aging and the workforce is expanding, the need for OTAs isn’t surprising.
According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060. This means more older adults will face conditions like joint pain, obesity, and heart disease, leaving occupational therapy assistants in high demand. OTAs will be responsible for making sure conditions like these are being treated in the right way so clients can improve their overall health, lifestyle, and quality of life.
You may think of an OTA working in a hospital or rehabilitation center, but these healthcare professionals can be found in many diverse work environments. In fact, current trends show that more OTAs are finding employment outside of hospitals – from nursing care facilities, to schools, to home healthcare agencies, to outpatient clinics – jobs exist everywhere. As the profession continues to evolve, OTAs will be tasked with responding to the changing needs of society.
“Occupational therapy is a field where you never get bored. We can do anything from work in the NICU right through to working in hospice centers. We can work in prisons, psych hospitals, acute care hospitals, and outpatient pediatric centers – your imagination is the limit. You can reinvent your career whenever you want to.”
– Kristen Masiano, Faculty
Consistently ranked near the top of the listings of best jobs in healthcare, according to U.S. News and World Report, aspiring OTAs everywhere can expect to achieve the following throughout their career.
As mentioned above, the job outlook for OTAs is excellent. Graduates entering the OTA profession will not only be able to cultivate their career based on personal interests, but they will also have excellent chances of securing jobs.
Just like anything, a career in OTA is what you make of it. While the career offers creativity, flexibility, and room to grow, one thing remains constant: the reward. Each day, you get to help people, bringing joy and difference into their lives.
While many high-paying jobs require a bachelor’s or master’s degree, OTAs can make a great salary with an associate degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states the median annual wage for occupational therapy assistants was $59,310 in 2017.
Now that you know what an OTA career has to offer, it’s time to explore the many ways our Online Occupational Therapy Assistant program at St. Catherine University can help you get there.
“Our faculty members and lab instructors are passionate about making sure they are mentoring and growing strong OTA students to be very successful in their career.” – Karl Anderson, Lab Faculty Coordinator
The professors at St. Catherine are seasoned experts. As a student in the online OTA program, you can expect them to be in constant communication with you. After all, the biggest part of their job is to ensure that you remain successful while staying on track throughout the program.
“Students have access to many different people throughout the online OTA program. From faculty members, to student success coaches to lab instructors – these individuals can help them structure their time and energy so that they’re using it efficiently.” – Kristen Masiano, Faculty Member
First, you should know that becoming an OTA takes more than a degree – it requires certification. But don’t worry, our online OTA program offers an NBCOT Prep Coaching Program, beginning in third semester. Here’s what you can expect:
To kick off the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Prep Coaching Program, you will be given a 200 question practice exam during your Practice Models/Professional Issues II course (semester 3). Your results will determine where you will need the most coaching. A seven-week study plan will be created based on your results.
Your study plan will include group sessions with fellow classmates and one-on-ones with a coach. Your coach will be an experienced licensed OT practitioner and will help you each step of the way.
Here at St. Catherine University, it is our goal to have 85% or more of our graduates successfully pass the NBCOT exam.
Another resource that can help you succeed after graduation is our Career Development service. This can help you finesse your resume and cover letter, find the right job or internship, practice salary negotiation, generate the best letters of recommendation, practice interviewing skills, and more.
As the healthcare industry continues to rise, the need for more certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs) will certainly follow suit. The question is, are you ready to pursue the opportunity?
As you plan to move forward with your OTA education, remember: OTA is a field with excellent career growth, well paying salaries, large job opportunities, high job satisfaction and most importantly, one that helps people regain their ability to perform activities required for daily life and work.
If you’re interested in learning more about St. Kate’s Online Occupational Therapy Assistant program, contact an admissions counselor today.