Is Occupational Therapy a Good Career? Here Are 10 Reasons the Answer is Yes.

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Is occupational therapy a good career? The answer is yes! A career as an OTA allows you to help people engage in activities they find meaningful and change lives. You can also make a comfortable salary as an OTA and enjoy life-work balance.

woman helping a child with a walker

A career as an OTA is a great way to step into the field of occupational therapy and change lives. So, is occupational therapy assistant a good career? Being an OTA makes for deeply rewarding, life-affirming work; however, helping people live better lives and getting to see the fruits of your labor aren’t the only reasons to consider this in-demand healthcare position. Here are 10 reasons to consider a career as an occupational therapy assistant.

1. You Can Work with a Variety of Patients and Conditions

Some people are fine doing the same thing day in and day out; others want variety in their career. As an OTA working in the field of occupational therapy, you may choose to specialize in a specific practice area, or you may wish to find work in a setting that allows you to see a variety of patients. Not to mention, OTAs can find work in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, community centers, outpatient rehabilitation centers, schools, as well as making home visits.

2. OTAs Enjoy Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

student sitting down with elderly woman

Another benefit of being an OTA is that while many work full time, it is possible to find part-time work. Additionally, because most OTAs are not “on-call,” they typically work on a set schedule, avoiding long, unpredictable hours at work.

3. You Can Make Good Money

Choosing a job based solely on potential earnings probably won’t lead you down the path to fulfillment; however, it is nice to know your efforts will be rewarded. So, is occupational therapy a good career? It certainly can help you earn a comfortable living. In fact, OTA frequently tops the lists of best-paying jobs requiring an associate degree. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), OTAs earn a mean annual wage of $63,560, as of May 2021. Of course, that’s just an average, and OTAs in states like California, Texas, and Virginia can earn considerably more.

4. OTAs Change Lives

One of the great joys of being an OTA is seeing the difference you make in someone’s life — and that’s not something you can say for many jobs. While it’s easy for many of us to take for granted the ability to do seemingly easy tasks, like opening a jar or getting dressed in the morning, for someone with a disability, regaining these abilities is life changing.

5. OTAs Treat People of All Ages

Occupational therapy assistants work with people of all ages. Some OTAs specialize in working with children and others in providing treatment to adults. It’s also possible to work in settings where occupational therapy is provided to both children and adults.

Working with adults you might:

  • Educate an adult with arthritis about energy conservation techniques to use when caring for their three children.
  • Support and guide an older adult recovering from hip surgery to use adaptive equipment to get dressed.

Working with children you might:

  • Practice throwing and catching a ball with both hands with a child with cerebral palsy so they can play with their siblings at home.
  • Demonstrate ways for a parent to engage with their child with autism using their interests to connect with them.
student assisting man with pill containers

6. Occupational Therapy Is a Creative Profession

Occupational therapists may be the ones who develop patient treatment plans, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be simply carrying out the OT’s orders. Every patient is different. Adapting to each patient’s ever-changing needs requires a degree of creativity. For example, you might devise a game to engage a child in therapy, or you may find a novel way of adapting a common household item for a patient who has poor grip strength. The sky is the limit when it comes to the work of OTAs.

7. OTAs Are in High Demand

The BLS predicts that the number of practicing OTAs in the U.S. will grow 25% between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the average for all other occupations, and that’s just over the short term.

woman helping elderly woman in kitchen

Is OTA a good career? Well, the OTA career outlook is bright. Learn more about the future of OTAs in this blog post.

8. You Can Graduate in as Few as 16 Months

With St. Kate’s Online Occupational Therapy Assistant program, you can graduate in as few as 16 months, depending on whether you have previous post-secondary education experience. Through our mixed curriculum of online coursework, monthly skills labs and real-world fieldwork, you’ll graduate with the skills and knowledge you need for professional practice. You’ll also graduate ready to sit for the certification exam, thanks to our NBCOT Prep Coaching Program.

9. You Can Work in a Variety of Settings

OTAs don’t just work in hospitals or rehab centers. Today, you will find OTAs in a variety of settings, including schools, community centers and individual homes.

The St. Kate’s OTA program will prepare you to be an entry-level clinician in any of these settings. Our students learn by building their skills in different practice areas in hands-on lab experiences and through fieldwork placements in a variety of settings. When students graduate from the St. Kates’s OTA program, they can choose the practice area they find the most interesting when looking for their first job in the field.

10. Every Day as an OTA Will Be Different

No two days are the same in occupational therapy. Every client is different, with unique challenges and goals. OTAs work with clients of all ages across many settings — from toddlers displaying signs of developmental delays and to working with adults diagnosed with overuse injuries or older adults with dementia.

I like to joke that if you get bored as an occupational therapy practitioner, it’s your fault. Your imagination is the limit, so you can’t get bored. And you can reinvent your career whenever you want to. If you have the energy and desire to make the world a better place, you can be an OTA.

-Kristen Maisano, St. Kate’s faculty member

Is OTA right for me?

A career as an OTA might be right for you if you are:

  • Patient
  • Attentive
  • Creative
  • Friendly
  • Team Oriented

It’s important to find the right when it comes to your career and working as an OTA is no different. One of the best aspects of OTA is the variety you will be exposed to in your career. Working as an occupational therapy assistant allows you to work with myriad patients, from young children to senior citizens to patients who have been disabled through illness or injury. Each patient you work with will have a different reason for working with an occupational therapy assistant, and each patient will require a unique approach and all the above qualities.

three OT students posing and smiling in class

Is occupational therapy a good career? The answer is yes!

If you think becoming an OTA could be right for you, fill out our online form or give us a call today to find out whether St. Kate’s Online OTA program could be your quickest path to a rewarding career in occupational therapy.

Are you ready to pursue this rewarding profession? Contact us and an admissions counselor will reach out to you to speak more about our Online OTA program.

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The Ultimate Guide to Occupational Therapy and OTA

Get answers to your questions about the field, about the OTA career path, and about St. Catherine University’s Online OTA program.

book with cover title: Occupational Therapy Assistant Explained