According to US News & World Report’s 2016 Best Health Care Support Jobs list, occupational therapy assistant is the number one career choice for those looking to start their health care career.
Why is OTA the #1 Job?
The US News & World Report takes into account a few different criteria to determine what makes the list:
- Job Growth and Opportunity (60%)
- Salary (30%)
- Work-Life Balance (5%)
- Stress Level (5%)
Job Growth and Opportunity
Roughly 40 percent of the decision is weighted on growth and opportunity, or how fast the field growing and by how much.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) projects that OTA will grow by 43 percent—this is incredibly fast compared to other similar health care professions—and over 14,000 new jobs will be available by 2024. The occupational therapy assisting field is booming.
Expected OTA Salary
Every state is different when it comes to salary because costs of living differ based on where in the United States you live. For example, cost of living is different between Virginia and California, so expected salary may be different. To account for this difference, the BLS provides a salary range and an average expected salary.
According to the BLS, the median salary an occupational therapy assistant might earn is $57,000, with the highest-paid OTA earning a potential of $77,000. This makes OTA one of the best-paying health care support jobs.
Occupational therapy assistants have a relatively flexible career that allows for a good work-life balance. They can work in a variety of settings and typically work a traditional Monday-Friday workweek by appointment. As an OTA, you will know your schedule going into your week and know what treatments and clients you will need to schedule.
This also means you can leave your work at your office or clinic without bringing it home, giving you more quality time with your family.
Did you know?
In occupational therapy, a patient is referred to as the client.
OTA is considered to be a lower stress career compared to other health care careers. An occupational therapy assistant works one-on-one with a client according to the treatment plan designated by the occupational therapist, and treatments are based around improving quality of life instead of medical emergencies.
Combined with the attractive work-life balance, this makes OTA one of the least stressful health care jobs.
Becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant
To become an OTA, you will need to earn an associate’s degree from an accredited university and pass the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) licensure exam.
St. Catherine University’s online OTA program is the first of its kind to combine online coursework with hands-on skills labs in rehab gyms and fieldwork experiences. The OTA curriculum is designed to address all practice areas of occupational therapy, setting students up for success in their education and OTA career.
If you’re ready to get started or want to learn more about the online OTA program, contact an admissions advisor.