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, as the population is aging and the workforce is expanding.
Consistently ranked near the top of the listings of best jobs in healthcare support, according to U.S. News and World Report, the OTA career outlook is bright. Aspiring OTAs everywhere can expect job security, expanding job opportunities, a respectable salary, high job satisfaction and an expedited entry into healthcare.
1. Job Security
With employment for the OTA profession expected to grow by 34% between 2020 and 2030, the job outlook for OTAs is excellent. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there to be about 8,800 openings annually over the decade. With this in mind, 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 and continuing to advance within a rapidly growing field.
This job security is partly due to the high demand for OTAs as the population ages. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to more than double from 52 million in 2018 to over 95 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 maintain and improve their overall health, lifestyle, and quality of life.
2. Expanding Job Opportunities
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 – OTA jobs exist everywhere. As the profession continues to evolve, OTAs will be tasked with responding to the changing needs of society.
When it comes to the work environment, your imagination is the limit. You can choose to work in inpatient or outpatient settings, and you can reinvent your career at any time you would like to. These diverse job opportunities give you the flexibility to take your OTA career in whichever direction you choose.
3. Respectable Salary
A career as an OTA also comes with a respectable salary. 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 $61,730 in 2021.
With this salary and the two-year time frame for most programs, it is clear that becoming an OTA is a steady investment and rewarding career choice for the future.
4. High Job Satisfaction
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.
Often, this not only has a positive effect on your patients, but also on you as the therapist. You get to watch people improve their ability to perform daily activities and hopefully regain their independence. This provides them with a newfound sense of hope, which you played a part in.
With that, you can go to bed knowing you joined a fulfilling and rewarding career, one that betters the lives of others as well as your own.
5. Expedited Entry Into Healthcare
The career outlook for OTAs is also bright because of the time it takes to get into the field. In terms of education, a career as an OTA requires only an associate degree, whereas most other healthcare careers require at least four years of study before entering the field. Additionally, by choosing St. Kate’s for your OTA education you can graduate in as little as 16 months. Our blended curriculum also allows our students a level of flexibility in completing their education, with 80% of the program comprised of online learning and 20% in-person labs and fieldwork.
In less than two years, you’ll be ready to enter this growing field. This timeline puts your foot in the door that much quicker while also qualifying you for an incredibly rewarding career.
A Fruitful Career in OTA Awaits You
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 job security, well-paying salaries, large job opportunities and high job satisfaction.
Now that you know about the excellent OTA career outlook, it’s time to explore the many ways our Online Occupational Therapy Assistant program at St. Catherine University can help you get there. If you’re interested in learning more about the program, contact an admissions counselor today.