COTA Career Outlook

If you are creative and enjoy helping people, you might find your career niche as a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). To join the profession, you must have an associate degree from an accredited OTA program as well as pass the NBCOT® Exam for certification. St. Catherine University developed an NBCOT Prep Coaching Program that helps prepare you to sit for the exam after graduation.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) also offers certification programs for post-graduate OTAs in the following specialty areas:

  • Driving and community mobility
  • Environmental modification
  • Feeding, eating and swallowing
  • Low vision
  • School system
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No. 1 Best Health Care Support Job

On its list of Best Health Care Support Jobs, U.S. News and World Report ranked the position of occupational therapy assistant No. 1 for 2023. The list weighs the job outlook, stress level, salary, and work-life balance of health care support positions in America. Let’s take a look at the qualities that made OTA stand out and win the top-rated spot.

Job Outlook

Occupational therapy is currently one of the top healthcare fields in the United States, while the occupational therapy assistant (OTA) profession is in very high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates that employment for the profession will grow by 25% between 2021and 2031. For reference, the BLS expects overall U.S. employment to grow by just 4% over the same period.

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Through the St. Kate’s OTA Program, I get to do something that I know that I’m called to do. I’m going to get to be in a field that really is impactful in people’s lives and is foundational to helping people have a great quality of life.

Kristi Baker, Class of August 2021

OTA Salary Data

A career as an OTA can also provide a comfortable salary.  You can find the average OTA salary and hourly wage data, as of May 2021, via the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With an 80% online curriculum as well as skills labs and Level I Fieldwork sites in California, Minnesota, Texas, and Virginia, our online OTA program makes it possible for students in all 50 states to study to become OTAs.

Work Environment

In this highly diverse profession, occupational therapy assistants work full time in a wide variety of practice settings, from hospitals to schools to nursing homes. While most OTAs work in a hospital or nursing home setting, a growing number (one-third) are turning to private practice, while 10% choose in-home settings.

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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