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Occupational Therapy Assistant

Career data updated last on 10/10/2014
Occupational Therapy Assistant Certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs) work under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist (OTR). They help individuals who are learning to handle the occupations of daily living, such as dressing, eating or maintaining their home, but who are disabled because of age, developmental disabilities, injury or illness. COTAs help occupational therapists carry out treatment plans for individuals and groups.
Salary $25.50/hr- $55,250 annually
Significant Points Employment of occupational therapist assistants and aides is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2012.
Work Environment Occupational therapy assistants work in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, schools and home health care. The hours and days that occupational therapist assistants work vary with the facility and with whether they are full- or part-time employees. Many outpatient therapy offices and clinics have evening and weekend hours, to help coincide with patients’ personal schedules.
High School Prep A high school diploma or equivalent is required; courses in mathematics, biology, health, sociology and psychology are recommended. An ACT Test score at 43 or higher and First Aid certification are also recommended. Students can increase their chances of admission into OTA programs by performing volunteer work in nursing care facilities, occupational or physical therapists’ offices, or other healthcare settings.
Academic Requirements An associate degree or a certificate from an accredited community college or technical school is generally required to qualify for occupational therapist assistant jobs. The first year of study typically involves an introduction to healthcare, basic medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology. In the second year, courses are more rigorous and usually include occupational therapist courses in areas such as mental health, adult physical disabilities, gerontology, and pediatrics. Students also must complete 16 weeks of supervised fieldwork in a clinic or community setting. Graduates of these programs must also pass a national certification examination given by the The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy or the American Occupational Therapy Certification Board. A license for OTAs is not required in Colorado.


Pueblo Community College-Pueblo Campus
Associate Degree Associate

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