You may have previously heard the terms “allied health” or “pre-allied health” used in conversation. Sounds interesting, you might think, but what is allied health? The term allied health applies to healthcare professionals who provide diagnostic, technical, therapeutic, and patient-care services vital to the overall healthcare spectrum. Those who earn the 2-year OTA degree are some of those professionals.
College students in accredited allied health programs receive the skills and training needed to start careers that help others live healthier lives. They’re involved in patient care or technical areas (or both), and they often work collaboratively with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare specialists.
In 2022, about 60% of the U.S. healthcare workforce is in allied health. Each allied health professional has a unique role in the healthcare economy – and this segment is growing 16% per year!
Some programs focus on careers related to preventing diseases or helping people recover from injuries. Other programs help individuals compensate for physical, cognitive, psychological, and social challenges.
If you’re interested in pursuing an allied health career, you’ll want one that has a great future and competitive pay. Where to start when exploring allied healthcare positions?
Here’s one well worth considering:
Students can complete the OTA degree in about two years through an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program. This concentrated degree program is decidedly hands-on, using traditional classes, labs, group discussions, guest speakers, and guided real-world instruction.
Two things to know about those earning the OTA degree:
Checklist for those who want to know if they’d do well in the OTA profession:
Occupational therapy assistants like what they do. For personal insights from real-world OTAs, check out why Elizabeth, Sophie, and Taylor decided to join the occupational therapy assistant profession.
The salaries for OTAs are very competitive. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report says demand for OTAs is more than double the average for all occupations. The BLS projects a 36% growth in OTA demand from 2021 to 2030
In addition, OTAs are a top-10 healthcare support job for 2022, according to the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. OTAs rank #30 in the survey’s “100 best jobs” list.
If you are considering an allied health program, you may need to do some preliminary study in subjects related to “pre-allied health.”
Some high schools offer hands-on pre-allied health training. These training courses give students a glimpse into their future careers. If your high school didn’t provide pre-allied health classes, foundational college science courses at your local college might be available.
Some healthcare degree-focused universities offer online courses that could give you a great start you your healthcare career.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), a nonprofit, private, chiropractic and health sciences university in Overland Park, Kansas, offers the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S. degree) in Occupational Therapy Assistant. Most students complete the OTA program in two years, including the required multi-month fieldwork experiences. (To be connected with someone to answer your OTA degree questions, click here.)
Confidence in our OTA program comes from knowing ours was designed with insight from practicing occupational therapy professionals and employer organizations. Our program’s goal is to prepare you to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
The coursework is presented in eight-week segments to immerse students in their class subjects. Classes start in the spring and fall of each year.
You’ll find in-depth information about the 2-year OTA degree, plus what to look for in an OTA program, in this free eBook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.