UPDATED MARCH 1, 2021
Healthcare is rapidly evolving from compartmentalized treatments to collaborative, coordinated care. Helping lead the way to better healthcare outcomes for everyone are occupational therapy professionals like occupational therapists, and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs). Many OTAs enter the healthcare field after completing a two-year occupational therapy assistant program.
The Unique Role of OT in Collaborative Healthcare
According to the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), occupational therapy is unique for its holistic approach to improving health outcomes. The profession focuses on wellness activities, managing disease, improving function, and supporting independent living.
OTA education explores the concepts of health and wellness from many different perspectives. Graduates of occupational therapy assistant programs will often find themselves working jointly with physical therapists, speech therapists, mental health counselors, and other specialists. OTAs are often the ones who know what clients desire to do and their capabilities to achieve them.
Why an Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is Right for You
More than 81% of OTAs earn the Associate of Applied Science degree in OTA – a two-year college degree. Those who find an OTA career satisfying say they love interacting directly with people. OTAs enjoy helping people accomplish activities of daily living, such as navigating stairs or reaching up to a cabinet – actions and routines most people don’t think about. Any therapy that’s put in place is structured, goal-oriented, and personalized to the client’s goals and capabilities.
Clients may be:
(For a closer look at those the profession serves, read this blog about how OTAs change lives.)
OTA Career’s Long-term Outlook
Because of their comprehensive skills, Occupational therapy professionals are in-demand by schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, assisted living and long-term care facilities, and mental health clinics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in August 2020 estimates the need for OTAs will grow by 33% from 2019 to 2029.
OTAs can advance their careers in client care by adding new specialization areas, attending professional training workshops, or earning continuing education credits. The salary range for OTAs reflects their versatility, too. An average salary for experienced OTAs is $53,684 to $65,465, according to Salary.com.
According to the BLS, new OTA graduates average about $46,000 per year, with that salary rising in high-demand states such as California, Florida, Texas, and North Carolina.
The 2-Year Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at CUKC
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas. The two-year Occupational Therapy Assistant program at CUKC results in an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S. degree).
Our two-year curriculum includes prerequisite and professional courses and four-to-five months of required fieldwork experience. After completion, CUKC graduates are eligible to sit for the national certifying exam and become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Meeting the COTA requirements assures employers the occupational therapy assistant program chosen meets industry expectations. At CUKC, the OTA program offers.
Highlights of our OTA program include:
The occupational therapy assistant is essential to the role of delivering better health and wellness. Contact an academic advisor now, and download the free CUKC eBook today: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.