Returning to work after an accident, surgery, or challenging life event is a lot of …. well, work. Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) know that helping someone return to work depends on a proven, people-first process. During their two-year occupational therapy assistant education, students in an OTA degree program learn and practice ways to guide recovering workers back to the jobs they love.
An OTA Career is Unique
As an occupational therapy practitioner, OTAs must have a comprehensive combination of knowledge, skills, and abilities because their clients’ satisfactory work performance depends on optimal physiological, biomechanical, cognitive, and psychosocial functions.
OTAs know that someone can appear to be physically able to return to work yet not be prepared emotionally or mentally to meet all the demands of the position. OTAs respond from a whole-person perspective and help ensure a person’s abilities are in alignment with an employer’s expectations.
What Occupational Therapy Assistant Education Covers
Early in the degree program, OTA students learn medical terminology, how to analyze performance, and explore therapeutic interventions. Other OTA coursework often examines topics in rehabilitation, kinesiology, occupation, and the science of exercise.
In OTA fieldwork sessions that begin as soon as possible, students work with real patients in diverse health care settings: rehabilitation centers, hospitals, schools, and various levels of assisted care facilities.
Your OTA Career
When you’re in an OTA career, one of the key return-to-work initiatives you’ll be doing is carrying out a client’s transitional work program. Transitional work plans use real-life work tasks and the actual work-site as a form of rehabilitation. The plan is developed collaboratively with the employer and the affected worker: the goal is for a return-to-work scenario in which both sides are satisfied.
After evaluating the individual’s job requirements and the person’s functional abilities, the occupational therapy team helps determine which tasks the individual can safely perform at work.
Examples of How OTAs Help Returning Employees
The OTA provides options and encouragement while also monitoring a person’s progress. The therapy plan may include accommodating reduced function through adjustments in the work-site, or by introducing new approaches or adaptive technology:
A Healthy Outlook for OTA Careers
Those who’ve entered an OTA career like what they do because they can directly see the difference they make in people’s lives. They love to help others succeed.
A 2020 report in U.S. News and World Report says being an OTA is one of the “top 25 health care support jobs” out there and also in the “100 Best Jobs” list. The profession scores well in annual salary, long-term career outlook, and work-life balance.
The CUKC Occupational Therapy Assistant Education
When you like being part of the team that helps people return to work that gives them personal and professional satisfaction, consider the two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree Program at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC).
Cleveland University-Kansas City is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas. Occupational therapy assistant education at CUKC includes 16 core courses along with the four-to-five months of required fieldwork experience. The OTA program classes start in spring, summer, and fall each year.
The OTA program at CUKC:
If you’ve read this far, an OTA career probably is a good fit for you. Get connected to an advisor now or download the free CUKC eBook today: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.