Even if you’re not sure what an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) does, you might have heard about the occupational therapy assistant salary range. Still, don’t think the occupational therapy assistant salary is the only reason to consider an OTA career. Getting an OTA degree is considered a top career option because of what OTAs can do to help people overcome developmental, emotional, sensory, and physical challenges.
OTA Salary Comes with Big Responsibilities
The occupational therapy assistant salary is high, and that’s because OTAs have the day-to-day responsibility of carrying out the details of the OT plan. In occupational therapy, the plan helps people achieve daily living goals despite developmental, emotional, physical and other challenges.
The therapy plan’s success requires knowing the client’s abilities and also keeping the client’s goals in mind – sometimes adjustments or adaptations need to be introduced. For an OTA, the key is establishing a trusting provider-client relationship. Achieving this kind of relationship takes someone who is part coach, part teacher, and has a full-time talent for encouragement.
OTA Salary: One of Many Benefits
In a therapy environment, the team of an occupational therapist (OT) and an OTA can accomplish tremendous goals for people of all ages and with all types of disorders, diseases, and circumstances. As an OTA, you could
• Help a grade-schooler in a wheelchair feel confident attending school and interacting with friends
• Assist a young adult injured in a car accident to resume life’s activities
• Show a senior adult with limited physical mobility how to continue to live independently.
Results are Behind Today’s OTA Salary
Of course, being able to help so many segments of the population contributes to the demand for OTAs, which then drives the compensation employers of OTAs offer. Another factor affecting occupational therapy assistant salary is an increased recognition for the benefits of occupational therapy.
Research is showing that an early introduction to occupational therapy can increase the likelihood of a client’s success. For children who have developmental delays or a physical or mental condition, early occupational therapy helps improve their motor, cognitive, sensory processing, communication, and play skills.
OT principles and strategies are also proving to make healthcare more efficient and affordable.
One case in point is a 2016 study showing higher hospital spending on occupational therapy as the only spending category where additional expenditures led to lower readmission rates for patients recovering from heart failure, heart attacks, and pneumonia. The study noted that “occupational therapy places a unique and immediate focus on patients’ functional and social needs.”
Advantages Go Beyond the OTA Salary
OTAs are involved in various workplace settings. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), you’ll find OTAs working at hospitals, schools, outpatient centers, in the home, and senior care/assisted living facilities.
Knowing how to apply OT principles, theories, and activities for widely different client segments requires a special combination of qualities:
• High levels of skill development
• Ability to be creative in therapy applications
• Possess patience, determination, and a dedication to excellent patient care.
Not everyone has the capacity to be an OTA, so a high occupational therapy assistant salary for those who do shouldn’t be a surprise.
OTA Salary: Evaluating the Journey
When comparing the OTA educational path to other healthcare support positions, the value of becoming an OTA is attractive. Those who are genuinely drawn to an OTA’s high-level of client care can complete their Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) degree in as little as two years, which includes the mandatory fieldwork education.
In looking at the occupational therapy assistant salary range, OTA compensation compares favorably to some positions requiring four-year college degrees, and OTAs can earn as much as 40% more than other healthcare support positions, such as a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) or a medical assistant.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at CUKC
Cleveland University-Kansas City is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas that offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant.
Components of our OTA degree program include professional OTA coursework delivered through classes and group learning, and practicing your OTA skill set on-campus in the simulated living quarters lab. Finally, the two-year degree plan includes the four-to-five months of required fieldwork experience that ensures you’re ready for the OTA workforce.
• Learn to apply knowledge, creativity, empathy and encouragement skills in a rewarding OTA career
• Complete the Occupational Therapy Assistant degree (A.A.S.) in as little as two years
• Prepare to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)
• Receive guaranteed admission for eligible students who complete all required prerequisite coursework at CUKC
• Choose from three class starts per year: spring, summer, and fall.
Connect with an advisor now to learn more about the OTA degree, or click here for a free ebook: Your Complete Guide to An Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.