Pardon the pun, but it’s easy to “myth out” on a fantastic career opportunity if you miss out on some essential facts. Go beyond any myths heard about occupational therapy, and you’ll see why an occupational therapy assistant program is a worthwhile decision.
Myth 1: “An occupational therapy assistant (OTA) degree means I only work with those recovering from injuries.”
Fact 1: “Occupational” actually is a professional term referring to the activities and actions people do to “occupy” their time in a typical day, such as preparing a meal without help or functioning well in social settings.
An OTA/Occupational Therapist (OT) team can help anyone of any age. Occupational therapy professions have a diverse set of skills. They learn to help people overcome developmental, emotional, sensory, social, or physical challenges.
A few examples:
Myth 2: “OTA jobs are less important than other healthcare support jobs.”
Fact 2: You may not know much about occupational therapy practitioners – especially OTAs –because much of what they do happens behind the scenes. Often, the difference OT professionals like OTAs make in someone’s quality of life is only evident to the client and their family or caregivers.
An OTA degree translates into a people-first career that is rewarding personally and professionally. OTAs are on the front line of care, carrying out the exercises, techniques, and methods to succeed their clients.
A study by health policy researchers published in Medical Care Research says, “occupational therapy is the only spending category where additional funds made a statistically significant difference in lower readmission rates. The study looked at cases involving heart failure, pneumonia, and heart attack.
Why OT? Researchers noted that occupational therapy addressed patients’ functional and social needs.
Myth 3: “I’m not sure I have the right kind of abilities for an OTA career.”
Fact 3: When you’re open to learning new skills and concentrating on improving the talents you already have, success in an occupational therapy assistant program is highly likely. OTA program directors confirm that introverts and extroverts make great OTAs – they apply themselves in the job differently.
OTAs are known for their ways of providing encouragement, their coaching ability, or both. With so many different clients, OTAs know that taking occupational therapy from theory to real-life results requires lots of creativity.
What’s effective for one client may not work as well for another. Learning alternative ways to conduct therapies is a vital component of a high-level occupational therapy assistant program.
Myth 4: “The OTA work environment is too specialized.”
Fact 4: The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) describes the environment of occupational therapy as having six different areas of emphasis, and each of them requires different skills and specialized knowledge:
As you can imagine, these different areas of emphasis allow for diverse assignments within the OTA career field.
Earning an OTA degree makes for a great healthcare career. The career website owlgurus.com gives OTAs an “A” grade. OTA grads say they love working one-on-one with clients and seeing them achieve their life goals.
Myth 5: “A 2-year occupational therapy assistant program isn’t a complete degree program.”
Fact 5: More than 81% of OTAs employed today have this degree: the Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant.
The logic goes like this: when you know the career area for you and understand the skills and knowledge required, why go for a four-year degree plan that includes classes you don’t really care about? Imagine the income and seniority advantages of a two-year head start into a career field.
Myth 6: “All 2-year OTA programs are the same.”
Fact 6: There can be many differences among two-year A.A.S. programs, ranging from the experience of the instructors to the availability of high-quality fieldwork experiences.
Ask these questions to ensure your occupational therapy assistant program can deliver what you need:
Myth 7: “An OTA career doesn’t pay enough to get me where I want to go in life.”
Fact 7: Occupational therapy assistants rank in the top 15 of Best Health Care Support Jobs, according to the annual review published by U.S. News and World Report.
Starting out, OTAs average from $45,000 to $47,000 yearly and often more in areas where needed most.
OTAs tend to earn more as they gain experience. The salary range for experienced certified occupational therapy assistant graduates is $50,000 to $61,800 yearly in 2021, according to the data site Salary.com.
The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree from Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a two-year degree program leading to a career as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
CUKC is a nonprofit, private chiropractic and health sciences university in Overland Park, Kansas, a part of the Kansas City metro. Our 2-year program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
What to remember about our OTA program:
Request more information about our OTA degree today, and you can get this free CUKC eBook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.