Nearly everyone knows a child who struggles with sensory difficulties – clothes that don’t “feel” right, being disturbed by loud noises, or difficulties with social interactions. Often, you see this happening when others don’t. Instinctively, you understand sensory processing challenges are very real, and you want to help. No wonder you’re exploring how to become an occupational therapy assistant (OTA). Two-year OTA programs are the most chosen option for an occupational therapy assistant education.
Sensory Issues Require a Special Kind of Understanding
In an OTA program, you’ll learn about the variety of challenges OTA clients face. Sensory processing disorders are one of the occupational therapy knowledge areas. Such disorders can be difficult to recognize because they often result in behaviors that mask the problem.
Sensory issues can result in reactions that are puzzling to other people. A siren going off can cause an anxiety attack. A child suddenly runs away when an elevator door opens. You’ll also discover sensory issues can go the other way – kids may not appear to feel extreme heat, cold, or pain.
Your occupational therapy assistant education will give you the knowledge and skills to help kids on both sides of the sensory processing spectrum. Working OTAs say they value the opportunity to work one-on-one with clients, and they get a deep satisfaction when they see their clients reach new skill levels and meet personal goals.
The OTA Career: Treating Sensory Issues is Just the Beginning
OTAs are not just interested in helping kids be their best; they feel a special calling to help anyone struggling to lead their best-possible life. Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs), who team up with occupational therapists, seek to make life more fulfilling for clients of all ages, from an anxiety-filled first-grader to a senior adult recovering at home from a devastating injury.
When you choose to earn an occupational therapy assistant education, you’re getting into a health care support position with a wide variety of work settings. You could be working in a med clinic, hospital, outpatient center or a school.
In an OTA program, you’ll learn how OTAs partner with occupational therapists to deliver care in the form of activities, skill-building, and adaptations to challenges. OTAs do things like help someone maneuver a wheelchair in public spaces or demonstrate how to get dressed single-handedly. Discover more about what OTAs do in this blog.
Are You Called to Become an OTA?
Not everyone has the aptitude to become an OTA, but perhaps you do. (After all, you’ve read this far.) As you think about entering an OTA program, ask yourself some questions:
How an OTA Program Degree Results in a Career
If you’ve said “yes” to any one of those questions, you should consider pursuing an occupational therapy assistant education. You may still have questions, but that’s perfectly normal. What is for sure is that a career as an OTA is one of the best health care support roles available today.
Among health care roles requiring a two-year associate degree, OTA program graduates do very well. The pay scale for those with an occupational therapy assistant education is trending past $58,000 per year. Even a more typical starting salary for OTAs – $42-45,000 – can be as much as 30 percent higher than many others requiring a two-year degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The 2018 U.S. News annual survey puts OTAs in the top 10 among health care support roles, ranking this career choice high for salary, upward mobility, and work-life balance.
The 2-year Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at CUKC
Explore Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), to learn more about the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree Program. The spacious CUKC campus is in Overland Park, Kan., a highly rated suburb of the Kansas City metro.
The CUKC OTA program includes 16 core courses, integrated with the 16 weeks of client interaction fieldwork required by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Coursework is presented in eight-week segments, which reinforces learning.
Another advantage of the occupational therapy assistant education at CUKC is not having to wait long to begin your OTA career. CUKC offers three start dates during the year: summer, spring, and fall.
Eager to know more about the OTA career and what’s involved in an OTA program? Download this FREE ebook today: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.