Let’s all agree that everyone deserves the best quality of life possible, regardless of illness or disorder. That said, why not pursue a profession where you can help people with emotional, developmental, mental, age-related, or sensory processing challenges live their best possible life. That’s the essence – and attractiveness – of earning an occupational therapy assistant degree.
What Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) Do
OTAs are a vital link in ensuring the quality of life for clients of every age who are facing difficulties in their lives. An OTA works in a team-based environment with an occupational therapist (OT) to assist individuals who struggle with the daily living activities they wish to complete.
OTAs carry out the therapy activities plan – exercises and activities customized for each person’s situation. Some examples of what OTAs do:
The 2-Year Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree
Those who choose the occupational therapy assistant profession appreciate seeing people progress toward life goals. They also like earning their occupational therapy assistant degree in as few as two years. Most OTAs (nearly 82%) earn an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant, according to the education information site owlguru.com
When accredited by the American Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), an A.A.S. degree in OTA fully prepares students to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
The A.A.S. in OTA is an accelerated, profession-focused education. After the first-year prerequisite (required) courses common to a college degree, the remaining classes, labs, and training activities involve mastering the skills an OTA uses and the strategies that make occupation therapy useful in today’s healthcare industry. Fieldwork experience is included in the OTA degree program.
Wide Open: OTAs Have Options
Home Health Agency/In-home Care
Many people need assistance recuperating from accidents or work injuries, or rehabilitating from a stroke or a heart attack. OTAs can help clients make a safer transition from hospital to home, and assess the home itself for safety. OTAs help evaluate the need for assistive devices or home modifications, such as entry ramps, bathroom grab bars, and non-slip rugs.
Legislation ensuring all children have access to education opens up many school-based opportunities for OTA professionals. OTAs assist students, teachers, and parents in bridging gaps in learning or behaviors. Therapy might involve personalized learning strategies, coaching behavior modifications, or working out compensating strategies for sensory processing difficulties.
Assisted Living and Senior Care Facilities
Senior adults age 65 and older are more susceptible to falls, and more at risk for debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s. OTAs can help seniors retain cognitive and physical abilities through one-on-one interaction or group activities.
OTAs may also work in rehabilitation clinics, often after clients go through life-altering events. As part of an overall return-to-health plan by a healthcare team, OTAs are effective in establishing a trusting relationship and providing encouragement during a recovery period that often takes longer than clients want it to.
Compensation with an Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree
The average salary for a newly certified OTA ranges between $45-47,000 per year, depending on market demand. Meanwhile, the data site Salary.com posts a median salary of $53,491 to $63,000+ after gaining work experience.
The career outlook is estimated to grow by 31% between 2018 and 2028, nearly three times the average growth for all jobs.
The OTA Degree Program at CUKC
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, university in Overland Park, Kansas. CUKC is focused entirely on health science and chiropractic education. At the same time, we are student-centered and ensure our degrees meet workplace expectations.
The accelerated A.A.S. in Occupational Therapy Assistant program at CUKC is a comprehensive, professional occupational therapy assistant degree program that includes 16 core courses and the four-to-five months of supervised, fieldwork education required by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Our two-year OTA education prepares you to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). That’s the gold standard for OTA employment.
In the CUKC OTA program, hands-on instruction is the norm, and our OTA faculty have on-the-job experience.
Other ways our occupational therapy assistant degree program prepares you for the OTA profession:
The occupational therapy assistant degree is worth exploring when you’re looking for a high-demand career devoted to helping people. Learn more about the two-year OTA degree by requesting information now, and download this free eBook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.