UPDATED MAY 4, 2021
When you’re out and about, you immediately see the child in a wheelchair trying to get past a crowd of people. You respond instinctively to help a senior adult struggling to go up steps. You’re the kind of person who could be a healthcare hero…so why not check into an occupational therapy assistant program and become an occupational therapy assistant (OTA)?
The OTA Degree and Salary Outlook
It’s good to know an occupational therapy assistant’s salary matches up to the beneficial work they do. OTAs will tell you they chose to become an occupational therapy practitioner because of three key job aspects:
Although many people don’t know all that an OTA does, the healthcare industry recognizes the benefits of occupational therapy techniques and methods.
“Occupational therapy is a skilled health profession dedicated to the improvement and maximization of function and performance so that people can live healthier, more productive, and more satisfying lives,” according to the staffing website nurseregistry.com.
That recognition translates into a high salary of OTAs. A certified occupational therapy assistant with a few years of experience has an average salary topping $58,000, according to Salary.com. In areas where OTAs are in high demand, the occupational therapy assistant salary can be up to 25% more.
Based on job satisfaction, job outlook, salary, and a two-year timeframe for the degree, OTAs were ranked #12 in the 2021 U.S. News and World Report list of Best Health Care Support Jobs. The career site owlguru.com notes that in a survey of OTAs, “86% said they find that their job makes the world a better place.”
Salary, Respect, Prestige in 2 Years
The value behind choosing to enter an occupational therapy program comes into focus because students can complete an OTA degree in as little as two years.
In an accelerated OTA program such as an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S. degree) in Occupational Therapy Assistant, learning focuses on one or two courses during an 8-week session. This format allows students to devote all their time and energy to mastering those courses before moving on to others. All modern OTA programs pair classroom learning with hands-on sessions in an on-campus simulated living quarters lab.
Toward the end of the final (2nd year), an occupational therapy program following the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) standards will have students complete a four-to-five-month fieldwork experience. This guided experience ensures OTA students are ready for the workforce.
An OTA degree is a good career fit for those who find great satisfaction in helping others achieve their life goals – living independently, returning to work, or participating in social activities.
There is much to discover and know about becoming an OTA. This “Change Lives” blog about the OTA career will help answer questions you might have.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a private, nonprofit, healthcare-focused university that offers an A.A.S. in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree with full program accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
Focused 8-week courses enhance learning, and patient interaction can begin as early as the second semester. Students typically complete their degree in as little as two years. Fieldwork experiences take place in different settings in the Kansas City region.
Our year-round schedule means you begin when you’re ready. New classes start in spring, summer, and fall every year.
If you like what an OTA does, the occupational therapy assistant salary will be just another sign you’re considering the right profession. Learn more today and download your free eBook: Your Complete Guide to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.