Welcome to part four of a six-part blog series that dives into the world of occupational therapy careers and those who work directly with individuals affected by various types of challenges: the occupational therapy assistant.
Part 1: Occupational Therapy Careers: Working with Children and Youth
Part 2: Occupational Therapy Careers: Improving Health & Wellness as an OTA
Part 3: Occupational Therapy Careers: The OTA Role in Work and Industry
Blog Series Part 4: Rehabilitation
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) lists six practice areas within occupational therapy. In Part 4 of this blog series, the topic is occupational therapy’s role in recovery from life-altering conditions or disorders.
Occupational Therapy: A Whole Person Point of View
Both an Occupational Therapist (OT) and an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) help people of all ages meet the challenges of emotional, developmental, and mental difficulties. They often work with specialists in other fields to coordinate care. (Go here for more about how the roles of occupational therapists and OTAs differ.)
Occupational Therapy Careers: Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation, says the AOTA, is at the core of occupational therapy because it addresses the needs of persons with injuries or illnesses to resume occupations – what someone does in a day. For some, it means basic activities like being able to move from reclining to standing or getting dressed without someone’s help. For others, OT means regaining the confidence to attend public events or using an adaptive tool or innovative method to get something done. Of course, everyone’s day is different, so occupational therapy is personalized.
Often the treatment plan goes beyond the physical healing of the injury and includes activities that help individuals return to psychological and social well-being.
In recovering from a stroke, for instance, survivors often see changes in their physical, cognitive, and emotional abilities. These changes affect their ability to perform daily routines, go to work or school, be a parent, or enjoy a recreational activity.
Rehabilitative Focus Areas
Depending on the severity of the stroke, the individual may need the OTA to carry out therapy in a variety of areas, including:
The Need for OTAs
The multi-dimensional skill set required for an occupational therapy career is reflected in the growth of the OT profession and the OTA’s expanding role and pay scale.
Starting salaries for new OTAs average about $46,000; experienced OTAs can make $59,000, according to the data site Salary.com. The demand for occupational therapy assistants is projected to grow by 31% from 2018 to 2028.
The OTA Degree at Cleveland University-Kansas City
You can be on your way toward an occupational therapy career by earning an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree from Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC). The University is a nonprofit, private, health-care focused higher-education institution located in Overland Park, Kansas.
The OTA degree program at CUKC is designed with insight from practicing OT professionals and employer organizations to ensure a comprehensive, applied degree program that students complete in as little as two years. The program’s goal is to prepare you to become a COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.) The CUKC program includes 16 core OTA courses and the four-to-five months of required Level I and Level II fieldwork. The coursework is presented in eight-week segments to immerse students in their class subjects.
Guaranteed admission to the OTA degree program is available for students who complete all required prerequisite coursework at CUKC and satisfy all OTA program considerations. Classes start in spring, summer, and fall of each year.
Download the free CUKC ebook by clicking this link: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.