Welcome to part three 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 challenges: the occupational therapy assistant!
Blog Series Part 3: Work and Industry
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) lists six practice areas within occupational therapy, and these apply to both OT and OTA careers. In this blog, we explore occupational therapy’s role in work and industry – helping employees and employers accomplish successful return-to-work scenarios.
Occupational Therapy: A Whole Person Point of View
Unique to occupational therapy is the use of occupations (defined as activities that occupy someone’s day) in evaluation and treatment. OTAs are professionals who help others meet the challenges of any combination of emotional, developmental, mental, and physical difficulties.
OT, OTA: Occupational Therapy Careers
The roles of the OT (occupational therapist) and OTA (occupational therapy assistant) are different, however, both do the work of occupational therapy. An OT takes the lead in developing a treatment plan, and an OTA works directly with an individual to carry out the plan. (Go here for more about how the roles of Occupational Therapists and OTAs differ.)
OTAs: Helping Achieve Success in the Workplace
An occupational therapy assistant career can lead you to expertise that takes a variety of forms:
In many returning-to-work situations, the occupational therapy plan starts with a defined transitional return-to-work program. This program is determined by the ability of the returning employee and the needs of the employer.
The first step is doing an occupational therapy evaluation in a clinical setting, taking into account work conditions and tasks. This evaluation determines which tasks the person can do without affecting workplace safety while also progressing toward health. Work tasks can increase as an employee’s abilities improve.
Your Occupational Therapy Assistant Career
Guess who gets a front-row seat to see this progress? It’s the occupational therapy assistant. In fact, OTAs report that what makes becoming an OTA so personally satisfying is working directly with people and having a career in which “each case is like a puzzle to solve.” No wonder the career site owl.guru.com gives this profession an “A” rating.
Of course, the OTA salary is an added attraction. Starting OTA salaries trend toward $45,000 yearly, and experienced OTAs can earn more than $58,000, according to nationwide data from Salary.com.
Begin Your Occupational Therapy Career at Cleveland University-Kansas City
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university located in Overland Park, Kansas, the largest suburban city within the Kansas City area. CUKC has a well-planned, comprehensive OTA program leading to the Associate of Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree. In as little as two years, you’ll be ready for national certification and employment as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
Students who complete all required prerequisite coursework at CUKC receive guaranteed admission when they meet all CUKC criteria and satisfy all OTA degree program considerations.
The CUKC OTA degree program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Small classes allow for personalized instruction. Multiple start dates can match your timetable: begin in the spring, summer, or fall.
To learn about the CUKC occupational therapy assistant program, get a free ebook outlining how to become an OTA – a vital position among today’s healthcare support careers.