Want to know why those in healthcare call the OTA degree a “real life-changer?” You might think it’s because of the high salary occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) receive. (More on that later.) Actually, it’s seen as a life-changing job because OTAs are helping people get to the place in life they want to be.
The life challenges clients have can be developmental, mental, emotional, physical, or sensory-based, keeping them from living their best possible lives.
Make no mistake – OTA clients have a vision for their success; they need someone with specific expertise who’s willing to join them in their journey.
Think about what it’s like to face:
Earning the OTA Degree Makes You a Partner in a Client’s Success
Becoming an OTA takes you to the kind of career where you get to see the results of your efforts nearly every day. Of course, you’ll do this differently for different clients. For some, OTAs focus on ways to adapt environments and tasks to fit clients’ abilities. For others, it’s about teaching them new skills and new ways to accomplish everyday tasks.
Being part of a client’s success – and seeing progress nearly every day – is tremendously satisfying. That may be a big reason why the career site owlguru.com finds that 86% of today’s OTAs say their job makes other people’s lives better.
Now, About That OTA Salary…
Those called to the occupational therapy assistant profession don’t automatically point to their salary as the #1 reason they become an OTA. They truly are the type of people who might do their job even if the pay wasn’t as competitive as it is.
For OTAs, caring for people with disabilities and challenging conditions is the #1 thing.
The truth is, however, that an OTA degree does translate into a highly competitive salary. Occupational therapy assistants have higher average wages than many other healthcare support roles, such as Certified Medical Assistants and Home Health Aides, among others, according to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Here’s a chart that helps illustrate where occupational therapy assistants fit within those choices.
|JOB TITLE||EDUCATION||MEDIAN SALARY|
|Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant||Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) |
|Certified Medical Assistant||Post-high school non-degree program|
(9 months to 1 year)
|Home Health and Personal Care Aides||Post-high school non-degree program|
(9 months to 1 year)
How the OTA Degree Delivers Value
One way to look at it is that the OTA degree delivers a significantly higher starting wage and more career upside for a year or more of training than other healthcare support options.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant profession is expected to expand by 36% between 2021 and 2030. In the 2021 U.S. News & World annual listing, OTAs rank in the top-15 of healthcare support jobs.
When interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds is something you enjoy and like being an encourager to others, discovering more about a two-year occupational therapy assistant program is a great opportunity.
OTA program directors say successful OTAs have particular talents and characteristics, including
OTA Profession: Flexible Career Options
As if personally satisfying work and competitive pay weren’t enough, an OTA degree also results in career flexibility.
Because what OTAs do applies to clients with varying conditions and difficulties, OTAs work in hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, physician offices, assisted living facilities, and in the home.
You might also find OTAs in offices of speech pathologists and audiologists for communication impairments or asked to speak on topics such as following a budget or leading a discussion about interviewing for a job.
OTA Degree: Ready When You Are
With a desire to learn and a willingness to put in the effort, you can become an OTA. In a two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program, learning comes from class coursework, skill demonstrations, group discussions, hands-on lab sessions, and four to five months of guided field experiences.
In addition, as long as your OTA degree program is from a university with a solid student-first reputation, you’ll also find plenty of on-campus support services to ensure your success.
Ready to learn more about becoming an occupational therapy assistant? Cleveland University-Kansas City offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant.
CUKC is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas, a major city within the Kansas City metro area.
Our OTA program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). CUKC delivers OTA classwork in sequential 8-week courses year-round, allowing students to complete the program within two years.
Students can start the program in the spring, summer, or fall.
Get the answers to your OTA questions by downloading our free OTA eBook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.