What does an occupational therapy assistant do? The term “occupational” in the occupational therapy assistant (OTA) doesn’t refer to job occupations. It’s referring to everyday activities people do to live the meaningful life they want to have. OTAs are the professionals people turn to for all types of help when someone they love has a developmental, emotional, sensory, or physical challenge.
It’s on those occasions when someone goes from What does an occupational therapy assistant do? to Thank goodness, I have an OTA to provide the help and hope my family needs.
A passion for caring, coaching, encouraging, and using creative methods leads many to earn an OTA degree from an occupational therapy assistant program. OTAs work one-on-one with family members or caregivers who are looking for support, guidance, and resources.
The Answer to “What Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Do?”
Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) help children and adults recover more quickly from an injury, re-learn daily living skills, or adapt confidently to developmental challenges. The role of an OTA is not only important in today’s healthcare environment; it has many components. (This Q&A blog provides a solid overview of the profession and why it’s needed.)
As an example, researchers are finding early use of occupational therapy for children often helps reduce the chances of problems later in life.
OTAs: The Help Families Need
Research is pretty clear that help from occupational therapy practitioners like OTAs is essential for family members and other caregivers when facing life-altering challenges:
Often, family members left to find answers on their struggle with deciding on the resources they need or determining the type of help that’s best for their loved ones. Occupational therapy professionals partner with the family and serve as their expert guide to what options are available and which ones are best.
Occupational therapy practitioners recognize the tremendous impact caregiving has on caregivers. Therapy is nearly always emotionally challenging and often physically difficult. The team formed by an occupational therapist (OT) and an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) are uniquely qualified to create a therapy plan for the client and also teach, encourage, and support family and caregivers.
Answering the Question, “What Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Do?”
If you’ve read this far, something about the practice of occupational therapy and the role of an occupational therapy assistant resonates with who you want to be. You may encounter those who don’t understand this passion for serving, so be prepared to tell them precisely what you’ll do as an OTA.
So, what does an occupational therapy assistant do? A simple, direct answer is this: OTAs are healthcare professionals who love interacting with people. They love to serve and love to find personalized, creative solutions that give people the independence and skills they need for daily living.
OTA: Two Years to a Degree
The most popular path to an OTA career is the two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program. This accelerated degree program gives you the training and knowledge necessary to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
In addition to joining a personally rewarding profession, you’re also joining one with a good future and PayScale. The annual review of occupations by U.S. News & World Report ranks the OTA career among the top 30 of the Best Health Care Support Jobs list.
The OTA Degree Program at Cleveland University-Kansas City
Explore Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), to learn more about the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. CUKC is known for its chiropractic and health sciences degrees and offers the advantages of being a nonprofit, private university that was founded in 1922.
The OTA at CUKC degree includes 16 core courses, integrated with the required 16 weeks of fieldwork. Coursework is presented in eight-week segments, which reinforces learning. Instructors have experience working as an OTA in various settings. Clinical and fieldwork experiences take place at our partner sites throughout the Kansas City area.
You won’t have to wait long to begin your OTA career. CUKC offers three class starts each year: summer, spring, and fall.
More information is always better. Answer the question “What does an occupational therapy assistant do?” yourself with this FREE ebook from CUKC: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.