You know that you want to focus your energy and talents working with children and youth. What you may not know is that “occupational therapy” is an excellent outlet for that, and a two-year degree from an occupational therapy assistant program can take you directly where you want to go.
Of course, you first want to know “what is an occupational therapy assistant?” Well, occupational therapy isn’t all about getting people back to work, although that’s part of it. The true meaning of occupational therapy is centered on enhancing the quality of life.
Impressive Demand for OTAs
Children and youth who face developmental, physical, emotional, or sensory challenges often find themselves struggling to cope with circumstances beyond their control. Occupational therapy can provide the guidance, support, and tools needed to meet such challenges.
The person leading children and other clients through their treatment plans is an occupational therapy assistant – an OTA. The role of an OTA is so pivotal in health care today that the annual US News report for 2018 ranks OTAs among its top-10 in health care support positions.
In fact, the number of jobs for OTAs is expected to grow 29 percent through 2026, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
4 Ways OTAs Help Children
1. Self-help Skills
If children have difficulty embracing daily habits such a getting dressed by themselves or handling personal grooming, OTAs provide guidance and support to bring these skills up to age-appropriate levels.
2. Sensory Processing Difficulties
Sometimes over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to one or more of the five senses causes difficulties at home, school, or play. OTAs find and present a variety of ways for the child to adapt, compensate for, or overcome these sensory triggers.
3. Fine/Gross Motor Skills
By monitoring motor skills in daily activities, OTAs can help design exercises or skills-building activities to improve coordination and dexterity. This may include activities to help children with holding a pencil (fine motor skills), or activities that help the child improve their balance to be able to sit safely at a classroom table (gross motor skills).
4. Visual Perception
Not being able to interpret visual information correctly can show itself in any number of ways that mask what is actually happening. OTAs can recognize the symptoms and help determine the reasons why a child might not be seeing clearly.
A Career with a Future
As you can see, graduating from an occupational therapy assistant program puts you in a good place among the helping professions. However, the follow-up question to “what is an occupational therapy assistant?” must be “how much money does an OTA make?”
The specialized nature of an OTA’s training and knowledge – covering problem-solving, relationship-building and knowing how to be creative in treatment activities – rewards those with an OTA degree with a salary equal to many professions taking four years or more. The median yearly salary for OTAs is more than $59,010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s as much as 40 percent more than other health care support positions.
What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant? Find Out at CUKC
Interested in getting into the workforce as quickly as possible with a degree that has a powerful impact on the lives of youth and children? Consider the two-year, accelerated A.A.S. in Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree Program at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC).
Cleveland University-Kansas City, is a nonprofit, private, health care focused university located in Overland Park, Kansas, a Kansas City metro suburb. The CUKC occupational therapy assistant program admits students three times a year, giving you the option to become an OTA student as soon as you’re ready.
The OTA program at CUKC consists of 16 core courses and the 16 weeks of fieldwork education OTA employers seek. Concentrated eight-week courses link together classroom training and clinical experiences, so you learn and apply concepts, skills, and best practices faster.
If you find yourself even a bit curious about the benefits of an occupational therapy assistant degree program, request more information here. If you’re really excited about the potential of an OTA career, get this free ebook today!