When searching for career options, there are many fields to consider. However, if you consistently find yourself coming back to healthcare, there’s probably a good reason – you like to help people! If that’s you, then healthcare is exactly where you need to be, and a career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) might be perfect for you.
So, the next logical question is, “Do I need an OTA degree?” The answer to this question is yes; you must have a degree to work as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. For the reasons behind why an OTA degree is necessary, let’s examine it more closely. An OTA offers occupational therapy services to those who have recently been injured, those suffering from debilitating conditions like Parkinson’s disease, and those with developmental disorders, such as autism.
Whether it’s helping a recently injured patient navigate a move from a wheelchair into a vehicle, or assisting someone with a hand injury as they re-learn how to brush their teeth, or improving the daily life activities of an autistic child, all are important. Proper training is critical to help patients achieve a quality of life that they might not otherwise reach without an OTA.
The only place to receive that training is in an accredited OTA degree program typically titled the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) regulates the educational curriculum for OTA degrees. If you do not attend an AOTA-accredited institution, you cannot sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupation Therapy exam.
Without that certification, you cannot work as an OTA anywhere in the United States. That means when you are researching your educational options, you must choose your college or university carefully.
You can be assured of a high-quality OTA program when it has accreditation by the American Council for Occupational Therapy Education.
If you’re curious about what degree is needed to become an OTA, the answer is straightforward. There is a specific OTA degree offered at many educational institutions across the country.
Typically, it’s a two-year associate degree program called the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. It’s a special, focused degree plan that prepares you for the NBCOT exam, and ultimately, for a rewarding career helping others. Beyond that, there is a tremendous amount of freedom in carrying out a treatment plan because each plan is personalized for the client’s goals and abilities.
Because of the wide range of situations that an OTA may face, their training must be extensive. A unique part of the OTA A.A.S. degree is the fieldwork experience that’s part of the curriculum.
Working toward your OTA degree may include classwork in mental health, therapeutic interventions as well as a substantial amount of fieldwork. To get a good look at an OTA program, read this blog.
Your OTA degree will open the door to a stable career. Consider the current salary ranges for those with an OTA degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the number of employment opportunities for OTAs is expected to increase by more than 30% between now and 2030. And, with an average annual salary between $55-60,000 for OTAs with experience, there is no better time than right now to pursue a career in this field.
Best of all, some OTAs say, is the variety of work settings.
|Where OTAs Work|
|* Schools||* Offices of other healthcare specialists|
|* Outpatient clinics||* Rehabilitation centers|
|* Assisted living/Senior centers||* Retirement communities|
|* Hospitals||* Home healthcare|
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) offers an A.A.S. in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree program. The OTA program has full accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
CUKC is a nonprofit, private, chiropractic and health sciences university established in 1922. Located on 34 acres of lush green space in Overland Park, Kansas, CUKC is an ideal place to begin your healthcare education.
Contact Admissions for more information today and get your OTA degree questions answered in the free eBook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.