The occupational therapy (OT) field attracts a lot of attention these days because OT professionals are in-demand, and the pay scale rivals that of many jobs requiring four-year degrees. So, who chooses an occupational therapy assistant career and becomes an OTA – Occupational Therapy Assistant?
The field of occupational therapy – OT, for short – is dedicated to helping people live life to its fullest. These are the professionals leading others in their fight against injury, illness, disability, developmental, and mental/emotional circumstances or conditions.
OTAs spend most of their time working one-on-one with clients. Why is that so satisfying?
Of course, every student choosing to earn an OTA degree has a different story. However, similarities seem to be a desire to work one-on-one with others, that they get to “see” the client’s progress via therapy, and that OTAs can be creative in therapy approaches.
Karsyn H., who’ll soon begin her occupational therapy assistant career, told her story about earning a 2-year OTA degree from a private, nonprofit, fully accredited university in the Midwest.
Did you know what an OTA was before you started exploring career options?
“I did not know what an OTA was and researched online. I found out what an OTA was like, and it totally caught my interest. I started to pursue it from there.
Becoming an OTA was interesting because I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field, but I never really knew many options outside of being a nurse or a doctor.”
“So many different people can benefit from working with an OTA. You can work with children in school trying to be successful with writing or cutting. You can work with someone who’s had a stroke and help them learn how to shower or get dressed alone. You can work with spinal cord injury clients, helping them learn how to feed themselves and do other daily living activities. The list goes on and on.”
“It’s definitely true that the OTA profession is warm and welcoming and not as clinical as other healthcare support roles.
I came into the program thinking that it was something where I would work with patients in a hospital. Then I understood the many options in an occupational therapy assistant career and that you’re not stuck in one place for your whole career.
Many of our professors have worked in various fields within OTA. It’s exciting to know there are so many options. (Learn more about OT practice settings here.)
“That it’s about client-centered treatment. You’re finding out what is most interesting and important to your client, and then you’re centering and creating their treatments around that.
You’re able to be creative; you’re able to find things that make clients happy and fulfilled. It’s really fun to help people get back to those things that bring them joy in life!
For me, the most satisfying is how close-knit everybody in my class is. There’s a total open-door policy with all of the professors. There’s great communication between class groups. Just a lot of opportunities to work together and learn from each other.”
“An OTA is someone who helps people to the highest level of independence in their life. We find out what they need to be most independent. They can be at work, at home, or with their families. We help them regain the skills to be able to do that.”
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), a nonprofit, private, chiropractic and health sciences university in Overland Park, Kansas, offers the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant. Most students complete our OTA degree program in about two years, including the required multi-month fieldwork experiences.
Key features of the CUKC program:
Confidence in our OTA program’s curriculum comes from knowing it was designed with insight from practicing occupational therapy professionals and employer organizations. Our program’s goal is to prepare you to be fully prepared for a career as an occupational therapy assistant.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the need for OTAs will grow by more than 25% from 2021 to 2031. That’s nearly four times higher than the average growth for all occupations.
Request more information today. It’s a fast and convenient way to get our free eBook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.