No other career position can make life better for more people in more diverse ways than an occupational therapy assistant – an OTA. You may find that statement a bit over the top, although you perhaps didn’t know the history behind occupational therapy, You’ll be impressed with the wide-ranging conditions those with an occupational therapy assistant degree can help and the results OTAs are delivering in the healthcare sector.
It’s logical to think occupational therapy is all about getting someone back to work but understanding the OTA career path means knowing it’s much more than that. When you think of the definition of occupation as the activities of daily living that “occupy” your time, you’re on the right track.
“Occupational therapy,” says one person who’s learning to live with leg amputations, “concentrates on getting you adapted to your new problems and how to solve them so you can return to as much of your former life as possible.”
OTA programs teach students interested in a healthcare profession how to apply their creativity and drive to help individuals achieve their goals. These can be:
There is no routine day, and OTAs love the variety. OTAs are at work in schools, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and in the home.
As an OTA in a school environment, you may be providing a sensory break for a grade-schooler or helping find coping strategies for someone whose anxiety is interfering with personal relationships. As an OTA in an assisted living facility, you could find yourself showing a senior adult recovering from a stroke how to get dressed one-handed, increasing their confidence.
Occupational therapy is not new – it began with ancient Greek physicians and evolved into a formal profession in 1917. Post-World War II rehabilitation centers, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and legislation mandating equality in public education helped spread the use of OT practices.
The need for occupational therapy led to careers for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants, and its OTAs who now carry out and monitor nearly all day-to-day OT activities. OTAs get to know the individuals they work with, so OTAs are trusted to use their expertise to make changes or adaptations. (Read more about the difference between OTAs and OTs.)
OTAs have a unique skill set, one combining patient care and the ability to be creative in how treatment plans are employed.
The need for OTAs is estimated to grow more than 30% through 2030. First-year OTAs typically earn $45,000 or more and experienced OTAs have a median salary of more than $55,000 according to Salary.com.
The two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree Program at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) includes 16 core courses along with the four-to-five months of required fieldwork experience. Coursework is presented in eight-week segments to immerse students in their class subjects.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas. At CUKC, the OTA program offers class starts in spring, summer, and fall each year. Other features of the OTA program:
Connect with an advisor today to learn more, or download the free CUKC ebook today: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.