Welcome to part six of a six-part blog series that dives into the world of occupational therapy careers and those who work directly with individuals affected by various challenges: the occupational therapy assistant!
Part 1: Occupational Therapy Careers: Working with Children and Youth
Part 2: Occupational Therapy Careers: Improving Health & Wellness as an OTA
Part 3: Occupational Therapy Careers: The OTA Role in Work and Industry
Part 4: Occupational Therapy Careers: OTAs Help With Rehabilitation
Part 5: Occupational Therapy Careers: Occupational Therapy Assistants Ensure Quality of Life
Part 6 of this blog series explores occupational therapy’s role in mental health. The knowledge and instincts of those choosing an occupational therapy assistant career provide mental health treatment and prevention services.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) lists six practice areas within occupational therapy: children and youth, health and wellness, mental health, productive aging, rehabilitation and disability, and work and industry.
If you’ve been reading this blog series, you’re not surprised by this wide application of OTA knowledge. The primary difference between occupational therapy and other professions is using occupations (activities and skills) in the evaluation and treatment. An Occupational Therapist (OT) and an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) help people of all ages meet the challenges of emotional, developmental, and mental difficulties.
Occupational therapy practitioners consider the environment (context) and current and future abilities needed for desired tasks. OTAs help people of all ages meet the challenges of emotional, developmental, and mental difficulties. They often work with specialists in other fields to coordinate care.
Remember, while occupational therapists (OTs) take the lead in developing a treatment plan, OTAs work directly with the individuals to carry out the plan. OTA expertise allows them to recommend changes when needed for continued progress. (Go here for more about how the roles of Occupational Therapists and OTAs differ.)
Occupational therapy practitioners are active participants in the mental health of a community. You’ll find OTAs working with individuals in homeless and battered-women shelters, correctional facilities, group homes, workplaces, schools, and in coordination with community-based programs.
OTAs and others in occupational therapy careers work toward improving mental health in a variety of ways. Some examples:
Deciding to pursue an occupational therapy assistant career as an OTA is a very personal choice. OTAs love what they do because they like seeing the difference they make in people’s lives.
The career site owlgruru.com gives the OTA profession a high rating, and a 2022 report by U.S. News and World Report says an OTA position is one of the “best health care support jobs” available.
It’s also reassuring to know the outlook for occupational therapy careers is good, too. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sees OTA job growth increasing by more than 25% from 2021 to 2031.
A newly certified OTA’s salary in the Midwest typically ranges between $46,000 and $49,000 (plus benefits). Of course, states and cities with high demand for healthcare professionals often pay more. The national median wage for OTAs is $61,730.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private university in Overland Park, Kansas. CUKC serves students seeking careers in the chiropractic and health sciences, and its mission is to educate and develop leaders in health promotion.
When you’re ready to begin an occupational therapy assistant career, discover the CUKC Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree program.
OTA courses are delivered in sequential 8-week modules year-round, allowing students to complete the degree in two years or less. The degree program includes the four-to-five months of required fieldwork experience, which is supervised by trained fieldwork evaluators.
Other features of the Cleveland University-Kansas City OTA degree program:
Connect with an advisor today to learn about the two-year OTA degree, or explore the occupational therapy assistant career by downloading the free CUKC ebook today: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.