If you’re attracted to a career centered on helping people, look into becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA). The need for talented healthcare practitioners with OTA degrees has grown dramatically – up more than 65% since 2002. By earning an OTA degree, you’re focusing on the ABCs: helping people adapt to challenging disorders, build on their abilities, and create an improved future for them and their families.
With an OTA degree, you’re on your way to becoming a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) – an accomplished professional who supports their healthcare teammate, the occupational therapist (OT). Together, the team’s expertise provides clients with help and hope: improved health, elevated self-esteem, and increased independence.
Having muscular dystrophy or suffering a traumatic injury in an auto accident isn’t a choice people make, yet finding ways to adapt to what they’re facing is. Your OTA career will enable you to present numerous practices and techniques that allow your clients to adapt more efficiently to their environment.
Imagine the job satisfaction you’ll have when you
Finding ways to build on someone’s current abilities is a crucial concept you’ll learn on the way to your OTA degree. The role of OTAs is to look at clients’ current capacity for doing something, then help them go beyond what they think is doable.
One example of building on a foundational ability might be a stroke victim recovering well overall but is left with a limited range of motion in one of her arms. After the team’s evaluation, the OTA shows the person how to use a new one-handed technique that allows her to get dressed by herself.
One aspect of an OTA career many practicing OTAs really appreciate is the ability to apply their creative talent in their daily client interactions.
Occupational therapy is about finding practical, effective ways for people struggling with emotional, developmental, cognitive, and sensory issues to lead the life they want. Every issue clients have deserves a specialized, highly personalized solution. Your OTA degree program will encourage and reward out-of-the-box thinking because those unconventional therapy ideas often help deliver the desired progress.
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 seeking an OTA degree. In fact, a two-year OTA degree often results in an annual salary equal to many professions taking four years or more.
Newly certified OTAs in the Midwest can have a pay range between $46,000 and $51,000. According to the data site Salary.com, the typical yearly salary for experienced OTAs tops $59,300. That’s as much as 40% more than other healthcare support positions.
There’s also plenty of variety in an OTA career. Look at the different environments in which OTAs work:
While occupational therapy is becoming more known to the public, its effectiveness is getting more attention from the healthcare industry. A study by Johns Hopkins University concluded that occupational therapy was the only hospital spending category where additional spending showed a statistically valid impact on lowering hospital readmission rates.
So, while the growth of the OTA profession is impressive, its future looks even brighter. The BLS sees the need for OTAs growing 20+% at least through 2030. That’s nearly four times the growth rate of all occupations in that same time frame.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private university located in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburban city of 195,000+ residents within the metro Kansas City area. CUKC is an ideal place to earn your OTA degree. (Want to get connected to an advisor? Click here.)
CUKC has a comprehensive OTA program leading to the Associate of Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree. Our program is accredited by the American Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
In as little as two years, you’re prepared for national certification and employment as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
Each class size is limited to ensure personalized instruction, and there are two class start dates every year: spring and fall.
Learn more about this exciting career field by downloading this FREE eBook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.