If you’re interested in a career that involves helping people improve their ability to perform daily tasks and lead fulfilling lives, becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) may be the right path for you. OTAs work under the supervision of occupational therapists to assist patients in developing the skills needed for daily living, including bathing, dressing, cooking, and working. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to become an OTA and the benefits of this rewarding career.
Education and Training
To become an OTA, you’ll need to earn an associate degree from an accredited program. These programs typically take two years to complete and include classroom instruction, laboratory work, and supervised clinical experience. Some programs also offer online coursework or hybrid options.
During your training, you’ll learn about human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and the principles of occupational therapy. You’ll also gain hands-on experience working with patients in a clinical setting. After graduation, you’ll need to pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam to become a licensed OTA.
Skills and Abilities
Successful OTAs possess a variety of skills and abilities, including:
- Compassion and empathy: OTAs work with patients who may be struggling with physical, emotional, or cognitive challenges, and must be able to offer support and encouragement.
- Communication: OTAs must be able to communicate effectively with patients, family members, and other healthcare professionals.
- Attention to detail: OTAs must follow treatment plans and document patient progress accurately.
- Adaptability: OTAs must be able to adjust treatment plans based on patient progress and changing conditions.
- Physical stamina: OTAs may be required to assist patients with physical therapy exercises and other activities that require physical strength and endurance.
Benefits of Being an OTA
Working as an OTA offers a variety of benefits, including:
- Meaningful work: OTAs have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of their patients, helping them regain independence and improve their quality of life.
- Job security: The demand for OTAs is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, due in part to an aging population and increased awareness of the benefits of occupational therapy.
- Competitive salary: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for OTAs in 2021 was $61,730.
- Career advancement: OTAs who wish to further their education and training can pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in occupational therapy, which may lead to increased job opportunities and higher salaries.
In conclusion, becoming an OTA is a rewarding career path for those who are passionate about helping others and making a difference in their communities. With the right education and training, as well as the necessary skills and abilities, you can become a licensed OTA and enjoy the many benefits of this fulfilling profession.