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Occupational Therapy Assistant and Aide Careers, Jobs and Employment Information

Occupational Therapist Assistants and Aides Career and Job Highlights

  • Occupational therapist assistants usually must get an associate’s degree or complete a certificate program. Occupational therapist aides differ; they generally obtain most of their training though their job.
  • Occupational therapists are anticipated to allot more hands-on therapy labor to occupational therapist assistants and aides.
  • Employment is projected to increase much faster than the average as a result of increased amounts of people with disabilities or restricted functioning who necessitate therapeutic services.

Occupational Therapy Assistant and Aide Career Overview

Occupational therapist assistants and aides give rehabilitative service to people with mental, physical, emotional, or developmental infirmities under the supervision of occupational therapists. Their main objective is to enhance the patients’ abilities to live day to day and the happiness this brings them. For example, these assistants teach injured workers skills needed to go back to work, such as motor skills. They also help those with learning disabilities adapt to being on their own.

Occupational therapist assistants assist clients with rehabilitative their treatment as prescribed by the therapist, which may include certain activities and exercises. Activities include things like instructing how to properly move from a bed to a wheelchair or how to stretch and improve flexibility in hand muscles. The patients received encourage from assistants as well as coaching for proper and accurate techniques. They also keep track of improvement for the occupational therapist. The therapist can then alter the treatment to obtain optimal results if expected results or intended effects are not being produced. Assistants also record patient health insurance bills.

Occupational therapist aides usually organize materials and gather equipment needed for treatment. They are accountable for a range of administrational tasks which include: scheduling appointments, telephone respondent, maintaining needed supplies, and completing insurance forms or other paperwork. Because aides are not licensed, regulations do not permit them to execute as many different duties as occupational therapist assistants.

Occupational Therapy Assistant and Aide Career Training and Job Qualifications

It is normally required to obtain an associate’s degree or a certificate from an accredited community college or technical school to become eligible for occupational therapist assistant jobs. On the other hand, occupational therapist aides generally get the majority their training on the job.

In 2003, there were 161 qualified occupational therapist assistant programs. The first year of study normally entails a preface to the medical field, fundamental medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology. The next year, courses are progress to be more involved and generally are comprised of occupational therapist courses in topics such as psychology, adult physical disabilities, gerontology, and pediatrics. It is also necessary for students to finish 16 weeks of directed fieldwork at a practice or outside in the community. To enhance chances for admission to occupational therapist assistant programs, applicants can take high school courses in biology and health-related courses and by volunteering in nursing care centers, offices of occupational or physical therapists, or other healthcare settings.

Occupational therapist assistants have regulations in most states and have to pass a national test to certify after they graduate. “Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant” is the title received after successfully completing the test.

Occupational therapist aides typically obtain most of their instruction on the job. It is mandatory for capable applicants to have a high school diploma, developed interpersonal abilities, and a desire to serve those who are in need. Applicants may boost their likelihood of getting employed by volunteering their services. This shows the employer that the applicant has leadership skills, such as initiative and aptitude.
Assistants and aides must be dependable, enduring, and have a desire to receive instructions and be cooperative on a team. Additionally, they should be considerate and desire to assist those with special needs and are unable to survive alone.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Job and Employment Opportunities

The job of an occupational therapist assistant and aide is projected to expand much quicker than the average among all occupations through the year 2012. These jobs, however, may be harmfully affected by the planned Federal legislation imposing restrictions on compensation for therapy services in the upcoming term. Nevertheless, as a result of increasing amounts of people with disabilities or restricting function, the need for occupational assistants and aides will persist to rise. The growth of jobs will arise due to an aging society, which also consists of the baby-boom generation; and these individuals will require more occupational therapy services. Another reason for job expansion is the development of medical technology and discoveries of medicine prolong the lives of critical patients who then need therapy treatments. Third-party payers, worried about increasing healthcare expenses, are anticipated to support occupational therapists in delegating an increase in hands-on therapy labor to these assistants and aides. The expenses should go down from assistants and aides who work closely with patients as supervised by a therapist.

Historical Earnings Information

Just a few years ago the median yearly salary of occupational therapist assistants was $36,660. The mid 50 percent received between $31,090 and $43,030, and the lowest 10 percent received fewer than $25,600. On the other hand, the highest 10 percent received higher than $48,480. More earnings may be given to experienced occupational therapist assistants.