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Career and Education Opportunities for Occupational Therapy Assistants in Irvine, California

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for occupational therapy assistants in the Irvine, California area. There are currently 1,300 jobs for occupational therapy assistants in California and this is projected to grow 39% to about 1,800 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for occupational therapy assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 29.8% over the next eight years. Occupational therapy assistants generally assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures.

The income of an occupational therapy assistant is about $27 per hour or $56,910 annually on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $23 hourly or $48,230 yearly on average. Incomes for occupational therapy assistants are better than in the overall category of Occupational Therapy in California, and better than the overall Occupational Therapy category nationally. Jobs in this field include: independent living specialist, certified occupational therapy assistant , and certified occupational therapy assistant-licensed .

There are 112 schools of higher education in the Irvine area, including one within twenty-five miles of Irvine where you can get a degree to start your career as an occupational therapy assistant. Given that the most common education level for occupational therapy assistants is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years studying to be an occupational therapy assistant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, occupational therapy assistants assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures. They also may, in accordance with State laws, assist in development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, direct activity programs, and document the progress of treatments.

Occupational therapy assistants observe and record patients' progress and behavior, and maintain this data in client archives. They also report to supervisors, verbally or in writing, on patients' progress, attitudes and behavior. Equally important, occupational therapy assistants have to monitor patients' performance in therapy efforts, providing encouragement. They are often called upon to maintain and promote a positive attitude toward clients and their treatment programs. They are expected to teach patients how to deal constructively with their emotions. Finally, occupational therapy assistants layout and repair assistive devices and make adaptive changes to apparatus and environments.

Every day, occupational therapy assistants are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for occupational therapy assistants to order any needed educational or treatment supplies. They are often called upon to aid patients in dressing and grooming themselves. They also execute clerical duties such as scheduling appointments and documenting health insurance billings. They are sometimes expected to assist educational specialists or clinical psychologists in administering situational or diagnostic tests to measure client's abilities or progress. Somewhat less frequently, occupational therapy assistants are also expected to maintain and promote a positive attitude toward clients and their treatment programs.

Occupational therapy assistants sometimes are asked to implement, or assist occupational therapists with implementing, treatment plans designed to help clients function independently. and evaluate the daily living skills and capacities of physically, developmentally or emotionally disabled clients. And finally, they sometimes have to report to supervisors, verbally or in writing, on patients' progress, attitudes and behavior.

Like many other jobs, occupational therapy assistants must believe in cooperation and coordination and have exceptional integrity.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Occupational Therapy Assistant Training

Santa Ana College - Santa Ana, CA

Santa Ana College, 1530 W. 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706-3398. Santa Ana College is a large college located in Santa Ana, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,464 students. Santa Ana College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Occupational Therapist Assistant which graduated thirty and zero students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Irvine, California

Irvine, California
Irvine, California photo by SoCal L.A.

Irvine is situated in Orange County, California. It has a population of over 207,500, which has grown by 45.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Irvine, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Irvine are valued at $283,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-five new homes were built in Irvine, down from two hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Irvine are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and computer and electronic products. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 58.4% of Irvine residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Irvine is 7.3%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Irvine residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Irvine is home to the International Raceway and the Heritage Park Library as well as Heritage Park and Alderwood Park. Shopping centers in the area include Heritage Plaza Shopping Center, Alton Square Shopping Center and Arbor Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Irvine can choose from Atrium Hotel At Orange County Airport and Amerilodge Electronics for temporary stays in the area.