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Career and Education Opportunities for Occupational Therapy Assistants in Charlotte, North Carolina

If you want to be an occupational therapy assistant, the Charlotte, North Carolina area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 790 jobs for occupational therapy assistants in North Carolina and this is projected to grow 32% to about 1,040 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.

Occupational therapy assistants earn about $22 per hour or $46,690 yearly on average in North Carolina and about $23 per hour or $48,230 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Occupational Therapy, people working as occupational therapy assistants in North Carolina earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Occupational Therapy nationally. People working as occupational therapy assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: physical therapist assistant , behavior specialist, and independent living specialist.

The Charlotte area is home to forty-three schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Charlotte where you can get a degree as an occupational therapy assistant. The most common level of education for occupational therapy assistants is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years training to become 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

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences - Concord, NC

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences, 401 Medical Park Drive, Concord, NC 28025. Cabarrus College of Health Sciences is a small college located in Concord, North Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 372 students and an admission rate of 46%. Cabarrus College of Health Sciences has an associate's degree program in Occupational Therapist Assistant which graduated eleven students in 2008.

LICENSES

Occupational Therapist Assistant

Licensing agency: NC Board of Occupational Therapy
Address: Post Office Box 2280, Raleigh, NC 27602

Phone: (919) 832-1380
Website: NC Board of Occupational Therapy

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina photo by Alaskan Assassin

Charlotte is located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 687,456, which has grown by 27.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charlotte, 86, is well below the national average.

The three big industries for women in Charlotte are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 36.4% of Charlotte residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charlotte is 9.7%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Charlotte residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.0%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. New Hampton Church, New Emmanuel Church and New East Stonewall Church are all churches located in Charlotte. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Charlotte is home to the Crown Point Plaza and the Providence Square as well as Kilborne District Park and Little Rock Road District Park. Shopping malls in the area include Heckinger Shopping Center, Hampshire Hills Shopping Center and Providence Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Charlotte can choose from American Motel, Extended Stay America - Charlotte/Tyvola and Drury Inn and Suites Charlotte for temporary stays in the area.