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

If you want to be an occupational therapy assistant, the Raleigh, North Carolina area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 790 people are currently employed as occupational therapy assistants in North Carolina. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 32% to about 1,040 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for occupational therapy assistants are expected to grow by about 29.8%. Occupational therapy assistants generally assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures.

A person working as an occupational therapy assistant can expect to earn about $22 per hour or $46,690 annually on average in North Carolina and about $23 per hour or $48,230 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. 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. Occupational therapy assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: behavior specialist, health service worker, and occupational therapy technician.

The Raleigh area is home to twenty-nine schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Raleigh where you can get a degree 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, it will take about two years to learn 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

Durham Technical Community College - Durham, NC

Durham Technical Community College, 1637 Lawson St, Durham, NC 27703-5023. Durham Technical Community College is a medium sized college located in Durham, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,214 students. Durham Technical Community College has an associate's degree program in Occupational Therapist Assistant which graduated five 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: Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina photo by Jmturner

Raleigh is located in Wake County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 392,552, which has grown by 42.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Raleigh, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Raleigh are valued at $217,600 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, 1,685 new homes were built in Raleigh, down from 3,224 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Raleigh are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 44.9% of Raleigh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Raleigh is 7.2%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Raleigh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Highland Church, Hillcrest Church and Wake Chapel are all churches located in Raleigh. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Raleigh is home to the North Ridge Country Club and the Pamlico Junction as well as Carl Alwin Schenck Memorial Forest and Rothgeb Park. Visitors to Raleigh can choose from Hampton Inn - Capital Blvd. North, Best Western Raleigh Inn and Diamond Hospitality Inc for temporary stays in the area.