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Career and Education Opportunities for Occupational Therapy Assistants in Seattle, Washington

Occupational therapy assistant career and educational opportunities abound in Seattle, Washington. There are currently 300 working occupational therapy assistants in Washington; this should grow 27% to 380 working occupational therapy assistants in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for occupational therapy assistants are expected to grow by about 29.8%. In general, occupational therapy assistants assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures.

A person working as an occupational therapy assistant can expect to earn about $24 per hour or $50,350 annually on average in Washington and about $23 per hour or $48,230 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for occupational therapy assistants are better than earnings in the general category of Occupational Therapy in Washington and better than general Occupational Therapy category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: certified occupational therapy assistant-licensed , certified occupational therapist assistant , and occupational therapist assistant.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including one within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as an occupational therapy assistant. The most common level of education 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

Green River Community College - Auburn, WA

Green River Community College, 12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092-3622. Green River Community College is a medium sized college located in Auburn, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,544 students. Green River Community College has an associate's degree program in Occupational Therapist Assistant which graduated seventeen students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.