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Career and Education Opportunities for Occupational Therapy Assistants in Huntington, West Virginia

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for occupational therapy assistants in the Huntington, West Virginia area. The national trend for occupational therapy assistants 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 $21 per hour or $45,290 yearly on average in West Virginia. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $23 per hour or $48,230 annually on average. Incomes for occupational therapy assistants are better than in the overall category of Occupational Therapy in West Virginia, and better than the overall Occupational Therapy category nationally. Occupational therapy assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: licensed occupational therapy assistant, occupational therapy technician, and occupational therapist assistant.

The Huntington area is home to seventeen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Huntington 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, 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

Shawnee State University - Portsmouth, OH

Shawnee State University, 940 Second St, Portsmouth, OH 45662. Shawnee State University is a small university located in Portsmouth, Ohio. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,976 students. Shawnee State University has an associate's degree program in Occupational Therapist Assistant which graduated seventeen students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Huntington, West Virginia

Huntington, West Virginia
Huntington, West Virginia photo by DelanoPatterson

Huntington is situated in Cabell County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 49,185, which has shrunk by 4.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Huntington, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Huntington cost $195,100 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, sixteen new homes were built in Huntington, down from thirty-five the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Huntington are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is health care, educational services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 22.4% of Huntington residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Huntington is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 24.7% of Huntington's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Huntington residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Glorious Church of God in Christ, South Side United Methodist Church and Good Samaritan United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Huntington. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Huntington is home to the Northcott Hall and the Foster Memorial Home as well as Holderby Commons and United States Post Office and Courthouse Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Westland Plaza Shopping Center, Fairfield Plaza Shopping Center and Huntington Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Huntington can choose from Super 8, Cabell Huntington Hospital and Garden Park for temporary stays in the area.