What it takes to become an occupational therapists assistant
OTAs support and aide the OT, often preparing equipment, providing therapy and conducting intake evaluations
An occupational therapy assistant is a graduate of an accredited occupational therapy assistant educational program and is eligible to sit for the national certification examination. Most states regulate occupational therapy assistants. Occupational therapy aides provide supportive services to the occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.
Occupational therapy aides usually receive their training on the job and are not eligible for certification or licensure. Occupational therapy aide programs are not accredited by AOTA's Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), and certification of aides is not required. You may want to contact your state regulatory board to determine what services and regulations apply to occupational therapy aides in your state.
A two-year associate’s degree from an accredited ACOTE program is required, and candidates must pass a national licensure exam. OTA students will complete at least 16 weeks of field experience in addition to course work.
In a variety of health care settings, including health clinics, hospitals, nursing care facilities, schools and home health programs.
As with OTs, it is predicted that OTA employment will increase upwards of 30%. Part of this growth will be due to the aging Baby Boomer population, as well as the need to continue to reduce health care costs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for OTAs in 2019 was $61,510. OTAs in schools earn significantly less than OTAs in home health care services.