Information and FAQs for Oregon State University students interested in becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant
College of Health
Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) play an important role in the healthcare team. They work under the supervision of occupational therapists to provide therapy to patients with a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. OTAs help patients regain or improve the skills they need to participate in everyday activities and live independently.
OTAs are an important part of the healthcare team. They provide valuable services to patients of all ages, and they play a vital role in helping people recover from injuries or illnesses, improve their quality of life, and reach their full potential.
Some common things that OTAs help people with include:
OTAs can help people regain the skills they need to perform everyday activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They can also help people learn how to use adaptive equipment or assistive technology.
OTAs can help people with disabilities develop the skills they need to live independently in their homes and communities. They can also help people find employment and participate in social activities.
OTAs can work with children who have developmental delays to help them reach their full potential. They can provide therapy to help children with fine motor skills, gross motor skills, cognitive skills, and social-emotional skills.
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 2022 was $66,280. OTAs in schools earn significantly less than OTAs in home health care services.