Are you going through your mental list of careers that may be suitable for your dreams and aspirations? Did occupational therapy aide cross your mind? If so, continue reading for more information that will detail just what you will need to know about this occupation. If becoming an occupational therapy aide hasn't crossed your mind, then maybe it should! Get started with your research and find occupational therapy schools below.
As an occupational therapy aide you will spend your days providing rehabilitative services to individuals with emotional, mental, physical, or developmental impairments. All of the services you will provide as an occupational therapy aide will be conducted under the supervision of the occupational therapist that employs you. Occupational therapists, along with the help of their occupational therapy aides, work to provide their patients with a more improved quality of life. They also work to help their clients be more capable of performing daily life activities. As an occupational therapy aide you will likely be responsible for preparing the equipment and materials that will be required for a patient's treatment.
You will probably also be in charge of your employer's clerical duties, filling out necessary insurance forms for the patients, ordering supplies for the facility, and answering phones. Due to the fact that occupational therapy aides are not licensed by the state, aides are not given the numerous medical responsibilities that occupational therapy assistants are given. In order to be successful as an occupational therapy aide you will need to be an individual that is patient, caring, and can work well within a team situation. It will be crucial that you will want to help people who are not always able to help themselves.
Within your work environment, it is possible that you will be able to work full time or part time, depending upon your employer. However, it is likely that you may have to work afternoons or weekend in order to accommodate the patient's schedules. Furthermore, you may be employed by an outpatient clinic that is especially geared towards meeting the more varied needs of patients. It will be important for you to have a considerable amount of strength, since it may often be necessary for you to physically handle your patients. On any given day you will surely find yourself continuously stooping, bending, kneeling, and standing in order to perform your duties as an occupational therapy aide.
Typically, you will only need a high school diploma to become an occupational therapy aide. Training that you will need to perform your duties will be taught to you while on the job. Once you have learned the ropes of an aide's job duties, you may decide to advance your career and become an occupational therapy assistant. To become an assistant you will need to take a national certification examination. After obtaining a passing score on this certification exam you will be considered Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, you will be required to complete continuing education courses as a means of professional development and to maintain your state licensure. It is highly possible for occupational therapy assistants to continue their advancement and become an administrator that teaches classes in occupational therapy academic programs. If you are serious about your occupational therapy training then find a school for the list below and see how they help you with your career training.
To earn your Occupational Therapy Associate’s degree you’ll spend the first year mainly with courses designed to help you during your clinical time. Most of your undergraduate work will consist of courses related to the below topics:
- Anatomy Courses
- Physical Therapy
- Medical Psychology
- Medical Terminology
- Psychiatric Disorders
- Musculoskeletal Systems and Treatment
The median salary is $55,240 where the highest 10% of employees make $74,570. We have seen these numbers fluctuate greatly deepening on the state in which you are employed. The industry is growing and expected to grow 30-35% over the next 10 years.
Q: What drove you to go into the occupational therapy industry?
A: I really enjoy helping others. When I was young my father got into a horrible automobile accident and needed therapy. I remember the lady really enjoyed helping others. She wasn’t just there to help him walk better but she helped our family out as well mentally and emotionally with dealing with the accident.
Q: What formal education do you have?
A: I earned my occupational therapy degree back in 2002 and currently working on a second degree now. It has really helped me as I want to continue on in this field and become a OT supervisor.
Q: Where do you currently work?
A: I’ve started working in a hospital once I graduated and kept that job for 5 years but wanted something new so I’ve worked the last 11 years in a rehabilitation center. We handle all different types of cases but most are a mix of car accidents as well as trauma patients that have suffered things like heart attacks or strokes.
Q: Tell me about the hours that you work.
A: When I was working at the hospital I had the craziest hours possible and that is also part of the reason I’m working where I’m working now. I go into work at 8am and work until 5pm. Sometimes I’ll do Saturday shifts and on occasion I’ll have to work late but I really enjoy the rehabilitation center.
Q: If you had to give advice to a new hire just starting out as an occupational therapist what advice would that be?
A: I would say be yourself and caring. You have to realize that the people that you are helping really need the help. They aren’t there for sympathy but to get well. They are looking at you as the professional to help them get better. In all the years I’ve worked I’ve been thanked by people the most that tell me they appreciated me just being me and not trying to act like this was a job.
Occupational Therapy Resources
The American Occupational Therapy Association
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy
BLS Occupational Therapy