There are many reasons why a patient may need occupational therapy rehabilitation services. Birth defects, car accidents, heart disease, mental health problems, mental disabilities, sports injuries, falls, and spinal cord injuries are some of the conditions.
Occupational therapy assistants are also known as OTAs. They treat children and adults of all ages with disabilities, injuries, and illnesses under the supervision of health care therapists. Initially, the assistants work together with the occupational therapists to develop a treatment regimen for the patient. They then provide direct practical assistance by guiding patients through the treatment plan step by step. They are based on the therapeutic use of daily routine work to treat patients; For example, an occupational therapy assistant can teach a patient who lost his motor skills due to an accident to eat, dress, tidy up, and can drive him to and from the occupational therapy facility. Sometimes they can teach patients to use special equipment to facilitate certain daily activities.
Proper documentation and evaluation of a patient’s progress is critical to the treatment process. Observing and recording the details of patients’ progress and distributing this information to therapists is the duty of an OT assistant. Periodically, the therapist will review these reports, assess the patient’s condition at the time, and adjust the treatment if necessary. OTAs often handle clerical and administrative tasks as well, but depending on your work environment, these tasks may be performed by professional therapy assistants. They typically answer phone calls, maintain equipment, schedule appointments, and file insurance claims. OTAs typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, medical clinics, occupational workshops, and special schools.
Education, training and certification
A student must go to an accredited community college or technical school that offers the OTA program to become a professional therapy assistant. The program lasts for 2 years and graduates are considered to have earned an associate’s degree. The 2-year occupational therapy assistant programs include clinical and classroom fieldwork. The practical training component provides them with practical experiences. Occupational therapist “bridge” education programs are available for qualified occupational therapy assistants to further advance their career.
In most states, occupational therapy assistants must be licensed before they can practice. One must complete the 2-year associate degree program and pass an exam to obtain the license.
Occupational therapy assistants do not require any certification to practice. However, the COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant) title can only be awarded to a person who has successfully passed the written exam administered by the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy. For those who want to take this exam, it is required to complete the accredited programs.
Factors Affecting Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary
– Experience: this is one of the most crucial factors affecting the assistant’s salary. More experienced therapists tend to receive a higher salary compared to those who are new to the profession. Newcomers will start with an average salary of $ 30,000 per year, but as they gain more experience, the annual salary of more than $ 50,000 is not uncommon.
– Education: Even if certification is not required in all states, many employers nonetheless look for OTAs that are certified. There are currently more than 300 accredited programs in the United States, graduates of these programs often start with a higher salary.
– Location: This is also very important in determining the salary of an occupational therapy assistant. Salaries can vary from state to state. Nevada is the highest paying state for an OTA due to increased demand as a result of the boom in the casino industry.
– Employer: working for different employers will result in different wages. Home health care services, employment services, nursing care facilities, offices of other health professionals, and specialty hospitals are the highest paying employers in this occupation.
Average Annual Salary for Occupational Therapy Assistant
The average annual salary for a therapist is $ 52,150. This is calculated by adding all wages within the occupation and dividing that value by the total number of employees. The lowest 10% of this occupation earn less than $ 33,750 and the top 10% earn more than $ 71,960. His average hourly wage is $ 25.07. The lowest 10% earn $ 16.22 while the highest 10% earn $ 71,960.
Higher income cities:
1. El Paso, TX: $ 72,690
2. San Diego, CA: $ 70,100
3. Arlington, TX: $ 68,530
4. Las Vegas, NV: $ 68,430
5. New Brunswick, NJ: $ 67,550
Highest paying states:
1. Nevada: $ 68,240
2. Texas: $ 64,090
3. New Jersey: $ 62,560
4. California: $ 61,010
5. Maryland: $ 59,560
State with the highest level of employment:
4. New York