How to become an occupational therapist aide

Today, the essentials you ought to know about how to become an occupational therapist aide are made known.

Occupational therapy assistants have a highly rewarding career working specifically with patients of all ages to help them develop and create positive abilities, recover from injury, deal with a wide range of chronic illnesses and conditions, and significantly improve their satisfaction in a variety of ways.

Occupational therapy (OT) assistants work under the supervision of an occupational therapist to direct patients in recommended remedial exercises and activities, frequently utilizing specific equipment, to enable them to achieve or recover their full, autonomous, and solid lifestyles regardless of injury or handicap.

While an occupational therapist may analyze and recommend medications, occupational therapy assistants are primarily responsible for working with the patient to achieve the treatment goals. It’s important to note that OT assistants (or OTAs) are not the same as OT aides—aides generally don’t assist with activities or treatment. In this article, how to become an occupational therapist will be highlighted.

Occupational Therapy Aide Job Description

An occupational therapy aide assists the occupational therapist or potentially the occupational therapist assistant in their work to help patients recover or improve their muscle and engine functions after injury or illness.

They do not work directly with the patient and are overseen by the occupational therapist. Occupational therapy aides also perform a variety of administrative duties. An occupational therapy aide is not normally involved with a patient directly, but rather does support activities under the supervision of an occupational therapist. They would set up or assemble the therapeutic equipment and arrange the patient’s treatment location.

When patients are being transferred from wheelchairs, beds, therapy mats, or medical equipment, they may aid a therapist or assistant with contact guards or safety measures.

Aides move clients in wheelchairs from one treatment location to another and back to their rooms as needed. After each therapy session, they disinfect all locations and equipment to prevent infection and disease transmission.

He or she fills out insurance applications, schedules appointments, checks inventories, and answers phones as needed. Occupational therapy aides work in offices, hospitals, and care facilities, as well as in social assistance and educational settings.

What Does it Take to Work as an Occupational Therapy Aide?

Typically, a high school diploma or its equivalent is required. Prior job experience in the healthcare field would be ideal, as would having a CPR and basic life support (BLS) certificate.

On-the-job training is usually provided and might take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. If you want to work as an Occupational Therapy Aide, one of the first things you should think about is how much education you’ll need.

65.0 percent of Occupational Therapy Aides hold a bachelor’s degree, according to our research. In terms of higher education, 15.3 percent of Occupational Therapy Aides have earned a master’s degree.

Even though the majority of Occupational Therapy Aides have a college diploma, it is feasible to work as one with just a high school diploma or a GED. When looking into how to become an Occupational Therapy Aide, picking the right major is crucial. When we looked into the most prevalent majors for Occupational Therapy Aides, we discovered that they mostly earned Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees.

Associate Degrees or a High School Diploma are two more degrees that we frequently see on Occupational Therapy Aide resumes. You could find that previous work experience will assist you in becoming an Occupational Therapy Aide. Many Occupational Therapy Aide jobs, in fact, need previous experience as an Occupational Therapist. Occupational Therapy Aides, on the other hand, often have prior work experience as a volunteer or interns.

Certifications, Licenses, and Registrations

Occupational therapy assistants are regulated in every state, with the majority requiring licensure. Completion of an accredited occupational therapy assistant education program, completion of all fieldwork requirements, and passing the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam are typically required for licensure.

Additional requirements may apply in some states. To use the title “Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant,” occupational therapy assistants must pass the NBCOT exam (COTA). They must also attend continuing education classes in order to keep their certification.

The American Occupational Therapy Association also provides a number of specialty certifications for occupational therapy assistants who want to demonstrate their specialized level of knowledge, skills, and abilities in areas such as low vision or feeding, eating and swallowing. State law does not regulate occupational therapy aides.

Soft skills Required by an OT:

Active listening: You’ll be able to understand and follow instructions from occupational therapists and assistants if you have good listening skills. It will also assist you in providing care to your patients.

Verbal communication: You must be able to communicate information to your colleagues and patients in a clear and concise manner.

Interpersonal skills: You must be able to comprehend nonverbal clues, coordinate your actions with others, and demonstrate understanding and sympathy, in addition to having outstanding listening and speaking abilities.

Because occupational therapy assistants and aides spend so much time interacting with patients, they should be friendly and courteous. To the extent of their training, they should also communicate clearly with patients and their families.

Service orientation: You must want to assist others. Attention to detail is critical, especially when following therapists’ directions, keeping treatment rooms clean and neat, and assisting patients with paperwork completion.

Adaptability:  When treating patients, assistants must be adaptable. Because not every type of therapy will be effective for every patient, assistants may need to be creative when collaborating with occupational therapists to determine the best therapy to meet a patient’s goals.

Compassion: Occupational therapy assistants and aides frequently work with patients who have difficulty performing many of life’s basic tasks. As a result, they should be compassionate and capable of encouraging others.

Details oriented: Occupational therapy assistants and aides must quickly and accurately follow an occupational therapist’s written and spoken instructions. Aides must also pay attention to detail when performing clerical tasks, such as assisting a patient in filling out an insurance form.

Physical power: Because of the physical exertion required to assist patients, assistants and aides must have a moderate level of strength. Constant kneeling, stooping, and standing for extended periods of time are also required.

Difference between occupational therapy assistants and Aides

Occupational therapy assistants and aides range greatly in terms of educational qualifications and employment responsibilities. Occupational therapist assistants assist patients with therapeutic tasks under the supervision of an occupational therapist. Only duties that are tangentially related to patient care are assigned to OT assistants.

OT assistants must have at least an associate’s degree from a recognized training program, whereas OT aides simply need a high school or equivalency diploma. OT assistants must be licensed or registered in the state where they desire to work, but aides are not required to be licensed or registered.

If you want to be an occupational therapist or OT assistant, working as an OT aide can help you learn more about the area and decide if it’s right for you.

Conclusion on How to become an occupational therapist aide

Demand for occupational therapy is expected to rise over the next decade in response to the health needs of an aging population.

However, because occupational therapy aides are a small occupation, the rapid growth will only result in about 1,200 new jobs over the next decade.

Older adults are more vulnerable than younger people to conditions and ailments that can impair daily activities, such as arthritis and strokes. To assist occupational therapists in caring for these patients, assistants, and aides will be required. Occupational therapy will also be used in the treatment of children and young adults with developmental disabilities such as autism.

These assistants will continue to be employed by healthcare providers, particularly those specializing in long-term care, in order to reduce the cost of occupational therapy services. The occupational therapy assistant provides many aspects of the treatment that the therapist prescribed after the therapist has evaluated a patient and designed a treatment plan.

Overall employment of occupational therapy assistants and aides is expected to grow 34% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the national average.

On average, 8,800 openings for occupational therapy assistants and aides are expected each year over the next decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or leave the labor force for other reasons, such as retirement.

How to become an occupational therapist aide Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below, you find the most suitable answers to some of the top questions about How to become an occupational therapist aide;

  1. Can I work as an occupational therapist without a college degree?

Generally, an accredited degree in Occupational Therapy is required for this profession. Entry at the assistant, technician, or support worker level is possible without a degree, with the possibility of progressing to become a fully qualified Occupational Therapist after additional study and experience.

  1. What credentials are required to work as an occupational therapist assistant?

Requirements for Entry;

Employers look for numeracy and literacy skills, as well as experience or qualifications in health or social care. Employers may require English and mathematics GCSEs.

They may request a BTEC or comparable vocational qualifications in health and social care. Employers frequently request relevant work experience.

  1. How do I become an OTA in New York City?

An applicant must successfully complete a two-year OTA education program in order to be authorized as an OTA in New York (see the description of Education, above). In New York, there is no examination requirement for authorization or certification as an OTA, and OTAs are not licensed.

  1. What makes a good occupational therapy assistant?

Throughout their time together, the superb occupational therapist listens to their clients with patience, understanding, smiles, and maybe even a little humor.

Furthermore, although some clients may achieve their objectives fast, others may take years to get the same results.


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