Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistant

What Is Occupational Therapy?

According to American Occupational Therapy Association, Occupational therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common Occupational Therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.

What Occupational Therapy
Assistants Do?

Occupational Therapy Assistants may handle some of the routine work of running an occupational therapy practice, to include ongoing communication with patients and/or caregivers as well as other medical professionals related to patient (s) care.

Occupational Therapy Assistants work under the supervision of Occupational Therapists. Occupational Therapy Assistants help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for everyday living skills. Occupational Therapy Assistants are therefore, directly involved in providing therapy to patients.

Duties

Occupational Therapy Assistants typically do the following:

  • Help patients do therapeutic activities, such as range of motion exercises (active, passive and active assisted, functional transfers and functional mobility.
  • Lead children who have developmental disabilities in play activities that promote coordination, play and socialization.
  • Teach patients how to use special equipment; for example, showing a patient with Parkinson’s disease how to use devices that make eating easier.
  • Record patients’ progress, report to Occupational Therapists, and do other administrative tasks.

Occupational Therapy Assistants collaborate with Occupational Therapists to develop and carry out a treatment plan for each patient. Activities in plans range from teaching the proper way for patients to move from a bed into a wheelchair, to the best way to stretch and strengthen their muscles. For example, an Occupational Therapy Assistant might work with injured workers to help them get back into the workforce by teaching them how to work around lost motor skills. Occupational Therapy Assistants may also work with people with learning disabilities to teach them skills that allow them to be more independent.

Occupational Therapy Assistants monitor activities to make sure patients are doing them correctly. They also encourage the patients. They record the patient’s progress so the Occupational Therapist can change the treatment plan if the patient is not getting the desired results. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Occupational Therapy Assistants on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm (visited July 07, 2014).

Job Outlook

Employment of Occupational Therapy Assistants is projected to grow 43 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Demand for Occupational Therapy is expected to rise significantly over the coming decade in response to the health needs of the aging baby-boom generation and a growing elderly population. Older adults are more prone than younger people to conditions and ailments such as arthritis and stroke. These conditions can affect the ability to perform a variety of everyday activities. Occupational Therapy Assistants will be needed to collaborate with Occupational Therapists in caring for these people. Occupational Therapy will also continue to be used for treating children and young adults with developmental disabilities like autism.

Demand for Occupational Therapy Assistants is also expected to stem from healthcare providers employing more assistants to reduce the cost of Occupational Therapy services. After the Occupational Therapist has evaluated a patient and designed a treatment plan, the Occupational Therapy Assistant can provide the intervention that the Occupational Therapist prescribed. The Occupational Therapy Assistant can modify the treatment plan in appropriate accordance with the Occupational Therapist.

Demand for Occupational Therapy services is related to the ability of patients to pay, either directly or through health insurance. The number of individuals who have access to Occupational Therapy services may increase because of federal health insurance reform. Both rehabilitation and habilitation services are listed among the essential health benefits that insurers will need to cover once reforms are implemented. Occupational Therapy Assistants will be needed to collaborate with Occupational Therapists to treat additional patients and to ensure that treatment facility operations run smoothly. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Occupational Therapy Assistants on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm (visited July 07, 2014).

Where do Occupational Therapy Assistants work?

The industries that employed the most Occupational Therapy Assistants in 2012 were as follows:

Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists,
and audiologists
35%
Nursing and residential care facilities 22
Hospitals; state, local, and private 21
Educational services; state, local, and private 6
Home health care services 4

 

What do Occupational Therapy Assistants earn?

The median annual wage for Occupational Therapy Assistants was $53,240 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,970, and the top 10 percent earned more than $73,120. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm (visited July 07, 2014).

Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate in Science Program Outline:

Program Data

NOTE: If a bachelor degree program entrance requirement is to transfer having earned an associate degree, enter the transfer of credit here.

Course Number

Course Title

Credit Hours

MAT 100 College Algebra

3.0

SPC 100 Basics of Speech Communication

3.0

ENC 101 English Composition I

3.0

ENC 102 English Composition II

3.0

HSC 100 Anatomy & Physiology I + Lab

3.0

HSC 102 Anatomy & Physiology II + Lab

3.0

HSC 103 Introduction to Psychology

3.0

OTA 100 Introduction to Occupational Therapy

3.0

OTA 101 Introduction to Occupational Therapy Lab  2.0
OTA 102 Functional Anatomy & Kinesiology for Occupational Therapy  3.0
OTA 103 Functional Anatomy & Kinesiology for Occupational Therapy Lab  2.0
OTA 104 Activity Analysis  3.0
OTA 105 Activity Analysis Lab  2.0
OTA 106 Therapeutic Media & Group Therapy  3.0
OTA 107 Therapeutic Media & Group Therapy Lab  2.0
OTA 108 Patient Care Procedures  1.0
OTA 109 Patient Care Procedures Lab  1.0
OTA 110 OT Treatment Planning & Techniques for Traditional & Emerging Practice Areas  3.0
OTA 200 OT Treatment Planning & Techniques for Adolescents & Pediatrics II  3.0
OTA 201 OT Treatment Planning & Techniques for Adolescents & Pediatrics II Lab  2.0
OTA 202 OT Treatment Planning & Techniques for Geriatrics & Mental Health III  3.0
OTA 203 OT Treatment Planning & Techniques for Geriatrics & Mental Health III Lab  2.0
OTA 204 Fieldwork Education Level Ia-Id  2.0
OTA 205 Fieldwork Reflections  1.0
OTA 206 Fieldwork Education Level IIa  7.0
OTA 207 Fieldwork Education Level IIb  7.0
OTA 208 From OTA Student to OTA New Graduate Seminar  2.0
TOTAL  75

This Program is offered only in the Hialeah Campus.

Program Accreditation Status:

ACOTE Logo

The occupational therapy assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

POTENTIAL IMPACT OF A FELONY CONVICTION ON A GRADUATE’S ELIGIBILITY FOR CERTIFICATION AND CREDENTIALING.

Once admitted, it is the student’s responsibility to update the school regarding any status changes (medical, personal, background). As part of the Admissions process, it is necessary for students to disclose criminal background history. State and/or federal legislations have regulations regarding issuance of licensures and certification. A marred criminal background check could pose restrictions to licensure and certification. For example, the Florida Board of Occupational Therapy:

“Effective July 1, 2012, Section 456.0635, Florida Statutes (F.S.), provides that health care boards or the department shall refuse to issue a license, certificate or registration and shall refuse to admit a candidate for examination if the applicant:

    1. Has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a felony under Chapter 409, F.S., (relating to social and economic assistance), Chapter 817, F.S., (relating to fraudulent practices), Chapter 893, F.S., (relating to drug abuse prevention and control) or a similar felony offense(s) in another state or jurisdiction unless the candidate or applicant has successfully completed a drug court program for that felony and provides proof that the plea has been withdrawn or the charges have been dismissed. Any such conviction or plea shall exclude the applicant or candidate from licensure, examination, certification, or registration, unless the sentence and any subsequent period of probation for such conviction or plea ended:

 

      • For the felonies of the first or second degree, more than 15 years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;
      • For the felonies of the third degree, more than 10 years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;
      • For the felonies of the third degree under section 893.13(6)(a), F.S., more than five years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;

 

    1. Has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a felony under 21 U.S.C. ss. 801-970 (relating to controlled substances) or 42 U.S.C. ss. 1395-1396 (relating to public health, welfare, Medicare and Medicaid issues), unless the sentence and any subsequent period of probation for such conviction or pleas ended more than 15 years prior to the date of the application;

 

    1. Has been terminated for cause from the Florida Medicaid program pursuant to section 409.913, F.S., unless the candidate or applicant has been in good standing with the Florida Medicaid program for the most recent five years;

 

    1. Has been terminated for cause, pursuant to the appeals procedures established by the state or Federal Government, from any other state Medicaid program, unless the candidate or applicant has been in good standing with a state Medicaid program for the most recent five years and the termination occurred at least 20 years before the date of the application;

 

  1. Is currently listed on the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’€™s List of Excluded Individuals and Entities. The section above does not apply to candidates or applicants for initial licensure or certification who were enrolled in an educational or training program on or before July 1, 2009, which was recognized by a board or, if there is no board, recognized by the department, and who applied for licensure after July 1, 2012.

NBCOT (National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy) has an Early Determination process, for a $100 fee, as indicated below:

“An individual who is considering entering, or who has already entered, an occupational therapy educational program can have his/her background reviewed prior to actually applying for the exam by requesting an Early Determination Review.

In this Early Determination Review process, NBCOT may give early or prior approval to take the certification exam, as it pertains to good moral character, provided that the information reviewed is not found to be a violation of any of the principles of the Practice Standards/Code of Conduct.

Each early review case is reviewed on an individual basis. After NBCOT has completed its review, the individual is notified in writing regarding whether he/she would be eligible to sit for the NBCOT exam, provided all eligibility requirements are met”.

NBCOT also subjects all candidates/applicants to a Character review.

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