If you want to help people experience a higher quality of life, an ideal career path is becoming an occupational therapist assistant. These professionals play an integral part in occupational therapy. Occupational therapist and child patient play with a bead mazeThe Praxis Institute, serving students in the Miami, FL, area, offers an associate degree program for those interested in becoming an occupational therapist assistant. Here, we discuss the job in detail, including daily tasks and the training required for a person to obtain a position.

What Is an Occupational Therapist Assistant?

The word “occupation” more commonly refers to a person’s livelihood, but in the case of occupational therapy, it refers to the activities people want to do, such as cooking, driving, or dressing. Unfortunately, some medical conditions limit a patient’s ability to perform these tasks. Occupational therapists examine the relationship between the client, their environment, and their interests, empowering them to participate in desired activities.

Occupational therapist assistants work alongside occupational therapists, helping them enact personalized treatment plans for patients. They serve patients with various ailments and disabilities, such as:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • Stroke
  • Down syndrome
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinal and brain injuries
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Learning difficulties

What Are the Daily Duties of an Occupational Therapist Assistant?

Unlike the occupational therapist, the assistant does not usually evaluate the patient’s conditions or develop customized treatment plans. Instead, they guide patients through therapy and alter aspects of the plan to better respond to the patient’s unique needs. While specific tasks for occupational therapist assistants vary based on their role and the patients they serve, some responsibilities may include:

  • Leading patients through stretches, exercises, and other physical therapies
  • Teaching people how to use tools for completing tasks
  • Rehabilitating employees who were injured on the job with reconditioning
  • Providing children with developmental disabilities strategies to build coordination and socialization
  • Instructing children how to augment motor skills, cognitive abilities, and sensory processing
  • Motivating patients to participate in activities and progress further in their recovery
  • Documenting patients’ progress with treatment plans and discussing findings with the occupational therapist

Occupational therapists perform services in different locations, meaning assistants may work in numerous environments. Common workplaces for occupational therapy include hospitals, private practices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools, and even patients’ homes.

How Much Training Do Occupational Therapist Assistants Need?

Besides the high school diploma or equivalent that most jobs require, occupational therapist assistants also need an associate degree from an accredited program at a college or technical school. These programs typically include two years of full-time study in biology, pediatrics, psychology, and similar topics. Additionally, they feature a degree of fieldwork to give students hands-on training.

Once students complete the necessary coursework, they sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy examination. After passing this test, they work to obtain a state license to practice in their area.

Students in Miami, FL, and the surrounding area who are interested in becoming occupational therapist assistants should consider the program at The Praxis Institute. Offered exclusively at the campus in Hialeah, FL, this program comprises 75 credit hours and covers a vast assortment of concepts, from anatomy and physiology to patient care procedures. The program also is approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), assuring students receive outstanding healthcare training.

Enroll in the Occupational Therapist Assistant Program Today

If the role of the occupational therapist assistant sounds exciting or rewarding to you, enroll in the accredited program at The Praxis Institute to achieve your career aspirations. Founded in 1988, our school has been committed to delivering quality training programs that give students the necessary skills to obtain employment in the field they are studying.

One of the most important goals at The Praxis Institute is to make higher education available to a wider student base. Therefore, we provide flexible scheduling and run several programs in Spanish and English. In addition, our school is one of the few of its kind to offer students a degree and certification. Lastly, while tuition comes at a competitive cost, students needing further assistance may apply for financial aid to see if they qualify.

Contact us today to learn more about the occupational therapist assistant program at our Hialeah, FL, campus, or discover our other healthcare training courses available at our locations in the Miami area.