Occupational Therapist Assistant

Last Updated:
April 27, 2023

Job Description Overview

An Occupational Therapist Assistant job description typically involves working in the healthcare field and assisting Occupational Therapists with various patient care duties. In this role, you will help people of all ages achieve their daily living and work-related goals after an injury, illness or disability. You will work closely with clients to evaluate their needs and develop customized treatment plans that focus on improving their functional abilities, such as dressing, grooming, eating, and communication.

Your responsibilities as an Occupational Therapist Assistant might include documenting client progress, educating patients and their families on a range of topics, assisting with therapeutic exercises, teaching mobility and self-care skills, and performing administrative tasks. You may work in various settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools or mental health clinics.

To excel as an Occupational Therapist Assistant, you should have excellent communication skills, empathy, patience, and an ability to work collaboratively with a team. A certificate or associate's degree in Occupational Therapy Assisting is typically required for this job. So, if you are someone who wants to make a positive impact on people's lives, this could be the perfect career for you.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Help clients perform daily tasks that are difficult due to injury, illness or disability
  • Prepare equipment and materials needed for therapy sessions
  • Observe, document and report progress made by the clients
  • Assist in the development of treatment plans and interventions
  • Instruct clients on techniques for improving range of motion and strengthening muscles
  • Communicate with the supervising occupational therapist to ensure treatment goals are being met
  • Promote safety and proper body mechanics during therapy sessions
  • Educate clients and their families on how to continue therapy exercises at home
  • Maintain confidential client records and ensure all documentation is up-to-date and accurate
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals to coordinate care for clients.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become an Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA), you need a mix of education and experience in healthcare. First, you'll need an associate's degree from an accredited OTA program. These programs typically take two years to complete and include courses in anatomy, psychology, and occupational therapy theory. During your degree, you'll also complete fieldwork to gain practical experience working with patients. 

After completing your education, you'll need to pass a certification exam to become a Licensed OTA. Many states also require a license or registration to practice. In addition to your education, you should have strong communication and problem-solving skills, patience and empathy, and the ability to work well in a team. Experience working in a healthcare setting or with patients can also be helpful. 

Overall, becoming an OTA requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for helping others. But with the right education and experience, you can help patients of all ages and backgrounds achieve their goals and live fulfilling lives.

Salary Range

Occupational Therapist Assistant salary range in the healthcare industry varies based on experience, location, education and employer type. In the United States, the median annual salary for an Occupational Therapist Assistant is $62,940 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $42,040, while the highest 10 percent earn more than $85,280. 

In Canada, an Occupational Therapist Assistant can expect to earn an average of $26.74 per hour or $55,007 per year based on data from PayScale. 

In the United Kingdom, the average salary for an Occupational Therapy Support Worker is £20,000 to £25,000 per year according to the National Health Service. 


  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm#tab-5 
  • PayScale: https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=OccupationalTherapistAssistant/Hourly_Rate 
  • National Health Service: https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/allied-health-professionals/roles-allied-health-professions/occupational-therapy-support-worker

Career Outlook

Are you interested in becoming an Occupational Therapist Assistant? Well, the career outlook for OTA's is promising! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of OTA's is projected to grow 35 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. 

The increasing aging population will lead to a higher demand for occupational therapy services. More OTA's will be needed to help with activities of daily living, such as dressing, grooming, and eating, and to help patients with chronic conditions and disabilities. 

In addition, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for occupational therapy services has only increased, as more people have experienced physical and mental health challenges related to isolation, decreased activity, and remote learning or work arrangements. 

Furthermore, OTA's have a variety of work settings to choose from, including hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and outpatient clinics. This diversity allows for flexibility in career paths and opportunities for growth. 

Overall, the future looks bright for Occupational Therapist Assistants in the healthcare industry. With a growing demand for their services and a versatile range of work settings, it's a career worth considering!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is an occupational therapist assistant?

A: An occupational therapist assistant works alongside licensed occupational therapists to help people improve their ability to perform daily living and work activities.

Q: What are the responsibilities of an occupational therapist assistant?

A: Occupational therapist assistants help execute treatment plans by monitoring patients' progress, assisting with exercises, creating adaptive equipment, and teaching patients how to use it.

Q: What qualifications are required to become an occupational therapist assistant?

A: Generally, an associate degree in occupational therapy assisting is required. OTAs should also be licensed or certified for practice, depending on their location.

Q: What settings do occupational therapist assistants work in?

A: OTAs can be found in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools, and other healthcare facilities. They can also be employed in the community or work in private practice.

Q: What is the job outlook for occupational therapist assistants?

A: The job outlook for OTAs is favorable, with employment growth predicted to increase faster than average. As the population ages and requires more assistance with daily living activities, there will be a greater demand for occupational therapy services.

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