Occupational Therapy Assistants: Job Description, Salary, and Education Path

Occupational Therapy Assistants: Job Description, Salary, and Education Path
Occupational Therapy Assistants: Job Description, Salary, and Education Path

If you want to find joy in helping others recover from injury, illness, or disability, occupational therapy assistant is a nice job among your options. Stay with Carehealthjobs to explore this career and find current offers from big companies, centers, and hospitals.

Job description

Investigate in detail the job description of Occupational Therapy Assistants listed below:

Job definition and duties

According to BLS, occupational therapy assistants are healthcare workers who “help patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.”

Take a closer look at the daily tasks of an occupational therapy assistant:

  • Collaborate with an occupational therapist to develop treatment plans for patients
  • Carry out activities and exercises with patients based on the given treatment plan.
  • Watch over and encourage patients in the rehab process to make sure that what they have performed is correct.
  • Record their client’s progress for use
  • Alter the treatment program in hopes of obtaining better results if the old treatment plans don’t work for patients.
  • Help in documenting billing of the client’s health insurance provider.

Working conditions and environment

Occupational therapy assistants can work in a variety of healthcare settings. They are on their feet a lot of time setting up equipment and dealing with patients.

Working conditions and environment
Working conditions and environment

Some choose to work with children, assisting them with tasks such as learning, playing, and growing. Others assist students with academic difficulties, behavioral issues, cerebral palsy, and down syndrome. Some assist adults and elderlies in their homes, rehabilitation institutions, nursing homes, community centers, and other places. They help patients in recovering from catastrophic injuries, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, and mental health issues.

Occupational therapy assistants work on a variety of shifts, including evening and weekend shifts, depending on the facility and whether they are full-time or part-time employees. To accommodate patients’ personal schedules, many outpatient treatment offices and health care facilities provide evening and weekend hours.

Salary and job outlook

According to the newest numbers from BLS, the average salary in 2021 for OTAs is $61,520 per year or $29.58 per hour. The job is in high demand with 49,000 jobs available. The job is expected to grow by 34% in the period 2020-2030.

According to Salary(dot)com, the median salary for occupational therapy assistants is $62,379 per year, ranging from $50,572 to $74,118. The differences in salary are due to some factors including education, experience, and location.

Salary and job outlook
Salary and job outlook

The best cities that offer high-paying jobs for OTAs are California, New York, Illinois, Texas, and Arkansas. The big states and cities usually have higher salaries because of strict requirements for the job and the cost of living there.

In comparison with other jobs in the field, the salary of occupational therapy assistants may be higher than Home Health Aides but lower than occupational therapists ($87,480) and physician assistants ($116,080). Therefore, if you are working as an OTA, you can consider moving to higher-level jobs to earn more money.

Overall, the job satisfaction of OTA jobs in the United States is at an average level in terms of upward mobility, stress level, and flexibility.

How to become an occupational therapy assistant?

One of the quickest paths to a successful practical career in occupational therapy is to become an occupational therapy assistant. Unlike occupational therapists, there is no requirement for a graduate degree to become an OTA. To be eligible for this career, you will only need to spend a few years in school and training.

The OTA programs will prepare you for all required knowledge, and skills, and allow you to become completely certified in the field. You must obtain an associate degree from an accredited occupational therapy program to become a COTA and pass the NBCOT exam. By adding “certified” to your job title after passing the NBCOT-COTA exam, you will have more opportunities in the area.


Working as an occupational therapy assistant, you will help to strengthen and improve fine motor abilities, or to overcome physical and mental limitations. You will also see certain benefits when entering this job.  As the job is in high demand and has fast growth, it can be a good choice for your career path. Even if you want to master this field, there are ways to advance your career. Find the current offers for occupational therapy assistant jobs with Carehealthjobs.