Nowadays, there is a wide variety of professions that are focused on helping people that for any reason can’t take care of themselves or perform everyday tasks as they used to.
Occupational therapy is one of these disciplines that is dedicated to assisting others to adapt to their new circumstances so they can still be as independent as possible.
In this area, there are two professionals, the Occupational Therapist, and the Occupational Therapy Assistant.
In the next few sections, we’ll focus on Occupational Therapy Assistants, what they do and the cost of enrolling in Occupational Therapy Assistant School.
Table of Contents
- What Is an Occupational Therapist?
- What Is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?
- What Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Do?
- Where Do Occupational Therapy Assistants Work?
- Occupational Therapy Assistant School
- What are the Requirements to Apply to Occupational Therapy Assistant School?
- How Long Does Occupational Therapy Assistant School Last?
- How Much Does Occupational Therapy Assistant School Cost?
What Is an Occupational Therapist?
An Occupational Therapist (OT) is a healthcare professional with specific training that enables them to examine and assist people who are no longer able to take proper care of themselves or can’t perform their job or everyday tasks.
Numerous circumstances could cause this, such as advanced age, injuries from an accident, chronic pain, mental health problems, or a disability.
An OT does not only focus on the patient that needs treatment and learns how to execute tasks according to their new situation, they also evaluate the patient’s house and workplace with the aim of improving them so they can be more comfortable and independent.
What Is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?
An Occupational Therapy Assistant works directly with Occupational Therapists and helps them deliver and continue the treatment that the OT has prepared for the patient.
Occupational Therapy Assistants work under the direction of the OT and have several duties.
What Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Do?
Among the most common responsibilities of an Occupational Therapy Assistant are to assist patients with physical exercises, teach them how to use devices that help them perform common tasks, motivate them to follow the treatment and program developed by the OT, help children to improve their motor and cognitive skills, and perform administrative tasks such as keeping a record of patients’ progress.
Where Do Occupational Therapy Assistants Work?
Occupational Therapy Assistants can work in different settings.
The most common are OT private practices, hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, nursing care facilities, and in-home healthcare services.
Occupational Therapy Assistant School
In order to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you must obtain an Associate’s degree from a technical school or college accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
In these programs, the student will learn different subjects such as biology, pediatric health, psychology, anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology, among others.
Fieldwork would also be an essential part of these programs, where students can start to learn how to interact with patients and develop the necessary skills to work with them and with the OT.
Besides acquiring an Associate’s degree, Occupational Therapy Assistants must also pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam, specifically, the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) test.
This will allow them to obtain certification and subsequently, apply in the state where they aspire to work to get their license.
What are the Requirements to Apply to Occupational Therapy Assistant School?
Occupational Therapy Assistant Schools tend to have different entry requirements yet the most common are having a high school diploma or equivalent degree, and a specific GPA score.
High School Diploma or GED
A high school diploma or an equivalent, such as having passed the General Educational Development (GED) test, is the most common entry requirement for Occupational Therapy Assistant Schools.
A student’s GPA (Grade Point Average) is another popular entry requirement for these schools.
As the name indicates, it’s the average score obtained in high school, colleges, or graduate schools.
Each school will have different minimum scores.
How Long Does Occupational Therapy Assistant School Last?
Pursuing an Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate’s degree usually lasts two years when studying full-time.
How Much Does Occupational Therapy Assistant School Cost?
Occupational Therapy Assistant School’s cost will vary depending on the program you choose, the city where you want to study, and whether it’s an online or on-campus degree.
On average, it can cost from $3,500 to $30,000.
The COTA test fees are $515.