An Overview – What Is an Occupational Therapy Assistant

Published - June 26, 2024

Did you know doctors go to school for seven to ten years before working with patients? Do you want to work in the medical field but don’t have years to complete your education? You have options. CBD College offers an Occupational Therapist Assistant program that can be completed in as little as 18 months. Plus, you will receive an Associate of Applied Science Degree. So, what is an occupational therapy assistant, and what do they do?

What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

An occupational therapy assistant (OTA) implements the treatment plan that an occupational therapist creates for a patient. An occupational therapist is required to have a doctorate or master’s degree in occupational therapy, while an occupational therapist assistant can start working after completing an associate degree at an NBCOT-accredited college. The good news is that the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) accredits CBD College.

Are Occupational Therapist Assistants in Demand?

There is a strong demand for occupational therapist assistants through 2032. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for OTAs is projected to grow 23 percent. There will be a need for additional OTAs because of the retiring baby boomers and an increase in the working-age population. That means more medical professionals, including occupational therapist assistants, are needed.

What Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Do?

An occupational therapist assistant helps patients maintain the skills needed for daily living. On a day-to-day basis they will complete the following tasks:

Monitor Patient Progress

The OTA administers and scores routine tests and evaluations to determine a patient’s skills and mental capacity. They help patients develop skills to be self-sufficient, overcome disabilities, and encourage independent functioning. The OTA will also observe and report the patient’s response to treatment.

Implement Treatment Plans

The OTA reviews the occupational therapist’s treatment plan create for the patient and implements the plan over multiple appointments. The OTA helps the patient stretch and exercise to improve range of motion, reduce pain, and increase muscle strength. They also implement remedial activities for patients to meet treatment goals. This can include developmental exercises, self-care activities, sensory integrative, and perceptual motor experiences. These activities help restore and reinforce sensory-motor, psychosocial, and cognitive functions.

Aid the Developmentally Disabled

An OTA establishes effective therapeutic relationships with mentally and physically disabled people and restores self-sufficiency in performing daily living tasks like grooming, feeding oneself, and shopping.

Manage Therapy Areas

The OTA is responsible for maintaining a safe environment for patients that includes sanitary treatment areas and equipment in satisfactory operating condition.

Administrative Tasks

During therapy, the OTA will keep notes and records to monitor the patient’s progress. They will also perform clerical and reception activities like greeting patients, stocking supplies, and setting follow-up appointments.

Why is Occupational Therapy Important?

In addition to restoring self-sufficiency and daily living tasks, occupational therapy can also:

Increase Mobility

Patients can experience improved range of motion, balance, and walking ability. Occupational therapy can also help promote a patient’s muscle strength and joint mobility.

Reduce Physical and Emotional Pain

An occupational therapist assistant may use assistive splints, gait, and balance trainers to reduce the physical and emotional pain caused by injuries. Occupational therapy can also prevent falls and allow accessibility to adaptive equipment like shower chairs.

Improved Cognitive Function

Occupational therapy can help aid memory, concentration, planning, prioritizing, and other cognitive functions.

OTA School Program

You’re already making a difference through the work you love. Now, take it to the next level with the Occupational Therapist Assistant program from CBD College. It’s flexible, affordable, and uniquely tailored to build on the skills and experience you’ve acquired professionally.

Contact us now to learn more.


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