Across the United States, the healthcare industry is projected to add more jobs to its sector than any other occupational group. This is because the demand for healthcare services is constantly growing – especially of late. The baby boomer population is now aging, the elderly population is growing, and they are requiring more medical attention than ever before. Not to mention, advanced medical research is bringing new conditions and treatments to light – also increasing the demand for quality healthcare.
Within the booming healthcare industry, there is the field of Occupational Therapy. There is also a growing need for skilled Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) to help ease all the demand. If you’re considering becoming an OTA, now is your time to shine.
The OTA job outlook is well on the rise.
The occupational outlook for Occupational Therapy Assistants is looking bright, and employment of OTAs is increasing rapidly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, OTA jobs will grow 29 percent by the year 2026 – a rate more than four times the average for all occupations! This translates to more than 13,200 job openings nationwide for aspiring Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides.
In Connecticut, Occupational Therapy Assistants are ranked among the top five, fastest-growing jobs in the state. According to the CT Department of Labor, the OTA job outlook shows an estimated 27 percent increase in job openings across the state.
What makes OTA jobs so important?
Occupational Therapy Assistants help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living – walking, eating, working, and more. Sometimes, OTAs will help patients carry out therapeutic exercises, such as stretching, to recover from injuries or debilitating conditions like arthritis. You may also find an OTA working with children who have developmental disabilities, helping them develop coordination as well as hone cognitive, social, and motor skills. OTAs often work with elderly populations, but may also work with children, mental health patients, people needing rehabilitation therapy, in workplaces that involve physical labor. All in all, the OTA job description involves helping people limited by illness, injury, emotional disorders, developmental disabilities, or the aging process.
Older adults are particularly prone to conditions like arthritis and stroke, which often perturb a person’s ability to perform everyday activities or carry out basic life skills. Occupational Therapy Assistants help these older patients recover those essential skills through a variety of evidence-based therapies and treatments. For this reason, long-term care facilities like nursing homes and other healthcare providers are looking to employ more OTAs to fulfill the aging population’s growing need for occupational therapy services.
How much do Occupational Therapy Assistants make?
On average across the U.S., Occupational Therapy Assistants make $59,310 annually. However, in Connecticut, OTAs make significantly more. The average OTA salary in Connecticut is now over $64,000 a year. With a burgeoning OTA job outlook and such great salary potential, Connecticut proves to be a great state of work for aspiring Occupational Therapy Assistants.
How do you become an OTA in Connecticut?
If you are considering an OTA career in Connecticut, you will need to obtain an associate degree from an accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant school. In order to be eligible for licensure in the state, you will also need to complete at least eight weeks of field work experience during your OTA program, and successfully pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination.
An OTA program will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to pass your certification exam and become successful in the field. In Goodwin’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program, for example, you will learn the principles of occupational therapy and how they relate to specific populations, as well as the application of recognized therapies in the field. You will gain hands-on experience fabricating splints, providing therapeutic exercises and functional activities, and training in the activities of daily living. Through classroom and fieldwork learning, you can also expect to learn how to adapt to home, work, and school environments, for whatever case comes your way.
Goodwin’s OTA students are required to complete multiple rounds of fieldwork. Here, we believe that hands-on training, under trained Occupational Therapy professionals, is the best way to hone one’s skills. Students prepare to work in a variety of settings – hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers, schools, pediatrics, geriatrics, home healthcare, alternative communities – and gain experience with real-life patients.
The growing demand for occupational services, the bright (and secure) OTA job outlook, the high earning potential, the rewarding career outcomes – there is no doubt that now is the time to begin an OTA career. Why wait? Contact Goodwin College at 800-889-3282 to learn more about earning an Occupational Therapy Assistant degree in CT.