Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) enjoy a meaningful and stable career in the healthcare field. This important role makes a real difference in patients’ lives every day. If you are considering this career path, you may be looking to learn more about your options after graduation. You might ask yourself, “Where do OTAs work?” and, “What types of patient demographics can you work with?” These are great questions to ask before entering the field.
Occupational Therapy Assistants enjoy a wide range of work settings and experiences. They also enjoy a solid salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), OTAs earned a median annual income of $60,950 in 2019. These professionals can also rest assured that their jobs are secure. In fact, the BLS expects employment of OTAs to grow 35% over the next several years, which is more than seven times the average rate for all occupations.
Still, you may be looking to learn more and get the answer to that burning question: Where do Occupational Therapy Assistants work? Read on, as we explore some of the work environments you can pursue after completing occupational therapy assisting school.
Clinics and Care Facilities
Occupational Therapy Assistants held about 8,000 jobs in 2019, according to the BLS. The biggest percentage of these positions (47%) were found at the private offices of physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and audiologists’ offices.
Occupational therapy clinics will sometimes share workspace with other caregivers like these physical therapists, who may work with the same patients. These collaborative spaces allow for OTAs to work with a range of healthcare professionals, both in and outside of their specialty.
The next, largest percentage of OTAs work in hospital settings. Integrating occupational therapy with acute care means that OTAs often work in hospitals – state, local, and private – with patients recovering from critical medical conditions. In this setting, OTAs work with patients who have suddenly lost skills due to serious injuries, strokes, or other traumatic events. OTAs play a critical role in the recovery process for these patients. Working at a hospital means regularly working alongside doctors and nurses, and the treatment plans they provide will include occupational therapy services.
Prospective OTAs who have a special place in their hearts for seniors, will find comfort in this career option. In nursing homes, OTAs help provide geriatric patients with a better quality of life. They do this by helping residents practice the daily life skills needed to maintain their independence. Additionally, OTAs provide the elderly with solutions for medical issues like injury, dementia, Parkinson’s, and other chronic illnesses.
Occupational Therapists and Assistants are often well-staffed at nursing homes, due to the high need in these facilities. OTAs work alongside OT, PT, and many other medical professionals in order to help their elderly patients live as independently as possible.
OTAs in nursing homes often learn about their patients’ lifetime habits, background, and former occupations. They also learn about their preferences, so they can further personalize each resident’s treatment needs.
Homes and Schools
An important part of being an OTA is helping clients with their daily activities. Many of these simple acts happen at home. Whether it is getting dressed, preparing a meal, or tidying up household messes, the work of an OTA helps people perform even the most basic daily functions of living. Working in a client’s personal living space allows these professionals to get an up-close look at how clients are using – and improving upon – their skills. It also means that the OTA can ensure the environment is set up for the client’s individual needs.
Occupational Therapy Assistants work within a variety of settings and with a variety of clientele. People of all walks of life and every age require occupational therapy services. A small percentage of OTAs work in schools. You can find work at every level of education – from elementary school to college – where these services are a part of student health facilities.
Choosing the Workplace That’s Right for You
There is a wide array of work settings for those interested in a career in occupational therapy assisting. From children to the elderly, people of all ages need this important medical service. In addition to the work environments we just mentioned, OTAs are also found in the following settings:
- In-patient drug & alcohol rehab centers
- Halfway houses
- Military bases
- Pediatric hospitals
- And more!
With the right education and a drive to succeed, you can take your pick of work environments within the field of occupational therapy assisting. OTAs enjoy an exciting, hands-on, challenging, and most of all, rewarding professional life.
Are you ready to jump into this growing field? Start the path to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant with the associate degree program at Goodwin University. Contact us at 1-800-889-3282 or click here to request more information.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.