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Should I become an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

By Susan - Sunday 5 Apr 11:00 am

Choosing to become an occupational therapy assistant is by no means downgrading from occupational therapist. Your level of skill must still be competitive and you must still possess an earnest desire to help people with disabilities. You will also be required to work hands on with patients in assisting them through their phases of healing and rehabilitation by various means of treatment and initiating exercises. An occupational therapy assistant is just as important to the job as the occupational therapist is.

By being an occupational therapy assistant, you are opening yourself up to the world of occupational therapy by taking the passenger seat in all business operations and consultations. It is an excellent platform to view the workings of an occupational therapist’s rooms and further decipher if that is the route that you will take in the future. Many occupational therapy assistants opt to remain in that position for the rest of their careers, by choice and not by circumstance. In fact many occupational therapy assistants chose to study for that very position and never had any intention of becoming a fully fledged occupational therapist.

Occupational therapy assistants are considered entry level positions for occupational therapists, and it is not unusual for all occupational therapists to have been an assistant at one point in their careers or another. With most Universities you are required to complete an internship as a part of your studies, and the most common position held for this learning period is an occupational therapy assistant, learning your practical skills from a licensed occupational therapist. It is also not uncommon for students to feel so comfortable and at ease in this position that they opt to stay there, as mentioned previously.

Basic occupational therapy assistant’s duties include preparing patients for their consultations, handling the signing in and registration of new clients before their first consultation, doing basic exercises or activities with patients that don’t require the supervision of the occupational therapist, carrying out administrative duties for the office or rooms such as keeping patient’s details up to date and in order. Occupational therapy assistants will also be available to handle the overflow of patients for the occupational therapist, if there is ever the need due to an emergency situation.

Other more interesting duties that occupational therapy assistants will pursue are possibly to be given some of the less complicated disabilities to work with and will be required to carry out exercises, activities, stretches, small movements with these patients. They will also be required to give a full report back to the occupational therapist in charge. They would have the opportunity to help patients to improve their fine motor coordination as well as gross motor skills through exercises and stretches. The occupational therapy assistant would also have the chance to help patients learn valuable life skills to improve their lifestyle, living states and overall health and wellbeing.

By being an occupational therapy assistant, you are by no means signing up for the easy road. Your job will still be as challenging and motivating as that of an occupational therapist.

Posted in: Job Search, Therapy Jobs


3 Responses to “Should I become an Occupational Therapy Assistant?”

  1. Diana Murphy on March 8th, 2009 9:10 pm

    I have not yet begun the program for this, I am in school at this time getting my pre-requisites out of the way. I am excited that there is now an opportunity to get a degree or certification to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant. I am looking forward to have a chance to start my career in less time than it takes to get the full degree. I will be job shadowing an Occupational Therapist at our local hospital in Warrensburg, MO.

    I have very excited to do this. She has planned a day that will include many different ages of patient and several different types of therapy used. She is also planning on exlaining what the assistant would be doing . I have always wanted to help people and realized this si a career that touches all of the areas I have wished to be a part of including the mental and emotional aspects of the process. I would be interested in any more information you have on schools grants scholarships, etc.

    Diana Murphy – Student

  2. April on October 18th, 2009 2:47 pm

    This post was very helpful to me. I am currently a student at IUPUI majoring in Elementary Education with a dual license in special education, but I want to be more one on one with kids. I feel that OT is something I would really enjoy, but want to get into the field as soon as I can. So I shadowed an OT at Rise Learning Center in Indianapolis, IN and she mentioned OT assistance. I feel like this is a wonderful job for me, but now trying to find a place to go in Indianapolis, IN.

    I want to shadow in other settings than just school so I am excited to find more places to shadow:)

  3. GirlfrimIndiana on August 7th, 2012 11:52 pm

    IUPUI offers an OT major. Brown Mackie in Merriville offers OTA program. USI offers OT masters. That’s all I know for Indiana. Best of luck!

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