Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistant

What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant? 

An occupational therapy assistant is a professional who helps patients recover, maintain, and improve mobility for daily tasks. They often work with patients who have suffered a major injury and need to regain their previous ability to perform everyday functions. They may also assist patients with chronic illnesses that make it difficult for them to move. In these instances, it requires additional work for the patient to maintain their existing mobility and flexibility. 

Occupational therapy assistants will use a targeted set of movements and exercises to help the patient with his or her individual needs. These will vary from one patient to another. The care and assistance provided by an occupational therapy assistant is always carefully tailored to the individual that he or she is working with. 

As an occupational therapy assistant, you would work closely with an occupational therapist who will prescribe the appropriate regimen for the patient. These assistants will help the patient maintain this regimen and observe and record their progress, communicating closely with the occupational therapist at every stage. 

Job Responsibilities: 

  • Assist patients with activities, like stretching, pushing and pulling, among others 
  • Help children with developmental disabilities, in social and coordination-based activities 
  • Maintain an encouraging manner throughout patients’ progression 
  • Educate patients on proper use of equipment 
  • Observe and record patients’ progress 
  • Assist patients with forms and minor billing issues 
  • Answering patient calls and assist with basic questions 
  • Report to occupational therapists and fulfill administrative functions 

What is the Career Outlook for Occupational Therapy Assistants?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that overall employment of occupational therapy assistants and aides is projected to grow 23 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.  

About 8,600 openings for occupational therapy assistants and aides are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.  

Demand for occupational therapy is likely to grow over the decade in response to the healthcare needs of an aging population.  

Older adults are more prone than young people to conditions and ailments, such as arthritis and strokes, that may affect the ability to do everyday activities. Occupational therapy assistants and aides will be needed to help occupational therapists in caring for these patients. Occupational therapy also will continue to be used in treating children and young adults with developmental disorders, such as autism.  

Healthcare providers, especially those specializing in long-term care, will continue to employ occupational therapy assistants to reduce the cost of occupational therapy services. 

What Training is Required to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

It’s important to note that this is not a career you can learn entirely from a book. You must see and feel the way the body moves and how the therapeutic equipment and tools are operated. Working with patients and equipment in person is the only way to gain the experience that you need to truly succeed in this field. 

A good first step toward a career in this field is the Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate Degree from Bryant & Stratton College. This program includes essential coursework, covering topics such as occupational therapy process, human movement for occupation, physical disability intervention, and psychosocial intervention. This program also includes the fieldwork that’s necessary to complete your degree and prepare you for employment in this field. 

What Can I Do with an AAS Occupational Therapy Assistant?

With an AAS Occupational Therapy Assistant, you’ll be equipped for many jobs in occupational therapy. These careers can go by many names. As you’re conducting your job search, you should keep an eye out for titles such as: 

  • Acute care occupational therapy assistant 
  • Certified occupational therapy assistant 
  • Occupational therapy aide 
  • Pediatric occupational therapy assistant 

This is a rewarding career where you’ll have the opportunity to make a very visible change in the lives of your patients. Start exploring your opportunities for a successful future as an occupational therapy assistant today. 

For more insights into your career possibilities with an AAS Occupational Therapy Assistant, check out the healthcare degree section of our blog. Here you’ll find valuable information to help you plan your future as an occupational therapy assistant. 

While these projections can help career-minded people evaluate potential employment fields, it is important to note that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is only intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities. It should not be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Neither BLS nor Bryant & Stratton College can guarantee employment in any field.

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For 170 years, we’ve been meeting students where they are and helping them get ahead. From flexible class schedules to equipping students with their own personal success teams, Bryant & Stratton College is built differently to better serve the needs of students.

Designed to Fit Your Life

For 170 years, we’ve been meeting students where they are and helping them get ahead. From flexible class schedules to equipping students with their own personal success teams, Bryant & Stratton College is built differently to better serve the needs of students.

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