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Occupational therapy is a field that focuses on helping individuals maintain the necessary mobility and function to complete their everyday jobs. If you've never suffered from an injury or illness that impacted your mobility, you may take your dexterity and range of motion for granted. However, there are many instances where individuals are at the risk of losing their ability to move easily and efficiently. Occupational therapists and their assistants help these patients perform the necessary exercises to train their bodies how to move properly again.
If you have a passion for helping others as well as an interest in human anatomy and physiology, a career as an occupational therapy assistant may be a good fit. You'll need dedication, patience, strong people skills, and an encouraging attitude. Read more to find out if this career is in your future.
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.
Occupational therapy assistants have an outstanding career outlook in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates employment growth of 29 percent between 2016 and 2026. This is more than four times the expected growth for all United States occupations on average.
Much of the career growth in this area is expected as the result of an aging baby boomer generation. As this generation gets older, they're more likely to sustain the types of falls and injuries that require the assistance of an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy assistants help provide much of the same care as licensed occupational therapists. However, they're more affordable to employ in a practice, and can help an occupational therapist's office to effectively serve a larger number of patients.
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.
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:
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.
Please note that data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is for informational purposes only. This does not serve as a guarantee of employment opportunities or job availability. You should use this information to get a general idea of the anticipated outlook in an area, keeping in mind that economic patterns and market trends can change at any time.
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.