What Do Occupational Therapy Assistants Do?
Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) work under the direction of occupational therapists to provide rehabilitative services to patients with physical, emotional, or developmental impairments. They help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.
Following a treatment plan developed by an occupational therapist, OTAs may assist patients with activities and exercises designed to improve strength and endurance, balance and coordination, mobility, hand and leg functions, self-care skills, and judgment and problem solving abilities in daily life.
OTAs encourage a patient’s progress and may monitor and chart an individual’s activities to make sure the exercises and tasks are performed correctly. OTAs report any issuses or concerns to the supervising occupational therapist.
For more information, go to: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm.
Where Do Occupational Therapy Assistants Work?
OTAs are primarily employed in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, occupational therapists’ offices, health clinics, and public schools.
What Do Occupational Therapy Assistants Earn?
According to the 2019 BLS, the average salary for full time, occupational therapy assistants nationwide was $61,880, varying by specialty and geographic region. Average annual salary also varies greatly across New York State, depending on location. The NYSDOL reports that occupational therapy assistants in New York earned an average annual salary of $63,270, (entry level-$42,960, experienced- $81,680).
Supply and Demand
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of OTA jobs in New York will increase by 29.7% between 2016 and 2026, and will increase nationwide by 28.9% during the same time period.
The strong growth of the OTA workforce is attributed in part to the rising number of aging Americans who will need rehabilitative services for disabling or chronic conditions. In addition, technological advances are increasing the survival rate for patients with critical or chronic health problems and offering new methods of effective treatment as well, all of which will increase demand for occupational therapy rehabilitative services.
For more information on projections of OTAs by New York State labor regions (2014-2024), click here.
New York Education Program Requirements
To meet the professional education requirement for authorization as an OTA, one must complete a post-secondary program in occupational therapy of at least two years duration that is satisfactory to the New York State Education Department, or a two-year associate degree program for OTAs that is either approved by the New York State Education Department or accedited by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Coursework for OTAs will include anatomy and physiology and topics such as mental health, adult physical disabilities, gerontology, and pediatrics. Students must also complete supervised fieldwork in a clinic or community setting to focus on the development of their clinical skills and gain real-life experience.
New York Licensure Requirements
In order to be authorized as an OTA in New York, an applicant must successfully complete a two-year OTA education program (see the description of Education, above). There is no examination requirement for authorization or certification as an OTA, and OTAs are not licensed in New York.
For more information, go to: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/ot/otlic.htm.
For information about financial aid. loan programs, and scholarships for OTA students, please visit the AOTA Web site: http://www.aota.org/Education-Careers/Find-School/Aid.aspx.
Education Programs in New York (subject to change)
|Erie Community College
6205 Main Street
Williamsville, NY 14221
|Jamestown Community College
525 Falconer Street
Jamestown, NY 14702
|LaGuardia Community College
31-10 Thomson Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101
700 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
|Orange County Community College
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940
|Rockland Community College
145 College Road
Suffern, NY 10901
|Suffolk County Community College
101 Crooked Hill Road
Brentwood, NY 11717
|Bryant & Stratton College
854 Long Pond Rd.
Rochester, NY 14612
953 James Street
Syracuse, NY 13203
|Villa Maria College
240 Pine Ridge Rd.
Buffalo, NY 14225
|Cayuga Community College
11 Glen River Drive
Fulton, NY 13069
Additional Web Links
For more information on OTAs, go to:
The American Occupational Therapy Association Web site at: http://www.aota.org;
The New York State Occupational Therapy Association Web site at: http://www.nysota.org.