An associate degree is required to become an occupational therapy assistant, which is a degree program typically found through community and technical colleges. OTAs help patients through therapeutic activities, work with children who have development disabilities, teach patients how to use special equipment, develop treatment plans in collaboration with an occupational therapist, and record patients? progress. OTAs work under the supervision of occupational therapists and therefore must report to them. Most occupational therapist assistants work in occupational therapy or physical therapy offices, but an individual may also find employment in nursing care facilities; home health care services; elementary and secondary schools; and state, local, and private medical and surgical hospitals. Most states require occupational therapy assistants to be licensed.
Students should expect courses in human growth and development, anatomy, physiology, occupational therapy principles, humanities, sociology, medical conditions, developmental disabilities, and psychosocial dysfunction. Students learn different exercise techniques, disability types, rehabilitation routines, treatment plans, and proper record keeping. They also develop their analysis and communication skills, as well as assorted office skills.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapy assistants have a job outlook of 41 percent, which is must larger than average, and the median annual wage in May 2010 was $51,010.