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Healthcare Occupational Therapy Assistant
Salary Range Jobs Available
$47,700 - $83,100 7,800+

What Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Do?

An occupational therapy assistant improves patients' lives by helping them relearn how to perform routine daily living activities.

An occupational therapy assistant (OTA) works with an occupational therapist to provide treatment plans for patients recovering from an illness or traumatic injury. Their goal is to help the patient function independently. The therapist creates the plan, but the assistant is more likely to work with the patient directly. 

Some OTAs work with adults, teaching them how to regain lost motor skills. Others work with children or patients of any age who have learning disabilities, behavioral problems, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or other physical or mental disabilities. For example, an occupational therapy assistant could use play activities to teach a child coordination and socialization skills.

OTAs work with clients in their homes, at hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools, community centers and private clinics.

Another name associated with this profession is occupational therapy aide, but there’s a difference. While occupational therapy assistants work directly with patients, occupational therapy aides typically perform support activities, including preparing equipment for sessions and doing administrative tasks.

Keep reading to learn more about this career, one of the most in-demand healthcare professions!

An occupational therapy assistant helps a patient in a therapy session to improve mobility
The job outlook for occupational therapy assistants is projected to grow 36% from 2020 to 2030. That’s one of the fastest job growth rates for any health care occupation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Credit: ALPA PROD/Shutterstock)


  • Evaluate patient abilities
  • Consult with occupational therapist to find the most effective activity or rehabilitation program
  • Assist patients with therapeutic activities, such as stretches and other exercises
  • Ensure patients are doing exercises correctly and encourage them to keep going
  • Teach patients exercise and therapy programs to be done at home, including use of equipment
  • Record patients’ progress

How To Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant: FAQs

The bottom line:

If you’re a problem-solver, being a therapy assistant is a rewarding way to use your skills while helping others. You can earn a good salary and enjoy the benefits of a profession that allows you to become a specialist or to focus on helping a wide array of people. If this sounds like you, check out SkillPointe’s training opportunities!

Occupational therapy assistant CG Polirer (far left) enjoys her job because it offers her the freedom to spend time with her family.

What is it like to be an OTA?

CG Polirer enjoys providing patients with the necessary tools to accomplish their day-to-day tasks. 

“Seeing them achieve their independence is rewarding,” she says.

It’s not an easy job, she warns. Read more about why she calls it an "extremely rewarding" profession.

Local Certifications and Requirements

You may need a state license or certificate before you can work in a specific career in your state. Different states may also have different education and experience requirements, fees and application forms. The good news - we make it super easy to find what you need to begin your new career. Just enter your zip code to get started.

Find Occupational Therapy Assistant Training In Your Area

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