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Occupational Therapist Assistants And Aides Career

Career Description

Occupational Therapist Assistants and Aides perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing patient and treatment room.

Common Work Tasks

  • Provide rehabilitative services to persons with mental, physical, emotional, or developmental impairments
  • Help injured workers re-enter the labor force by teaching them how to compensate for lost motor skills or help individuals with learning disabilities increase their independence
  • Help clients with rehabilitative activities and exercises outlined in a treatment plan developed in collaboration with an occupational therapist
  • Monitor an individual’s activities to make sure that they are performed correctly and to provide encouragement
  • Record their client’s progress for the occupational therapist
  • Prepare materials and assemble equipment used during treatment
  • Schedule appointments, answer the telephone,  restock or order depleted supplies, and fill out insurance forms or other paperwork
  • Observe patients’ attendance, progress,  attitudes, and accomplishments and record and maintain information in client records
  • Evaluate the living skills and capacities of physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabled clients
  • Instruct patients and families in work, social,  and living skills, the care and use of adaptive equipment, and other skills to facilitate home and work adjustment to disability

Other Job Titles

Occupational Therapist Assistants and Aides are also known by other titles, including:

  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • Occupational Therapy Aides
  • Occupational Counselors
  • Physical Therapists

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
An associate degree or a certificate from an accredited community college or technical school is generally required to qualify for occupational therapist assistant jobs. In contrast, occupational therapist aides usually receive most of their training on the job.

Certification and Licensure
In most States, occupational therapist assistants are regulated and must pass a national certification examination after they graduate. Those who pass the test are awarded the title “Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.”

Assistants and aides must be responsible, patient, and willing to take directions and work as part of a team. Furthermore, they should be caring and want to help people who are not able to help themselves.


The median annual salary for an Occupational Therapist Assistant and Aide is $45,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $62,000,  and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $28,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of occupational therapist assistants and aides are:

  • Offices of Other Health Practitioners - $47,970
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals - $42,970
  • Nursing Care Facilities - $46,290
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools  - $41,640
  • Specialty Hospitals - $45,060

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  25%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 8,200
  • Employment 2006 : 33,000
  • Employment 2016:  41,000
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