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Work with all ages in a variety of settings
Career Highlight: $55,270 median wage
Are you interested in the work of occupational therapy assistants? Occupational therapy is a health rehabilitation profession that uses activities as treatment to help people of all ages perform the skills they need to live as independently as possible. Occupational therapy assistant programs teach students the knowledge and skills needed for assessment and execution of tasks with their clients that lead to more productive, active lifestyles and independence. Certified occupational therapist assistants (COTA’s) assist with the evaluation and treatment of individuals with injuries, illnesses, cognitive impairments, psychosocial dysfunctions, mental illness, developmental or learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or other disorders or conditions. Under the supervision of occupational therapists (OTs), COTAs, who have completed occupational therapy assistant programs:
(1) Contribute to the evaluation process through the administration of assessments (standardized and non-standardized) for which they have established competency; and
(2) Implement therapeutic interventions which use purposeful activity for developing, improving, sustaining or restoring function in areas of occupation including daily living skills, instrumental activities of daily living, work performance, educational performance, social participation and leisure activities. The performance skills (motor, process and interaction) and client factors (mental, neuromusculoskeletal and sensory) are the elements of performance in which certified occupational therapy assistants intervene for the purpose of attaining an individual’s highest level of functional independence within the appropriate environmental context. Under the supervision of an OT, COTAs also assist in the design, development, adaptation, application or training in the use of assistive technology devices; the design, fabrication or application of orthotic devices; the training in the use of orthotic or prosthetic devices; application of physical agent modalities; and the adaptation of environments and processes to enhance functional performance.
The associate-degree-level occupational therapy assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE's telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonine.org. Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.