What Can I Do as an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

If you want a career that merges your desire to help people with your desire for fun and creativity, becoming an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) is your ticket to success.

By: Bailey Gerber & Jake Hreha

If you want a career that merges your desire to help people with your desire for fun and creativity, becoming an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) is your ticket to success. As an OTA, your primary goal is empowering patients of all ages to participate in the life skills and activities they want to do. Occupational therapy services provide the guidance and support many people need.

What Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Do?

“Occupational therapy assistants ask ‘What matters to you?’ not, ‘What’s the matter with you?’” says Julie Carson, director of IWU-National & Global’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. When you pursue a career as an occupational therapist, you help people reach new heights in life and overcome illnesses, injuries, and disabilities. Here are a few highlights of becoming an OTA:

Two-Year Degree

One of the best parts of becoming an OTA is that you can start your career in two years, rather than the standard four years. Occupational therapy assistant education gets you into the workforce faster – without holding you back from doing what you love.

Are you wondering if you should pursue a four-year degree instead of a two-year degree? Believe it or not, the career outlook is better for OTAs than it is for occupational therapists (OTs). The demand for OTAs is expected to grow by 36%through 2030, which means there will be no shortage of job opportunities for OTA graduates.

Patient Interaction

If you want to work face-to-face with patients – both individually and in group settings – you’ll love being an OTA. While you will have some paperwork responsibilities, the bulk of the work of occupational therapy aides will be equipping and empowering patients of all ages and backgrounds to reach their goals.

In larger practices, OTAs often get to do more hands-on work than occupational therapists because OTs spend time assessing patients, creating a treatment plan, and evaluating progress. Occupational therapy education is longer than that of OTAs. Occupational therapy assistants work to carry out treatment plans created by OTs, working directly with patients to enhance their skills.

Diverse Workplace Opportunities

An occupational therapy assistant works with many different types of patients in a variety of workplaces. You can pursue a more traditional career in a hospital setting, or you can go a different direction. OTAs can find careers in:

  • Therapists’ Private Practices
  • Schools & Educational Services
  • Nursing Care Facilities
  • Home Healthcare Services
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Retirement Communities

Additionally occupational therapists offices can be found in many towns and cities making it possible to work in the area you would like to live.

Become an Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Because of the wide variety of services OTAs offer, their jobs will be in demand for years to come. The American Occupational Therapy Association shared that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that occupational therapy assistant is the 13th fastest grow U.S. healthcare job. Children with developmental disabilities, people with chronic or degenerative illnesses, and aging citizens can all benefit from occupational therapy; it’s a career that empowers people to achieve as much independence as possible through creative and personalized means.

If you want to make a difference in others’ lives, become an OTA. IWU’s OTA program, based at the Greenwood Education Center just south of Indianapolis, features state-of-the-art lab facilities and clinically experienced faculty who are dedicated to helping you thrive in your career.

Bailey Gerber

Content Creator, IWU-National and Global

Bailey Gerber is a vocabulary geek and grammar enthusiast at IWU – National and Global, so she spends most of her time writing and reviewing webpages, video scripts, flyers, and – of course – blog articles. She loves all things involving words, and in her spare time you’ll find her buried in a book (probably with a cup of coffee in hand).

Jake Hreha

SEO Copywriter, IWU

Jake Hreha is a graduate of Ball State University, where he majored in advertising with a concentration in media presentation and design. He is passionate about design, and in his free time he enjoys cycling, traveling, and reading.

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Celebrating the Achievement of Occupational Therapy Doctorate Graduates

Indiana Wesleyan University Celebrates the Achievements of Occupational Therapy Doctorate Graduates

Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) is proud to announce recent accomplishments of three occupational therapy doctorate program graduates, highlighting their impactful capstone projects and contributions to the field of occupational therapy. Under the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Rachel Timmons, Doctoral Capstone Coordinator and various faculty mentors, these graduates have demonstrated