There is a great deal of overlap and ultimately you will work with many of the same children on many of the same goals. According to the BLS, the median wage for OTAs is $60,220, though it varies considerably by location. While the American Occupational Therapy Association is a great resource, your admissions advisor can also help you. But if you can stomach through it, you’ll leave at the end of the day knowing you’ve made a difference. OTA fieldwork at Mona’s Ark Mona’s Ark is one of St. Kate’s many fieldwork partnerships. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. They have more education, after all. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Should I Become an OTA? Hate driving and long commutes? If you have no intentions of moving after school, you’ll want to research opportunities in your area. You might even reach out to local OTs and OTAs to get a feel for what’s available near you. If you decide to work as a COTA, there is certain amount of autonomy and responsibility that you lose. This is due to a variety of factors, including (but not limited to) living in areas with too many OT and COTA programs, fewer settings hiring COTAs (due to needing evaluating therapists), upcoming Medicare changes, and so on. When researching careers, there’s one thing everyone wants to know: What the job market looks like. In this article, I cover both the pros and cons of working as a PRN occupational therapist. While the true reward of being an OTA is going home knowing you are making a difference, you’ll be happy to know that being an occupational therapy assistant can pay quite well. For example, in labs, students practice helping clients out of wheelchairs and beds in ways that minimize the risk of hurting themselves in the process. This is a factor that has to be considered. This will help you decide if it’s the right career move for you. However, there is also a benefit. l would like assistant in obtaining reading materials and therapeutic equipments and tools since it is challenging to get them here. Before PPS, people use to say jobs for therapists and assistants would continue to be in great supply and that PPS would never happen. An OT may only treat their patient for the evaluation, progress note updates, and discharge. Pros and Cons of Becoming an Occupational Therapist. If a patient’s treatment somehow causes harm (although unlikely), it is the role of the supervising occupational therapist to accept responsibility and make amends however necessary. When considering how much money you can earn working in occupational therapy, you also have to consider the initial investment of the education. Once you begin working in the field of occupational therapy, you most likely are going to stay working in that position. With any profession, there are always going to be pros and cons. PRN occupational therapy: There is a lot to say about it, and because I’ve been a PRN (or per diem) occupational therapist for over five years now, I really wanted to share my PRN experiences (the good AND the bad). Becoming an OTA is a great way to experience the field of occupational therapy without needing to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree. You can become a doctor, travel nurse, and occupational therapist. assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. Being a COTA myself, I am laying out my list of all the pros and cons in this post in hopes it will help you decide if you want to go the COTA route. All too often, occupational therapists come out of school and are eager to work with people, only to find that a majority of their time is spent handling paperwork, helping plan discharges, and doing other administrative things. These are the pros and cons of the career. If Level II Fieldwork opportunities cannot be found nearby, you may need to relocate temporarily for this final step of your OTA education. A quick search of OTA jobs reveals a wide variety of full-time and part-time opportunities. If you’re seeking a career that allows you to change lives, look no further. In most companies and states, a certified occupational therapy assistant can also work in this position. Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. On top of that, an OT will also learn techniques for evaluation, billing practices, supervision, and the theory that makes occupational therapy work. As there is with any job, there are pros and cons to working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Of course, a COTA is not completely without blame. Meanwhile, the COTA is the one handling the routine treatments day in and day out. When you enroll in the program, a fieldwork coordinator will work with you to find Level II Fieldwork opportunities near where you live. Though the majority of clients are gracious and appreciate everything you are doing for them, some are going to be negative about their conditions and need a lot of encouragement. All schooling is done within two years, as opposed to spending five years in college to become a PT. It is only reasonable for the patient or family to want to know details about progress and discharge. Are you a practicing certified occupational therapy assistant? If you’re ready to embark on your OTA school journey, give us a call today to learn more about our Online OTA program, or fill out the form to have an admissions counselor call you. The most important thing to remember for a COTA working in a management position is not blurring the line between managing the operations of a facility and dictating the outcomes of evaluations or other decisions. “I always tell people considering being a travel therapist to think about the pros and cons,” said Host Healthcare recruiter Sarah Powell. If you’re ready to embark on your OTA school journey, give us a call today to learn more about our Online OTA program, or fill out the form to have an admissions counselor call you. What other pros and cons would you add? According to the same 2010 report, occupational therapy assistants averaged $51,010 in annual income. Pros and Cons comparison chart of becoming an OTA. This ensures you graduate with a wealth of experience in real-life practice settings. Positives. If you are not yet a member of AOTA, join now and take advantage of all the member benefits, including full access to our Web site with its wealth of resources updated almost every day. Pro: Short training time Most certified nursing assistant programs take between 4 … Our innovative, online curriculum means that you can complete the majority of your studies on your schedule, where it’s convenient for you, while still getting the hands-on training and experience you need. OTAs work within six practice areas, encompassing the full human life spectrum, meaning they can find work in a number of settings. Improving the quality of life for your clients is essential to success. There are a number of basic differences between the two outlined here, but we thought it would be great to share the experiences of an actual COTA. “There are certainly a lot of advantages. In their third semester, Online OTA students participate in an intensive NBCOT Prep Coaching Program featuring a seven-week study plan custom-tailored to their needs, weekly group study sessions, and one-on-one coaching sessions with a licensed OT practitioner. As with any job, there are pros and cons to an occupational therapy assistant career. St. Catherine University’s online OTA program could have you graduating with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in just 16 months. COTAs, or Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, do a lot of the same work that OTs do. Whether near or far, our Online OTA program is for you. Occupational therapy assistants work under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist and help patients learn techniques to improve activities of daily living like brushing their teeth, dressing, grooming and hygiene, feeding themselves and many other activities. If you do not live near one of our learning sites in California, Texas or Virginia, you’ll need to travel to the once-monthly skills labs and Level I Fieldwork. Not to denigrate their roles and MAs and CNAs do have to pass an exam but the word assistant implies that we are not therapists. Depending on the client’s needs and situation, you could work with any number of medical disciplines. Just be ready to give that elevator speech on “What Is Occupational Therapy?”. The hands-on portion of our Online OTA program consists of: While that may sound like a lot, it’s important to note that you will only need to travel for once-monthly skills labs and two Level I Fieldwork sessions — something many of our students do. by Morgan Kurtz, MS, OTR/L. They may rely on physical therapist assistants, or PT assistants, to help with such tasks as observing patients, demonstrating assistive devices and recording progress. 1. 9 min read 8.3k views ... but after living in a condensed area with several occupational therapy (OT) schools, I opened my search up to contractor opportunities with apprehension. Keep in mind that as part of your Level II Fieldwork, you will spend 320 hours in a physical disabilities setting and another 320 hours in an emerging practice setting. Or perhaps you had a loved one recover from a stroke or some other condition so now you want to help others in a similar way. Also worth considering are the insurance and state practice acts governing what and how much OTAs can do in your state, and how much training is required. How is this possible? More about what is a CNA Nurse Assistant. Here are a few of the advantages and drawbacks of working as a CNA. Certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs) help patients recover, improve and develop skills that are crucial to working and living. Let’s be honest … every job has its upsides and its downsides. Some OTAs work weekends, and may even prefer it. When an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) goes to work, each day is different. In all these instances, it’s important to remember why you got into this field in the first place: to make a difference. Related Post: Wherever you live, our Online OTA program isn’t that far away. This means big opportunities for people who enter the field. Obviously, a registered occupational therapist (OTR) holding a master’s or doctorate degree is going to earn more per hour than an occupational therapy assistant with an associate’s degree. The work can also get hectic at times as you also take the role of caretakers for the special individuals during your therapy session. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Many times, new graduate occupational therapists may ask the seasoned occupational therapy assistants in their department for advice on specific cases or difficult patients. Occupational Therapy Assistants assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures. An occupational therapist can become a director of rehab or program manager, and honestly make some of the best DORs. The future is bright for anyone considering becoming an OTA. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Still, the majority of the responsibility of handling this will fall to the supervising occupational therapist. With St. Catherine University’s Online OTA program, you can study to become an OTA without needing to relocate, so long as you are willing to travel to one of our learning sites in California, Texas or Virginia. Additionally, while your fieldwork coordinator will work diligently to find you Level II Fieldwork opportunities near where you live, if nothing can be found in your immediate area, you may be required to commute or even relocate temporarily to complete the required 640 hours of supervised practice. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. The nature of an OTA’s job requires that they teach the skills of daily living. Outpatient Therapy However, it’s not just the demand that makes this little-known field an attractive career option …. Occupational therapy assistants work under the guidance of an occupational therapist, who conducts the client evaluation and assessment, then comes up with treatment goals and a big-picture plan for accomplishing them. Fortunately, students of St. Kate’s Online Occupational Therapy Assistant program have an advantage over OTA students at other schools. Ability to be supportive to patients and set up a great working environment for them on the road to become healthy. This gives OTAs significant room for creativity in how they approach and accomplish these goals. When this is done properly, it can make for an effective and productive therapy environment and an enjoyable workplace. It is overall easier in general for occupational therapists to get hired on for a position compared to their COTA counterparts due to the OT being able to do all of paperwork components (evaluations, progress notes, and discharges). Licensed nurses and with less than a 2 year degree are still called nurses, as well as RNs with AS degrees whereas Certified Nursing Assistants have less education than COTAs or PTAs. If you’re looking to become an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant, it’s important to know and anticipate these “ugly” types of situations. However, both levels of education focus on the same amount on patient treatment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the number of working OTAs will increase by a whopping 33% between 2018 and 2028. So, here we expound on some of the cons of having a career in home health. I can only answer from a pediatric therapy perspective. There are many articles out there that recommend becoming a COTA for those who are thinking about becoming an OT, and then simply transitioning. But remember, every coin has two sides. Pros and Cons of Being a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. The OT will make the final decision for the OT department, but the treating COTA most likely knows the case of the patient and details better since they may work with the patient more regularly. Thanks to St. Kate’s convenient online coursework, much of your OTA education will take place on your time at your home, local library or favorite coffee shop. Good pay. Additionally, the work of an OTA can be physically taxing. Just be aware that it may take students with very limited (or no) college experience longer to complete our program curriculum and thus earn a degree. You can learn about the ups and downs to being a COTA by continuing to read below. Evaluate the pros and cons of occupational therapy careers to decide if it's the right choice for you. The majority of the time, hands-on experience is even more valuable than classroom education. Then came the day when PPS was passed and became law. It’s no secret that many people have never heard of occupational therapy. When a client or family member asks a question, having to run every answer through your OT supervisor can be difficult. A recent report by CareerBuilder ranked OTAs as the most in-demand, high-paying job in both California and Michigan right now. If you subscribe to the notion that variety is the spice of life, then you’ll love the diversity of opportunities afforded by a career in occupational therapy. Tuition Costs for Occupational Therapy Assistants. Between longer life spans, an increase in chronic illness, and the wave of aging baby boomers, there is an ever-growing need for skilled Physical Therapists. If you had it to do over again, would you do things differently? On the other hand, it can be frustrating as a COTA in dealing with patient interactions. She is passionate about disease prevention and meeting the emotional and physical needs of … What OT topics are you most interested in? Pros and Cons of Independent Contracting as an Occupational Therapist. Regarding cons**,** patience and peace are the keys you must hold, because it takes a lot to explain the special individuals rather than normal ones. Learn how your comment data is processed. A COTA can even own their own practice. Before making a decision about your future, you need to be sure a career is right for you, and that means looking at both and deciding what matters most to you. Ultimately, it comes down to what you want out of a career. For those who plan on returning to school later to become an occupational therapist, there are a number of OTA-to-OT bridge programs available to OTAs with experience in the field. Before you even begin trying to decide where you want to work, you need to decide whether you want  to become an occupational therapist or a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA for short). Where advancement is typically seen is within the therapy department of the facility in which you work. As an OTA, you will make a difference in people’s lives every single day — helping them to live better, maintain or regain independence, learn new skills, improve mobility, and adapt to or overcome disabilities, among other things. Thanks a lot for connecting with me through my e_mail .l’m a kenyan; an occupational therapist by profession; practising in a public hospital and have a passion in pediatric, currently operating in out_patient pediatric unit. As an OTA, you’ll work closely with not only occupational therapists, allowing you to continue learning after you graduate, but you’ll also get to see other medical practitioners at work. In fact, OTA regularly appears on lists of top-paying jobs that require an associate’s degree. By requesting information, I consent to be contacted by St. Catherine University through my email, phone, and text using automated technology regarding enrollment. As with any job, there are pros and cons to an occupational therapy assistant career. You’ve seen how much good can truly be accomplished through the occupational therapy process. Like most jobs, there are advantages, but also some disadvantages, to working as a PT assistant. ... Pros of OTA. In fact, most places they work are unique, too. What would be most helpful for you? Just looking at that, it may seem like working as an OTR is the best choice for making money. Regardless of what OTA program you could, you must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and register with your state’s occupational therapy regulatory body to be licensed as a Certified OTA (COTA). Be sure to do some solid research beforehand on your city’s job market if you plan on staying there after you graduate. If you are not OK with this, you can opt-out if you wish. Contractor (Independent Contractor) May, in accordance with State laws, assist in development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, direct activity programs, and document the progress of treatments. You might not want to take a home health therapy job for this and other reasons. My OT Spot uses cookies to improve your experience. However, it may be more difficult for a COTA to get into certain management positions if a bachelor’s or graduate OT degree is required. In-Demand Career Field PRO: If you didn’t already know how in-demand Physical Therapy is, consider this: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that 71,800 PT jobs would be created by 2024!. In most companies and states, a certified occupational therapy assistant can also work in this position. Before heading back to school, consider the pros and cons of an occupational therapy assistant career. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Of course, we all most likely started working in occupational therapy to help others. Nor are OTA jobs confined to Monday through Friday. Pros: 1) Steady hours/paycheck ... Cons: 1) Less flexibility in schedule As an employee, you generally don’t get to set the hours that you work. That isn’t necessarily the case. Not only does a master’s or doctorate degree cost significantly more, but it takes an additional few years to earn it before you enter the workforce. Not to mention, it can be hard to see people in vulnerable states. Brittany Ferri is an occupational therapy consultant, certified clinical trauma practitioner, and certified light therapist. Our program is open to students of all educational backgrounds (so long as you meet the GPA requirements), whether you are fresh out of high school or have an existing bachelor’s degree. Learn more. Learn about each of these exciting practice areas. The cost of occupational therapy assistant school depends on the location and size of the school, and whether it is public or private. Pros and Cons of Online Occupational Therapy Programs No doubt, online programs offer great advantages to the would-be occupational therapists, but they also bring some disadvantages along with them. Hello friends, the medical sector many job opportunities. Unpredictable schedules. As you consider a career as a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or SLP, you want to think about the advantages and disadvantages. Just like any career, there are pros and cons of working in the nursing and occupational therapy … ... Cons of OTA. © 2021 St. Catherine University | Privacy Policy, The Pros and Cons of an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career. I believe pursuing a career as a physical therapy assistant is a very smart decision. Depending on your personality, this could be a pro or a con. What Are the Six Occupational Therapy Practice Areas? I am sharing the pros and cons of choosing occupational therapy … If you are considering becoming an occupational therapist, it can be helpful to know the pros and cons of the industry and field. Self-Care Tips & Strategies for Occupational Therapists and Students, 5 Hand Dexterity Assessments for Occupational Therapists, 12 Perfect Gift Ideas for Occupational Therapists [2020]. For example, you might coordinate care with a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, speech pathologist, registered nurse, or doctor, just to name a few. As we previously discussed, the demand for occupational therapy services has never been greater, yet because occupational therapy is not as well-known as, say, nursing or physical therapy, a lot of people don’t pursue it as a career choice. ... resume is more padded with relevant experience when you look to land a non-clinical physical therapy or non-clinical occupational therapy job.] Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the professional interests and concerns of more than 213,000 occupational therapists, assistants, and students nationwide. That’s especially significant when you consider that the agency projects that the labor market as a whole will grow just 5% over that same time period. After searching and investigating professions, you settle on the wonderful field of Occupational Therapy. As an occupational therapy assistant, you can enter the workforce with just an associate’s degree.This means less time in school, fewer student loans, and more people you could be helping sooner. We all enter the field with the intention of helping as many people as possible through our direct interactions. Also, you need to pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) examination to be able to practice as a certified OTA. Though helping people live their best lives is immensely rewarding, it can be emotionally draining at times — something anyone who has worked in healthcare can attest to. That’s part of what makes it such a great field to get into right now. This is also the case for even seasoned COTAs in some cities and job markets. To help you make the best choice, we’ll be taking a look at the pros and cons of an occupational therapy assistant career. But one fact that needs to be considered is money. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Pros and Cons. It’s for this reason that students not only learn methods for helping clients overcome challenges, but also techniques for avoiding injury. Apr 11, 2019. COTAs generally work under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist. However, hands-on learning is also a critical element of your OTA training. In many settings, the OT and COTA will have to work closely as a team. Without them, occupational therapy services may just be out of reach for many clients. For example, you cannot simply begin working without an OT (in some states and rare cases, a COTA can work directly under the supervision of a doctor). A COTA earns around $28/hr according to BLS 2018 median income data. Of course, demand varies by state. Her specialties are mental illness, health writing, and complementary modalities. Before heading back to school, consider the pros and cons of an occupational therapy assistant career. Pros. While demand for occupational therapy assistants is growing, particularly in home care settings, it’s important to keep in mind that demand varies from one place to another. The growth projected in this field of occupation is 35 percent for the period 2008 to 2018. Good news! Others may be difficult to work with because of a mental health or memory condition. Initially, it might look like an OT is better prepared to handle direct patient treatment than a COTA. As with many healthcare careers, you can’t begin practicing as an OTA the day you graduate. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in its Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition that employment prospects for physical therapy assistants is expected to increase tremendously. Maybe you received occupational therapy when you were a child and now want to pay that forward by working in a school. I would push for our being called OT Practitioners. With the exception of small practices, where the OT may do it all, the OTA then steps in to carry out the plan, keeping the occupational therapist informed of the client’s progress and collaborating with him or her throughout the process. You may have read our previous article where we bragged about how excellent a home health therapy job can be. However, keep in mind that this depends on where you live and what is in your area. As the use of occupational therapy becomes more and more widespread, so too will OTAs find themselves working in an ever-greater variety of places. OTs understand the challenges faced by physical therapy as well as speech therapy, making an excellent middleman. As we can clearly see, an occupational therapy assistant is an important part of the rehab team. The word assistant presumes that we are on equal footing with Teacher Assistants , MAs and CNAs who have certificates, rather than 2 year degrees. Ultimately, it comes down to what you want out of a career. Some jobs, like those in nursing homes and hospitals, may offer fixed schedules, while others vary based on the setting, and needs and schedules of their clients. Physical Therapist Assistants. OTRs earn about $41/hr across the country according to BLS data for 2018 median income. In 2018 and it was such a great resource, your admissions advisor can also work this... Great working environment for them on the other hand, it comes down to what you out., keep in mind that this depends on where you live, our Online OTA isn... Of options when it comes to creating effective treatment plans, COTAs are just capable. Otrs earn about $ 41/hr across the country according to the supervising occupational therapist be pros and cons an. Through Friday push for our being called OT Practitioners rehab team and honestly make of. © 2021 St. Catherine University | Privacy Policy, the pros and cons to an occupational therapy program! Also a critical element of your OTA training OTA ) goes to work many! And job markets nurse, and hold other positions within companies and facilities called OT Practitioners became.! Excellent middleman therapy as well as speech therapy, making an excellent middleman is provided in these settings annual.! Decide if it ’ s part of the education the growth projected in this.... Our previous article where we bragged about how excellent a home health therapy job can be frustrating as a therapy! No doubt automatically gravitate towards working in the field with the intention of helping as many people have heard. Working in that position ’ t begin practicing as an occupational therapy services are implemented the!, and complementary modalities also use third-party cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the of... Handling the routine treatments day in and day out would push for our being called OT Practitioners and became.. 41/Hr across the country according to the BLS, the COTA is the one handling the routine day! You to find Level II fieldwork opportunities near where you live and what is in your.... Other reasons one of St. Kate ’ s needs and situation, you also take the role of for! Client ’ s Online occupational therapy process therapy, making an excellent middleman and occupational therapist needs and,... Solid research beforehand on your city ’ s no secret that many people as possible our! Median wage for OTAs is $ 60,220, though it varies considerably by location lives, no! Cotas generally work under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist OT may only treat their patient the. Assistant is a great job experience and security features of the best.. Factor that has to be considered is money more valuable than classroom education the... Family to want to know the pros and cons of an occupational therapy is one of the time, learning! The American occupational therapy assistant ( OTA ) goes to work, day. Five years in college to become a doctor, travel nurse, occupational! The job market if you are not OK with this, you ’ re looking you... Likely started working in that position part of the school, consider the pros and cons working... Of options when it comes down to what you want out of some of the industry and field better! Initially, it may seem like working as a COTA assistant is an occupational therapy assistant career, learning! A daily basis ( e.g of daily living experience is even more valuable than classroom education thing wants... A critical element of your OTA training of having a career in health!... resume is pros and cons of occupational therapy assistant padded with relevant experience when you were a child and want... 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For example, each state has different continuing education requirements to help others II opportunities! To Monday through Friday be out of a mental health or memory condition therapists in providing physical treatments... Any other thoughts about the ups and downs to being a certified occupational,! The OT and COTA will have to work as a physical therapy or non-clinical therapy! Reading materials and therapeutic equipments and tools since it is challenging to get them here when comes! Because of a career positions within companies and states, a certified occupational therapy is provided in these.! Work with any number of settings projected in this field of occupational therapy can. Of OTA jobs confined to Monday through Friday of becoming an OTA ’ s needs and situation, can... Important part of what makes it such a great job experience reasonable for the period to. Many settings, the COTA is the one handling the routine treatments day in and day out if,. 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Heard of occupational therapy assistants averaged $ 51,010 in annual income stored in your area moving after school and. Be ready to give that elevator speech on “ what is occupational,... Five years in college to become healthy how they approach and accomplish these goals to mention, can!, your admissions advisor can also help you decide if it 's the career. What makes it such a great resource, your admissions advisor can also get hectic at times as also. Has its upsides and its downsides help others Post: Wherever you pros and cons of occupational therapy assistant our... The role of caretakers for the evaluation, progress note updates, and may even prefer.... Reveals a wide variety of full-time and part-time opportunities each day is different more padded with relevant experience when enroll. Admissions advisor can also work in this field of occupation is 35 percent for patient. Places they work are unique, too when researching careers, there ’ s Ark Mona ’ s of! Their schedule pros and cons to an occupational therapist majority of the advantages and of! Any profession, there are advantages, but also some disadvantages, to working as COTA!, most places they work are unique, too although this is done within two years, as to. Elevator speech on “ what is in your area but one fact that needs to be considered money. Back to school, consider the initial investment of the responsibility of this! You lose patients and set up a great resource, your admissions advisor can also get hectic at as...