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. 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). 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. What OT topics are you most interested in? 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. The majority of the time, hands-on experience is even more valuable than classroom education. Before PPS, people use to say jobs for therapists and assistants would continue to be in great supply and that PPS would never happen. Pros and Cons comparison chart of becoming an OTA. 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. Before heading back to school, consider the pros and cons of an occupational therapy assistant career. Hate driving and long commutes? Positives. If you are not OK with this, you can opt-out if you wish. Be sure to do some solid research beforehand on your city’s job market if you plan on staying there after you graduate. Pro: Short training time Most certified nursing assistant programs take between 4 … Initially, it might look like an OT is better prepared to handle direct patient treatment than a COTA. Depending on the client’s needs and situation, you could work with any number of medical disciplines. To help you make the best choice, we’ll be taking a look at the pros and cons of an occupational therapy assistant career. “There are certainly a lot of advantages. OTAs work within six practice areas, encompassing the full human life spectrum, meaning they can find work in a number of settings. This ensures you graduate with a wealth of experience in real-life practice settings. Contractor (Independent Contractor) Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. As with any job, there are pros and cons to an occupational therapy assistant career. I worked as an occupational therapy assistant for 9 months in 2018 and it was such a great job experience. Some OTAs work weekends, and may even prefer it. Fortunately, students of St. Kate’s Online Occupational Therapy Assistant program have an advantage over OTA students at other schools. COTAs, or Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, do a lot of the same work that OTs do. On top of that, an OT will also learn techniques for evaluation, billing practices, supervision, and the theory that makes occupational therapy work. 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. Pros and Cons of Being a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. These are the pros and cons of the career. 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. You might even reach out to local OTs and OTAs to get a feel for what’s available near you. Therefore, therapy services are implemented alongside the roles they typically assume and occupations they engage in on a daily basis (e.g. A recent report by CareerBuilder ranked OTAs as the most in-demand, high-paying job in both California and Michigan right now. If you are considering becoming an occupational therapist, it can be helpful to know the pros and cons of the industry and field. Learn about each of these exciting practice areas. Article by St. Kate's (St. Catherine University) Career Exploration Career Education Early Education Interactive Infographic Occupational Therapy Assistant Music Therapy Horse Therapy Hand Therapy Physical Therapist This is a factor that has to be considered. 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. 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. 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. There are many articles out there that recommend becoming a COTA for those who are thinking about becoming an OT, and then simply transitioning. An occupational therapist can become a director of rehab or program manager, and honestly make some of the best DORs. Certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs) help patients recover, improve and develop skills that are crucial to working and living. You’ve seen how much good can truly be accomplished through the occupational therapy process. In fact, OTA regularly appears on lists of top-paying jobs that require an associate’s degree. 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. 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. Pros and Cons. 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. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. With any profession, there are always going to be pros and cons. In most companies and states, a certified occupational therapy assistant can also work in this position. 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. In all these instances, it’s important to remember why you got into this field in the first place: to make a difference. When a client or family member asks a question, having to run every answer through your OT supervisor can be difficult. Like most jobs, there are advantages, but also some disadvantages, to working as a PT assistant. 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. Just be ready to give that elevator speech on “What Is Occupational Therapy?”. 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. An occupational therapist can become a director of rehab or program manager, and honestly make some of the best DORs. If you have no intentions of moving after school, you’ll want to research opportunities in your area. While the American Occupational Therapy Association is a great resource, your admissions advisor can also help you. 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. You may have read our previous article where we bragged about how excellent a home health therapy job can be. Ultimately, it comes down to what you want out of a career. You might not want to take a home health therapy job for this and other reasons. This is a major aspect to understanding how occupational therapy is provided in these settings. When considering how much money you can earn working in occupational therapy, you also have to consider the initial investment of the education. However, there is also a benefit. They may rely on physical therapist assistants, or PT assistants, to help with such tasks as observing patients, demonstrating assistive devices and recording progress. 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. Improving the quality of life for your clients is essential to success. Occupational therapists plan therapy programs and evaluate patients with injuries, illnesses or disabilities. 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. 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. But one fact that needs to be considered is money. Learn more. Depending on your personality, this could be a pro or a con. The cons involve more than just Occupational Therapy, it involves everyone who is a therapist or assistant... PT/OT/SPL. Outpatient Therapy If you decide to work as a COTA, there is certain amount of autonomy and responsibility that you lose. 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. 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. Occupational therapy is one of the most unique health care careers. 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. However, it’s not just the demand that makes this little-known field an attractive career option …. You can become a doctor, travel nurse, and occupational therapist. 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. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. When an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) goes to work, each day is different. As with any job, there are pros and cons to an occupational therapy assistant career. 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). OTRs earn about $41/hr across the country according to BLS data for 2018 median income. 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. The future is bright for anyone considering becoming an OTA. 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. However, both levels of education focus on the same amount on patient treatment. Physical Therapist Assistants. 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. Others may be difficult to work with because of a mental health or memory condition. When researching careers, there’s one thing everyone wants to know: What the job market looks like. They have more education, after all. I can only answer from a pediatric therapy perspective. Of course, demand varies by state. So while OTAs are not in charge, they aren’t just order-takers, either. Evaluate the pros and cons of occupational therapy careers to decide if it's the right choice for you. 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. Should I Become an OTA? As we can clearly see, an occupational therapy assistant is an important part of the rehab team. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. by Morgan Kurtz, MS, OTR/L. 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. 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. A quick search of OTA jobs reveals a wide variety of full-time and part-time opportunities. Hello friends, the medical sector many job opportunities. Still, the majority of the responsibility of handling this will fall to the supervising occupational therapist. In fact, we’ve had a number of students who chose our program because they wanted to get into this fast-growing field but were tired of sitting on occupational therapist program waitlists. Of course, we all most likely started working in occupational therapy to help others. These cookies do not store any personal information. Pros and Cons of Becoming an Occupational Therapist. Tuition Costs for Occupational Therapy Assistants. 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. 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. It’s no secret that many people have never heard of occupational therapy. 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). 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. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. An OT may only treat their patient for the evaluation, progress note updates, and discharge. How is this possible? St. Catherine University’s Online OTA program, your state’s occupational therapy regulatory body, Skills labs held about once a month on Sundays, Two, three-day Level I Fieldwork sessions, Two, 320-hour Level II Fieldwork sessions. I am sharing the pros and cons of choosing occupational therapy … After searching and investigating professions, you settle on the wonderful field of Occupational Therapy. While being a COTA is a very rewarding job, there has been an increased difficulty for COTAs in many cities to find jobs right out of school. 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. Not to mention, it can be hard to see people in vulnerable states. 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. And on top of that …. Her specialties are mental illness, health writing, and complementary modalities. 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. work, life, and education). These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Without them, occupational therapy services may just be out of reach for many clients. assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. So, here we expound on some of the cons of having a career in home health. This means big opportunities for people who enter the field. 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. 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). What other pros and cons would you add? In most companies and states, a certified occupational therapy assistant can also work in this position. A COTA only has to have an associate’s degree in occupational therapy, while an OT has to hold at least a master’s degree or doctorate. Generally requires formal training. The nature of an OTA’s job requires that they teach the skills of daily living. When you enroll in the program, a fieldwork coordinator will work with you to find Level II Fieldwork opportunities near where you live. 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. That isn’t necessarily the case. 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. Although this is an option, it isn’t typically one that is followed. Meanwhile, the COTA is the one handling the routine treatments day in and day out. In this article, I cover both the pros and cons of working as a PRN occupational therapist. Ability to be supportive to patients and set up a great working environment for them on the road to become healthy. What would be most helpful for you? Maybe you received occupational therapy when you were a child and now want to pay that forward by working in a school. Then came the day when PPS was passed and became law. 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. OTA fieldwork at Mona’s Ark Mona’s Ark is one of St. Kate’s many fieldwork partnerships. She is passionate about disease prevention and meeting the emotional and physical needs of … Unpredictable schedules. 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. 1. However, hands-on learning is also a critical element of your OTA training. 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. For example, each state has different continuing education requirements. COTAs generally work under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist. 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. As you’re looking, you no doubt automatically gravitate towards working in one specific setting or another. OTs understand the challenges faced by physical therapy as well as speech therapy, making an excellent middleman. Once you begin working in the field of occupational therapy, you most likely are going to stay working in that position. 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. The job market is definitely something to consider when making the decision to become a COTA vs. an occupational therapist. 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!. Good pay. By requesting information, I consent to be contacted by St. Catherine University through my email, phone, and text using automated technology regarding enrollment. Self-Care Tips & Strategies for Occupational Therapists and Students, 5 Hand Dexterity Assessments for Occupational Therapists, 12 Perfect Gift Ideas for Occupational Therapists [2020]. 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. ... resume is more padded with relevant experience when you look to land a non-clinical physical therapy or non-clinical occupational therapy job.] Ultimately, it comes down to what you want out of a career. Additionally, both OTRs and COTAs can go on to become administrators, liaisons, and hold other positions within companies and facilities. Related Post: Wherever you live, our Online OTA program isn’t that far away. 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. When this is done properly, it can make for an effective and productive therapy environment and an enjoyable workplace. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. OTAs, like many healthcare support roles, have a lot of options when it comes to their schedule. My OT Spot uses cookies to improve your experience. Nov 11, 2016 - Considering becoming an OTA? Just like any career, there are pros and cons of working in the nursing and occupational therapy … Regularly appears on lists of top-paying jobs that require an associate ’ s for this and reasons... Which you work and living classroom education not just the demand that makes little-known! To want to take a home health Online OTA program is for you work in a number medical. Obtaining reading materials and therapeutic equipments and tools since it is only reasonable for the patient family... We all enter the field with the intention of helping as many people as through! Not want to pay that forward by working in occupational therapy assistant depends. May even prefer it search of OTA jobs reveals a wide variety full-time... 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