Occupational therapist assistants are trained specialists who work closely with occupational therapists in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, where they help patients rehabilitate after a severe injury. At the same time, occupational therapists also work closely with patients of all ages who suffer from debilitating chronic conditions and illnesses, thus helping them improve the quality of their life. These assistants help patients perform all the exercises and therapeutic activities indicated by the occupational therapists, and the median yearly wage for these professionals in the United States of America revolves around the sum of $50,000 a year.
Pay Scale In Different Parts Of The United States of America
The job outlook for occupational therapist assistants is excellent at the moment, and there are currently more than 30,000 assistants in the USA at the moment. The highest paying state at the moment is Texas, with over $66,000 a year, followed by the state of Idaho with just over $63,000, the state of New Jersey with around $60,000 and Florida with just under $58,000 a year. The states of Delaware, Maryland and California also pay their occupational therapist assistants median yearly wages of around $56,000 a year.
Occupational Therapist Assistant Job Description
As described earlier, the primary duty of the occupational therapist assistant is to work close to the occupational therapist and to assist him whenever and wherever needed. They usually work in hospitals, although some of them choose to work in private offices as well (where the work volume tends to be smaller and the payment is higher). Their duties vary greatly, but generally speaking it is the main responsibility of the occupational therapist assistant to help patients do their daily excercises such as lifting, bending and such. They can work with both children and adults of all ages.
In addition to working with patients who suffered a severe trauma or injury, occupational therapist assistants also work with those with chronic diseases whose life quality has been affected by their condition. Some of the patients have lost their ability to eat, dress or to tidy up or even to walk after an accident or a serious illness – this is where the occupational therapist assistant steps in and helps them improve their life quality.
Generally speaking, occupational therapist assistants need to help patients perform their daily tasks and responsibilities. They must teach patients how to improve their daily functions, they work closely with therapists to design personalized rehabilitation plans and, in some cases, they must also cover different clerical and administrative tasks, especially if they work for a private practice.
How To Become An Occupational Therapist Assistant?
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Becoming an occupational therapist assistant does take a lot of practice, and the first step is getting your Bachelor’s Degree in the field. Training programs are offered by more than 100 specialized universities and colleges across the United States. However, most of the assistants these days can get a job and pursue a lucrative career as occupational therapist assistants only with an Associate’s Degree, but if they want to take their career to the next level then they will need to apply for a Bachelor’s as well. The Associate’s Degree typically takes two years to complete, and the coursework is rather complex given the fact that it covers subjects like biology or health.
On the other hand, if you opt for a Bachelor’s Degree then it is important to know that you can couple it with a master’s Degree. Throughout the training, you will learn more about liberal arts, psychology or sociology. Regardless of the chosen type of higher education program, it is very important to make sure that both your Bachelor’s and your Master’s degrees are provided by an accredited program. After you get your degrees, you can start practicing in rehabilitation centers, clinics, nursing homes, private homes as well as state hospitals.
It is important for every occupational therapist assistant to pass the NBCOT certification exam. NBCOT stands for National Board for Certification in Occupational therapy, and this can dramatically increase their job opportunities in the long run.
Occupational Therapist Assistant Salary In Canada, Australia And The United Kingdom
In Canada, the median yearly wage of an occupational therapist assistant is of around CAD$31,000, in Australia of Au$50,000 while in the United Kingdom these professionals make between 21,000 and as much as 27,000 pounds a year.
Verdict On Occupational Therapist Assistant
To conclude, the salary of the occupational therapist assistant tends to be motivating, and starting off as an assistant is certainly a great choice for those who plan to advance in their profession, later on.