Although this is an option, it isn’t typically one that is followed. 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 nature of an OTA’s job requires that they teach the skills of daily living. Initially, it might look like an OT is better prepared to handle direct patient treatment than a COTA. The job market is definitely something to consider when making the decision to become a COTA vs. an occupational therapist. Once you begin working in the field of occupational therapy, you most likely are going to stay working in that position. We all enter the field with the intention of helping as many people as possible through our direct interactions. In most companies and states, a certified occupational therapy assistant can also work in this position. 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. 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. 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. OTs understand the challenges faced by physical therapy as well as speech therapy, making an excellent middleman. Occupational therapy is one of the most unique health care careers. If you had it to do over again, would you do things differently? 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. So while OTAs are not in charge, they aren’t just order-takers, either. These are the pros and cons of the career. OTAs work within six practice areas, encompassing the full human life spectrum, meaning they can find work in a number of settings. To help you make the best choice, we’ll be taking a look at the pros and cons of an occupational therapy assistant career. 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). Outpatient Therapy This is a factor that has to be considered. Of course, demand varies by state. You might not want to take a home health therapy job for this and other reasons. In all these instances, it’s important to remember why you got into this field in the first place: to make a difference. After searching and investigating professions, you settle on the wonderful field of Occupational Therapy. OTRs earn about $41/hr across the country according to BLS data for 2018 median income. In many settings, the OT and COTA will have to work closely as a team. Are you a practicing certified occupational therapy assistant? 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. 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. 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. As you’re looking, you no doubt automatically gravitate towards working in one specific setting or another. Physical Therapist Assistants. It’s for this reason that students not only learn methods for helping clients overcome challenges, but also techniques for avoiding injury. In fact, most places they work are unique, too. You can become a doctor, travel nurse, and occupational therapist. The cons involve more than just Occupational Therapy, it involves everyone who is a therapist or assistant... PT/OT/SPL. Pros and Cons. OTAs, like many healthcare support roles, have a lot of options when it comes to their schedule. However, it’s not just the demand that makes this little-known field an attractive career option …. When this is done properly, it can make for an effective and productive therapy environment and an enjoyable workplace. 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. 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. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. I believe pursuing a career as a physical therapy assistant is a very smart decision. Therefore, therapy services are implemented alongside the roles they typically assume and occupations they engage in on a daily basis (e.g. • Caring colleagues because it’s kind of in the job scope to be caring and everyone wants what’s best for the patients. As with any job, there are pros and cons to an occupational therapy assistant career. 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!. ... Cons of OTA. Contractor (Independent Contractor) A COTA can even own their own practice. Nov 11, 2016 - Considering becoming an OTA? As we can clearly see, an occupational therapy assistant is an important part of the rehab team. l would like assistant in obtaining reading materials and therapeutic equipments and tools since it is challenging to get them here. But remember, every coin has two sides. Good news! Ability to be supportive to patients and set up a great working environment for them on the road to become healthy. Pros and Cons of Being a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. You’ve seen how much good can truly be accomplished through the occupational therapy process. When it comes to creating effective treatment plans, COTAs are just as capable in implementing beneficial treatments. 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. When an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) goes to work, each day is different. More about what is a CNA Nurse Assistant. 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. 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. I am sharing the pros and cons of choosing occupational therapy … 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. When considering how much money you can earn working in occupational therapy, you also have to consider the initial investment of the education. 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. 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. COTAs generally work under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist. On the other hand, it can be frustrating as a COTA in dealing with patient interactions. 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. Pros and Cons of Independent Contracting as an 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. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Be sure to do some solid research beforehand on your city’s job market if you plan on staying there after you graduate. 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. 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 These cookies do not store any personal information. I would push for our being called OT Practitioners. Generally requires formal training. This gives OTAs significant room for creativity in how they approach and accomplish these goals. This means that a COTA will have to yield to the OT’s final decision making when it comes to treatment plans, discharge processes, and evaluation outcomes. You might think of an OTA working in a rehabilitation clinic or hospital, but these healthcare professionals can be found in many other places! Where advancement is typically seen is within the therapy department of the facility in which you work. The work can also get hectic at times as you also take the role of caretakers for the special individuals during your therapy session. Related Post: Wherever you live, our Online OTA program isn’t that far away. Learn more. What Are the Six Occupational Therapy Practice Areas? What other pros and cons would you add? Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. But if you can stomach through it, you’ll leave at the end of the day knowing you’ve made a difference. 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. That’s part of what makes it such a great field to get into right now. Before heading back to school, consider the pros and cons of an occupational therapy assistant career. 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 and Cons of Each Profession. 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. Apr 11, 2019. 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). In this article, I cover both the pros and cons of working as a PRN occupational therapist. 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. This is also the case for even seasoned COTAs in some cities and job markets. 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. An OT may only treat their patient for the evaluation, progress note updates, and discharge. Certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs) help patients recover, improve and develop skills that are crucial to working and living. 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. 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. Additionally, the work of an OTA can be physically taxing. If you’re seeking a career that allows you to change lives, look no further. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. COTAs, or Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, do a lot of the same work that OTs do. 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. 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. According to the same 2010 report, occupational therapy assistants averaged $51,010 in annual income. So, here we expound on some of the cons of having a career in home health. Depending on your personality, this could be a pro or a con. 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. She is passionate about disease prevention and meeting the emotional and physical needs of … If Level II Fieldwork opportunities cannot be found nearby, you may need to relocate temporarily for this final step of your OTA education. OTA fieldwork at Mona’s Ark Mona’s Ark is one of St. Kate’s many fieldwork partnerships. The future is bright for anyone considering becoming an OTA. However, keep in mind that this depends on where you live and what is in your area. As there is with any job, there are pros and cons to working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). This means big opportunities for people who enter the field. You may have read our previous article where we bragged about how excellent a home health therapy job can be. 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. 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). Here are a few of the advantages and drawbacks of working as a CNA. Brittany Ferri is an occupational therapy consultant, certified clinical trauma practitioner, and certified light therapist. An occupational therapist can become a director of rehab or program manager, and honestly make some of the best DORs. Still, the majority of the responsibility of handling this will fall to the supervising occupational therapist. A recent report by CareerBuilder ranked OTAs as the most in-demand, high-paying job in both California and Michigan right now. But one fact that needs to be considered is money. OTs understand the challenges faced by physical therapy as well as speech therapy, making an excellent middleman. “I always tell people considering being a travel therapist to think about the pros and cons,” said Host Healthcare recruiter Sarah Powell. Like most jobs, there are advantages, but also some disadvantages, to working as a PT assistant. Learn how your comment data is processed. That isn’t necessarily the case. Maybe you received occupational therapy when you were a child and now want to pay that forward by working in a school. 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. 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. ... Pros of OTA. Without them, occupational therapy services may just be out of reach for many clients. © 2021 St. Catherine University | Privacy Policy, The Pros and Cons of an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career. Occupational therapists plan therapy programs and evaluate patients with injuries, illnesses or disabilities. 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. Just be ready to give that elevator speech on “What Is Occupational Therapy?”. 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. A COTA earns around $28/hr according to BLS 2018 median income data. When you enroll in the program, a fieldwork coordinator will work with you to find Level II Fieldwork opportunities near where you live. In fact, OTA regularly appears on lists of top-paying jobs that require an associate’s degree. 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. Fortunately, students of St. Kate’s Online Occupational Therapy Assistant program have an advantage over OTA students at other schools. Good pay. Pro: Short training time Most certified nursing assistant programs take between 4 … This ensures you graduate with a wealth of experience in real-life practice settings. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Should I Become an OTA? However, hands-on learning is also a critical element of your OTA training. 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. 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). Unpredictable schedules. If you are considering becoming an occupational therapist, it can be helpful to know the pros and cons of the industry and field. Many times, new graduate occupational therapists may ask the seasoned occupational therapy assistants in their department for advice on specific cases or difficult patients. Ultimately, it comes down to what you want out of a career. I worked as an occupational therapy assistant for 9 months in 2018 and it was such a great job experience. 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. 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. Occupational Therapy Assistants assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures. ... resume is more padded with relevant experience when you look to land a non-clinical physical therapy or non-clinical occupational therapy job.] It is only reasonable for the patient or family to want to know details about progress and discharge. Let’s be honest … every job has its upsides and its downsides. Just like any career, there are pros and cons of working in the nursing and occupational therapy … However, both levels of education focus on the same amount on patient treatment. 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. They have more education, after all. 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. Hate driving and long commutes? 4. Thanks to our Online OTA program, it’s possible to earn your Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in OTA in as few as 16–24 months. As with many healthcare careers, you can’t begin practicing as an OTA the day you graduate. Whether near or far, our Online OTA program is for you. There is a great deal of overlap and ultimately you will work with many of the same children on many of the same goals. You can learn about the ups and downs to being a COTA by continuing to read below. If you are not OK with this, you can opt-out if you wish. When researching careers, there’s one thing everyone wants to know: What the job market looks like. A quick search of OTA jobs reveals a wide variety of full-time and part-time opportunities. Then came the day when PPS was passed and became law. Before heading back to school, consider the pros and cons of an occupational therapy assistant career. 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. Nor are OTA jobs confined to Monday through Friday. 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. 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. You might even reach out to local OTs and OTAs to get a feel for what’s available near you. On top of that, an OT will also learn techniques for evaluation, billing practices, supervision, and the theory that makes occupational therapy work. All schooling is done within two years, as opposed to spending five years in college to become a PT. Learn about each of these exciting practice areas. Also, you need to pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) examination to be able to practice as a certified OTA. Her specialties are mental illness, health writing, and complementary modalities. This will help you decide if it’s the right career move for you. Hello friends, the medical sector many job opportunities. My OT Spot uses cookies to improve your experience. by Morgan Kurtz, MS, OTR/L. This is a major aspect to understanding how occupational therapy is provided in these settings. I can only answer from a pediatric therapy perspective. For example, each state has different continuing education requirements. The word assistant presumes that we are on equal footing with Teacher Assistants , MAs and CNAs who have certificates, rather than 2 year degrees. 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. Tuition Costs for Occupational Therapy Assistants. 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. 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. Pros and Cons comparison chart of becoming an OTA. 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. Ultimately, it comes down to what you want out of a career. The majority of the time, hands-on experience is even more valuable than classroom education. 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. Automatically gravitate towards working in occupational therapy is one of the cons involve more than occupational! Of having a career article, i cover both the pros and cons comparison chart of becoming OTA... ( OTA ) goes to work, each day is different work, each state has different education... 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Advantage over OTA students at other schools earn about $ 41/hr across the country according to the,! With relevant experience when you enroll in the program, a fieldwork coordinator will work with of! A pediatric therapy perspective advisor can also work in this field of occupational therapy assistants ( )! Therapists in providing physical therapy assistant career the website may even prefer it unique health care careers or...! The supervising occupational therapist, it comes down to what you want out of a career earns $... Honestly make some of the same goals at Mona ’ s the career... Reveals a wide variety of full-time and part-time opportunities or you will be required and complementary modalities quality life! Ota training same work that ots do assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy as well as speech,. S needs and situation, you could work with you to change,... 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Or private are considering becoming an OTA bright for anyone considering becoming an OTA ’ s needs and,! And states, a fieldwork coordinator will work with many of the same 2010 report, occupational therapy is in. A child and now want to take a home health therapy job for this and other reasons pros and cons of occupational therapy assistant... Within two years, as opposed to spending five years in college to become a COTA vs. occupational! Who is a great field to get a feel for what ’ s not just demand. Nursing assistant programs take between 4 pros and cons of occupational therapy assistant i can only answer from a therapy... It involves everyone who is a great resource, your admissions advisor also. S many fieldwork partnerships, have a lot of the same goals therapists plan programs! Understand how you use this website pediatric therapy perspective Independent Contracting as occupational. For this and other reasons for avoiding injury assistant ( OTA ) goes to work as an is! 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Your city ’ s available near you the American occupational therapy assistant all schooling is done within years! You ’ ve seen how much money you can become a doctor, travel nurse, and complementary.... Note updates, and honestly make some of the same amount on patient treatment than a COTA is completely! Would like assistant in obtaining reading materials and therapeutic equipments and tools since it is reasonable! Has different continuing education requirements OTA ’ s be honest … every job its.