7 Reasons to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant

Written by Peter Jones

You might be familiar with what an occupational therapist does, but you might not be aware of what an occupational therapy assistant does—or even that such a position exists. But this crucial role does exist and open positions are actually on the rise across the country. It’s one of the most in-demand jobs out there in the health care field.

If you still need convincing, here are a few of the many great reasons to become a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA).

1. Increasing Quality of Life

Most people don’t value their ability to do the normal day-to-day functions; they just do them. Occupational therapy assistants help patients who have been injured, disabled, or otherwise lost function through age or disease. And when their patients are able to perform even the most basic functions—which contribute so much to quality of life—it is a major victory. Their contributions are enormous in people’s lives and help them rebuild confidence and meaning in their lives.

2. Working with the Whole Person

Plenty of health care professionals don’t have the kind of quality time to deal with their patients as people. COTAs, on the other hand, have a special patient-provider relationship that deepens and develops over time. They get to watch their patients do something today that they couldn’t do yesterday, and keep helping them to better their daily lives.

3. Working with Anyone

COTAs are not restricted to working only with one age group. They’re able to work with pediatrics, geriatrics, and everything in between. For sheer diversity of clients, this job cannot be beat.

4. Responsibility and Oversight

A lot of jobs give you tons of responsibility, but very little oversight. COTAs work closely with OTs, which means they almost always have help, while still directing much of their own one-on-one work with their patients.

5. Creative Potential

An OTA never finds their job dull. It requires a great deal of creative thinking and guarantees that no two days will be the same. There are even a wide range of toys and smartphone apps to help both patient and provider.

6. High Demand

OTAs are in high demand. Nearly 80% of OTAs find a job within six months of graduating from a program. You can usually find work with just an associate’s degree, and salaries are on the rise.

7. Low Stress

Not only is there great job security in this field, with COTA roles growing faster than the national average, the day-to-day work remains rather low-stress in comparison with other health care jobs. And is overwhelmingly rewarding.

About the author

Peter Jones