How to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

How to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

To get the answer to the question: How to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant? – Then we invite you to refer to the information below:

How to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

How to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

What is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Occupational therapy assistants (also known as OTA, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA, Occupational Therapist Assistants, Licensed Occupational Therapy Assistant, Clinical Occupational Therapy Assistant, and Community Occupational Therapy Assistant) enjoy a greatly satisfying career working directly with patients of all ages to help them grow and develop positive skills, rehabilitate after injury, manage a multitude of chronic illnesses and conditions, and improve their quality of life dramatically in many other ways.

An occupational therapist (OT) assistant works under the direction of an occupational therapist to guide patients in prescribed therapeutic activities and exercises, often using specialized equipment, in order to help them achieve or recover their full, independent and healthy lifestyles in spite of injury or disability.

While an occupational therapist may diagnose and prescribe certain treatments, occupational therapist assistants are mostly responsible for directly working with the patient to achieve the treatment goals. It’s important to note, OT assistants are different than OT aides—aides generally do not assist with exercises or treatment.

Work Environment

Occupational therapy assistants work primarily in Offices of physical, occupational, speech therapists, and audiologists. They are also found in nursing care facilities. Only a small percentage of them work in general hospitals. Actual job duties may involving lifting patients and constant kneeling and stooping. Spending extended time on their feet throughout their shift is not uncommon.

Work Schedule

Occupation therapy assistants generally work 40 hours a week.  They often have to work evenings, weekends and holidays as most therapist offices are open late to match clients’ schedules.



The minimum education requirement for an occupational therapist assistant is a two-year associate’s degree. The degree should be from a program accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association. Courses vary by school, but will generally include coursework in biology, psychology, kinesiology (the science of movement) and a variety of occupational therapy courses.


Most often, a school that grants associate degrees will provide a formal practicum in which students work under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist. When it is not part of the formal curriculum, students must arrange to obtain this supervised training separately. The required length of this field work varies by state, but is at least eight weeks in duration. The practicum offered in most schools may last longer than minimum requirements.

Licensing and/or Certification

Graduates must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination. OT assistants take the Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA) exam. Once candidates have their associate degree, documented fieldwork experience, and passing COTA exam grade in hand, they may apply to their state for licensure, which is essentially a verification process for the above qualifications.

Necessary Skills and Qualities

Occupational therapist assistants need good physical fitness because they will be physically active for an entire work shift. The job also requires a great deal of patience and compassion. These professionals are in almost constant patient contact; they must love working with people and be able to communicate clearly and with appropriate tact and sensitivity.

Opportunities for Advancement

Because licensure allows occupational therapist assistants to work for OTs only, career advancement depends greatly on solid job performance in support of the therapist. Assistants who demonstrate that they can be trusted, follow treatment instructions and provide excellent care are rewarded with job security, promotions and higher pay.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary and Job Outlook

Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median income for OT assistants was $55,270 as of May 2013. Those who work in nursing facilities, private offices and as home health workers earn more than those who work in hospitals or schools.

More infomation about the Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary: Occupational Therapy Assistant salary 2014

Occupational Therapy Assistant Job Outlook

Job growth is projected to increase at a much higher rate than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 43% increase in jobs from 2012 to 2022. As such, there will be 43,200 occupational therapist assistant jobs in 2020 compared to 30,300 in 2012.

NBCOT practice exam for COTA exam

You wishing to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant? Of course, you must pass the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) certification examination, which is developed by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT).

One of great way to prepare for the NBCOT exam (COTA) is try out all of following free NBCOT practice exam for COTA exam:

All of above NBCOT practice exam for the COTA exam are free, and you may take it as many times as you wish. Good luck!

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