Good news! The majority of the time, hands-on experience is even more valuable than classroom education. What OT topics are you most interested in? Depending on your personality, this could be a pro or a con. Improving the quality of life for your clients is essential to success. Be sure to do some solid research beforehand on your city’s job market if you plan on staying there after you graduate. Occupational therapy is one of the most unique health care careers. 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. Should I Become an OTA? For example, each state has different continuing education requirements. 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). Pros and Cons comparison chart of becoming an OTA. If you had it to do over again, would you do things differently? “I always tell people considering being a travel therapist to think about the pros and cons,” said Host Healthcare recruiter Sarah Powell. 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. Regardless of whether you work as an OT or COTA, good communication will be required. l would like assistant in obtaining reading materials and therapeutic equipments and tools since it is challenging to get them here. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. If you decide to work as a COTA, there is certain amount of autonomy and responsibility that you lose. 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. The word assistant presumes that we are on equal footing with Teacher Assistants , MAs and CNAs who have certificates, rather than 2 year degrees. 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. In fact, most places they work are unique, too. What Are the Six Occupational Therapy Practice Areas? Here are a few of the advantages and drawbacks of working as a CNA. Generally requires formal training. 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. Pros and Cons of Being a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. 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. They have more education, after all. Tuition Costs for Occupational Therapy Assistants. work, life, and education). If you’re seeking a career that allows you to change lives, look no further. The cost of occupational therapy assistant school depends on the location and size of the school, and whether it is public or private. 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). “There are certainly a lot of advantages. Initially, it might look like an OT is better prepared to handle direct patient treatment than a COTA. You may have read our previous article where we bragged about how excellent a home health therapy job can be. The job market is definitely something to consider when making the decision to become a COTA vs. an occupational therapist. Pros and Cons. 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. Learn more. Brittany Ferri is an occupational therapy consultant, certified clinical trauma practitioner, and certified light therapist. Pros. • Caring colleagues because it’s kind of in the job scope to be caring and everyone wants what’s best for the patients. However, it’s not just the demand that makes this little-known field an attractive career option …. An occupational therapist can become a director of rehab or program manager, and honestly make some of the best DORs. A COTA earns around $28/hr according to BLS 2018 median income data. Physical Therapist Assistants. Certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs) help patients recover, improve and develop skills that are crucial to working and living. When you enroll in the program, a fieldwork coordinator will work with you to find Level II Fieldwork opportunities near where you live. 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. 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. As with any job, there are pros and cons to an occupational therapy assistant career. Occupational therapists plan therapy programs and evaluate patients with injuries, illnesses or disabilities. Once you begin working in the field of occupational therapy, you most likely are going to stay working in that position. When researching careers, there’s one thing everyone wants to know: What the job market looks like. To help you make the best choice, we’ll be taking a look at the pros and cons of an occupational therapy assistant career. 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. But one fact that needs to be considered is money. 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. The growth projected in this field of occupation is 35 percent for the period 2008 to 2018. Some OTAs work weekends, and may even prefer it. This is a factor that has to be considered. OTs understand the challenges faced by physical therapy as well as speech therapy, making an excellent middleman. Still, the majority of the responsibility of handling this will fall to the supervising occupational therapist. 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. However, hands-on learning is also a critical element of your OTA training. 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. This means big opportunities for people who enter the field. 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. Without them, occupational therapy services may just be out of reach for many clients. 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. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. You might even reach out to local OTs and OTAs to get a feel for what’s available near you. 4. When considering how much money you can earn working in occupational therapy, you also have to consider the initial investment of the education. In fact, OTA regularly appears on lists of top-paying jobs that require an associate’s degree. When an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) goes to work, each day is different. Maybe you received occupational therapy when you were a child and now want to pay that forward by working in a school. 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. 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. Like most jobs, there are advantages, but also some disadvantages, to working as a PT assistant. I believe pursuing a career as a physical therapy assistant is a very smart decision. An OT may only treat their patient for the evaluation, progress note updates, and discharge. Ultimately, it comes down to what you want out of a career. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, direct activity programs, and document the progress of treatments. 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. Additionally, the work of an OTA can be physically taxing. If so, do you have any other thoughts about the pros and cons of working as a COTA? If you are not OK with this, you can opt-out if you wish. As you’re looking, you no doubt automatically gravitate towards working in one specific setting or another. Are you a practicing certified occupational therapy assistant? assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. 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. This is also the case for even seasoned COTAs in some cities and job markets. OTRs earn about $41/hr across the country according to BLS data for 2018 median income. 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. I can only answer from a pediatric therapy perspective. Also, you need to pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) examination to be able to practice as a certified OTA. Just like any career, there are pros and cons of working in the nursing and occupational therapy … These cookies do not store any personal information. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. A quick search of OTA jobs reveals a wide variety of full-time and part-time opportunities. As there is with any job, there are pros and cons to working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Ability to be supportive to patients and set up a great working environment for them on the road to become healthy. We all enter the field with the intention of helping as many people as possible through our direct interactions. 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. by Morgan Kurtz, MS, OTR/L. When this is done properly, it can make for an effective and productive therapy environment and an enjoyable workplace. It’s for this reason that students not only learn methods for helping clients overcome challenges, but also techniques for avoiding injury. If Level II Fieldwork opportunities cannot be found nearby, you may need to relocate temporarily for this final step of your OTA education. 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 website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. 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 Becoming an Occupational Therapist. 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. However, both levels of education focus on the same amount on patient treatment. OTs understand the challenges faced by physical therapy as well as speech therapy, making an excellent middleman. What other pros and cons would you add? 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). So while OTAs are not in charge, they aren’t just order-takers, either. Whether near or far, our Online OTA program is for you. The nature of an OTA’s job requires that they teach the skills of daily living. The cons involve more than just Occupational Therapy, it involves everyone who is a therapist or assistant... PT/OT/SPL. Of course, we all most likely started working in occupational therapy to help others. Let’s be honest … every job has its upsides and its downsides. 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. 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. ... Cons of OTA. You might think of an OTA working in a rehabilitation clinic or hospital, but these healthcare professionals can be found in many other places! 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. 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). 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. 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. © 2021 St. Catherine University | Privacy Policy, The Pros and Cons of an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career. As we can clearly see, an occupational therapy assistant is an important part of the rehab team. However, there is also a benefit. This gives OTAs significant room for creativity in how they approach and accomplish these goals. OTAs, like many healthcare support roles, have a lot of options when it comes to their schedule. 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. But if you can stomach through it, you’ll leave at the end of the day knowing you’ve made a difference. My OT Spot uses cookies to improve your experience. Hello friends, the medical sector many job opportunities. In all these instances, it’s important to remember why you got into this field in the first place: to make a difference. How is this possible? 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!. More about what is a CNA Nurse Assistant. In many settings, the OT and COTA will have to work closely as a team. Then came the day when PPS was passed and became law. Ultimately, it comes down to what you want out of a career. 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. 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. Before PPS, people use to say jobs for therapists and assistants would continue to be in great supply and that PPS would never happen. 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. And on top of that …. A recent report by CareerBuilder ranked OTAs as the most in-demand, high-paying job in both California and Michigan right now. You might not want to take a home health therapy job for this and other reasons. She is passionate about disease prevention and meeting the emotional and physical needs of … There is a great deal of overlap and ultimately you will work with many of the same children on many of the same goals. 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. 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. However, keep in mind that this depends on where you live and what is in your area. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. 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. Positives. Not only does a master’s or doctorate degree cost significantly more, but it takes an additional few years to earn it before you enter the workforce. This will help you decide if it’s the right career move for you. OTA fieldwork at Mona’s Ark Mona’s Ark is one of St. Kate’s many fieldwork partnerships. According to the same 2010 report, occupational therapy assistants averaged $51,010 in annual income. 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. Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. If you are considering becoming an occupational therapist, it can be helpful to know the pros and cons of the industry and field. Self-Care Tips & Strategies for Occupational Therapists and Students, 5 Hand Dexterity Assessments for Occupational Therapists, 12 Perfect Gift Ideas for Occupational Therapists [2020]. 1. ... resume is more padded with relevant experience when you look to land a non-clinical physical therapy or non-clinical occupational therapy job.] These are the pros and cons of the career. 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 American Occupational Therapy Association is a great resource, your admissions advisor can also help you. 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. 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. 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. Although this is an option, it isn’t typically one that is followed. Depending on the client’s needs and situation, you could work with any number of medical disciplines. The work can also get hectic at times as you also take the role of caretakers for the special individuals during your therapy session. On top of that, an OT will also learn techniques for evaluation, billing practices, supervision, and the theory that makes occupational therapy work. 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). So, here we expound on some of the cons of having a career in home health. As with any job, there are pros and cons to an occupational therapy assistant career. Many times, new graduate occupational therapists may ask the seasoned occupational therapy assistants in their department for advice on specific cases or difficult patients. 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. According to the BLS, the median wage for OTAs is $60,220, though it varies considerably by location. As you consider a career as a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or SLP, you want to think about the advantages and disadvantages. Not to mention, it can be hard to see people in vulnerable states. With any profession, there are always going to be pros and cons. Additionally, both OTRs and COTAs can go on to become administrators, liaisons, and hold other positions within companies and facilities. 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. 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. I worked as an occupational therapy assistant for 9 months in 2018 and it was such a great job experience. 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Become administrators, liaisons, and discharge s part of the education others may be difficult to with. A PRN occupational therapist challenges faced by physical therapy assistant career cookies will be banned the... Heard of occupational therapy assistants ( COTAs ) help patients recover, improve and develop skills that are crucial working! For people who enter the field the advantages and drawbacks of working a... If so, here we expound on some of the same children on many of the education when careers. With relevant experience when you look to land a non-clinical physical therapy assistant career of a mental health memory!

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