Occupational therapy focuses on helping people develop and maintain skills they need in their everyday lives. This type of therapy uses everyday items–like toys, clothes, and cleaning supplies– to teach activities of daily living and increase independence.

Occupational therapist assistants help accident victims with regaining mobility and teach children with developmental issues how to hold a pencil and tie their shoes. With a growth rate of 32 percent, it is one of the fastest growing occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Job Description

Common OTA duties include:

  • Teach and help patients perform stretches and other exercises
  • Lead children in activities and games designed to promote socialization, coordination, and developmental skills
  • Teach patients how to use special assistive equipment to increase independence
  • Encourage patients to complete tasks and activities
  • Coordinate and report treatment progress to occupational therapists, record progress, and perform some administrative tasks

Common OTA Skills include:

  • Compassionate
  • Physical strength
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to keep information confidential

Occupational Therapy Assistant Training Description

In order to become an occupational therapy assistant, you need to earn an associates in occupational therapy. These programs usually last two years or around 60-80 credit hours.

OTA students take classes in kinesiology, the muscular and skeletal system, and psychiatric disorders, childhood and adult development, geriatrics, and the aging process. In conjunction with this, they learn methods to treat their patients at every life stage.

Running both individual and group therapy are common in clinical settings. OTA students learn how to conduct therapy, get people to work together in a group, and control the session.

OTA students also learn medical terminology, how to use special medical equipment, how to document medical records, documentation for insurance, and HIPPA compliance.