Occupational therapy assistants have licensed health care professionals who help people navigate their way through life’s daily activities. They provide therapy, usually physical support, to patients recovering from disability, post-surgery recovery, or medical events.
The tasks of an occupational therapy assistant are that of support because promoting a balanced life for the patients entails dedication and passion for the job. This team of health care professionals is found in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, nursing homes, occupational therapy centers, and schools.
Educational qualifications & certifications
Occupational therapy assistants must possess qualifications that certify their skills and efficiency as a career path within the medical field. In addition, an occupational therapy assistant must have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program.
Furthermore, certification is also required from the American Occupational Therapy Association as this endorses credibility and prevents fraud. For individuals interested in pursuing a career in occupational therapy, an examination conducted by the United States National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy is taken to ascertain their level of efficiency and expertise. In the first year of learning, students undergo mental and physical assessments in various courses.
Courses such as mental health, pediatrics, and gerontology.
Mental health awareness has become significantly necessary since the issue of mental health has come under the radar for the last decade. Unfortunately, many preyed by circumstances have caved into the pressure from internal and external scenarios. The impact of these pressures, if handled poorly, could affect the mental health of the victims. Occupational therapy assistants provide such victims with the support needed to navigate the changes in their lives.
This is a delicate terrain as it concerns children and their welfare. So, individuals who are ready to pursue a career in occupational therapy should be open to learning and embrace every aspect of this medical profession.
From children going through psychological situations to those recovering from trauma-induced ailments, providing therapy to these little ones can be tricky as they might present themselves as complex and unyielding during therapy sessions.
Adequate training equips an occupational therapy assistant with expertise in assessing and managing pediatric cases.
Aging is a process that is part of life, but it comes with its intricacies. For example, at a particular stage, the cells in the body are no longer renewed, thus the breakdown of cellular activities and biological metabolism. Older people experience a lot of changes when the aging process sets in, and having someone walk them through the process is a relief they would welcome.
So, occupational therapy assistants help these older people process the changes that come with aging.
How to become an occupational therapy assistant
- The first step for an occupational therapy assistant is to obtain an educational degree, usually a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree from an accredited occupational therapy program.
- Pass the State National Board of Certificate Examinations to get a license from the American Occupational Therapy Association
- Apply for jobs in firms that provide occupational therapy service
Career opportunities for occupational therapy assistant
Start a private practice
Occupational therapy assistants can launch a private practice after acquiring the necessary license. Although, opening an establishment that provides occupational therapy services requires preparation. Getting a license is one thing but developing the right skills to operate a private occupational therapy facility is a step that must be taken to promote efficiency and prompt service delivery.
Here are some tips to follow when starting a private occupational therapy practice
- Have in-depth knowledge of the industry. Research should be done on available resources and understand your competitive edge.
- Conduct market research and do a feasibility study on the market opportunities that abound for your chosen career path
- Choose a niche to help you narrow your choices and promote career focus.
- Adopt a legal entity for incorporation
- Get the proper license and certification.
- Prepare the right amount of capital for your investment.
- Employ the right staff. Perform due diligence to ascertain the credibility
An occupational therapy assistant can start a consulting service by running a platform that promotes campaign awareness of occupational therapy services. For example, they can utilize social media platforms or run a website to promote their service and drive traffic to their platform.
Rehabilitation and training consultant
People need one sort of rehabilitation every day, and these services can be prepared to target a specific niche. From patients suffering from trauma-induced disorders to convalescent patients, the need for occupational therapists in this circumstance has opened career opportunities for occupational therapy assistants to venture into another line of consultancy business.
Occupational therapy assistants who work as rehabilitation and training consultants offer training, recruitment, and rehabilitating opportunities to customers who solicit their services.
Assistive technology assistant
Today, the adoption of digitally enhanced devices has enabled accessibility and ease of doing things. For example, an occupational therapy assistant can provide medical aids that are technologically enabled to assist with healing and treatment.
These include technology utilized for daily life, such as hearing aids, mobility aids, and other sensory impairment aids. The occupational therapy assistant provides valuable information about these devices to their patients to maximize their benefits.
Social media is the next superb thing for influencers as this domain has been taken over by youths and brand owners. It is a platform that has pushed many businesses beyond the walls of office complexes by broadening business horizons.
Many businesses have been promoted through social media platforms such as YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, and an occupational therapy assistant can also utilize these platforms to promote their service. Creating a blogging website or a podcast account is another medium for promoting content on occupational therapy.
Roles of occupational therapy assistant
An occupational therapy assistant performs medically inclined roles, and supporting patients with the right aid is the hallmark of their profession.
Some of the conditions that occupational therapy assistants take care of include
- Parkinson’s disorder
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Mental health issues
- Brain injuries
- Bone malformation
Occupational therapy assistants are an integral part of medical practice. Several people need therapy, and occupational therapy assistants are trained medical professionals who provide physical support such as exercises and recreational activities that engender recovery and rehabilitation.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for occupational therapy assistants ranges from USD 85,710 to USD 101,930 per year.