Is becoming an occupational therapist assistant right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do occupational therapist assistants do?
Career Satisfaction
Are occupational therapist assistants happy with their careers?
What are occupational therapist assistants like?

Still unsure if becoming an occupational therapist assistant is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become an occupational therapist assistant or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

How to become an Occupational Therapist Assistant

To become an occupational therapist assistant, follow these general steps:

  • Educational Requirements: Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent to meet the minimum educational requirement. Most OTA programs require applicants to have completed specific high school courses, such as biology, anatomy, and psychology.
  • Enroll in an Accredited OTA Program: Attend an accredited occupational therapy program that typically leads to an associate degree. These programs are offered by community colleges, technical schools, or universities. Ensure that the program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
  • Complete OTA Program Prerequisites: Some OTA programs may have prerequisites, such as completing specific coursework or gaining relevant work experience. Check with the program you intend to apply to and fulfill these requirements if necessary.
  • Clinical Training: During your OTA program, you will undergo hands-on clinical training in various healthcare settings to gain practical experience working with patients under the supervision of licensed occupational therapists.
  • Pass the NBCOT Exam: After successfully completing your OTA program, you must take and pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam. This exam assesses your knowledge and competency in the field and is a prerequisite for becoming a licensed OTA.
  • Obtain State Licensure: Check the licensure requirements in the state where you plan to work. Some states may require additional steps, such as a background check or jurisprudence exam, to become a licensed OTA.
  • Continuing Education: To maintain your OTA licensure and certification, you will need to participate in continuing education activities regularly. These activities help you stay updated with the latest developments in the field and improve your skills as a healthcare professional.
  • Job Search and Employment: After becoming a licensed OTA, start searching for job opportunities in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, schools, and nursing homes.

Helpful Resources
Occupational therapist assistants can find valuable resources to support their professional growth and development through various organizations, websites, and publications. Here are some helpful resources:

  • American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA): AOTA is the national professional organization for occupational therapy practitioners in the US. It offers resources, continuing education opportunities, publications, and networking events for OTAs. Their website provides access to evidence-based practice resources, professional development courses, and information on advocacy and policy issues.
  • National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT): NBCOT is responsible for administering the certification exam for occupational therapy practitioners. Their website offers exam preparation resources, continuing education opportunities, and information on maintaining certification.
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant Schools and Programs: Many OTA programs and schools have dedicated websites that provide information about the curriculum, admission requirements, and faculty. These resources are beneficial when considering educational options.
  • Occupational Therapy Journals: Journals such as the "American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT)" and "Occupational Therapy in Health Care" publish research articles and case studies relevant to the OTA profession. Accessing these journals through university libraries or online subscriptions can keep OTAs up-to-date with the latest research and evidence-based practices.
  • OTA Community Forums and Social Media Groups: Online forums and social media groups dedicated to OTAs provide a platform for sharing experiences, discussing challenges, and seeking advice from fellow professionals. Websites like Reddit, Facebook, or LinkedIn have active communities focused on occupational therapy.
  • State Occupational Therapy Associations: State-specific occupational therapy associations often provide local resources, job listings, networking opportunities, and continuing education events. Check the website of your state's occupational therapy association for relevant information.