Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.
Occupational therapy assistants need an associate’s degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program. All states regulate the practice of occupational therapy assistants. Occupational therapy aides typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and receive training on the job.
Employment of occupational therapy assistants is projected to grow 35 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of occupational therapy aides is projected to grow 20 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 1,600 new jobs over the 10-year period.
Occupational therapy assistants and aides work primarily in occupational therapists’ offices, in hospitals, and in nursing care facilities. Occupational therapy assistants and aides spend much of their time on their feet while setting up equipment and, in the case of assistants, providing therapy to patients.