Occupational Therapist Assistant

Occupational Therapist Assistant

Career Overview

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.

Future Outlook

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.

Work Environment

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.

Recommended High School Courses

  • Communication
  • Science - as much as possible, including biology and psychology!

  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Static Strength - The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Time Sharing - The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Develop patient therapy programs.
  • Encourage patients during therapeutic activities.
  • Monitor patient progress or responses to treatments.
  • Teach basic living or other adaptive skills to patients or caregivers.
  • Maintain medical records.
  • Record vital statistics or other health information.
  • Teach medical procedures or medical equipment use to patients.
  • Implement therapeutic programs to improve patient functioning.
  • Assist patients with daily activities.
  • Confer with other professionals to plan patient care.
  • Administer screening tests to determine abilities or treatment needs.
  • Attend educational events to update medical knowledge.
  • Communicate patient status to other health practitioners.
  • Prepare medical reports or documents.
  • Perform clerical work in medical settings.
  • Process medical billing information.
  • Schedule patient procedures or appointments.
  • Teach medical procedures to healthcare personnel.
  • Clean medical equipment.
  • Maintain medical equipment or instruments.
  • Prepare medical instruments or equipment for use.
  • Inventory medical supplies or equipment.
  • Move patients to or from treatment areas.
  • Make patient-assistive devices or device models.


Abilene Christian Univers...
Alabama State University
Alvernia University
Arcadia University
Asbury University
Assumption College
Augustana University
Austin Community College...
Ball State University
Baylor University
Belmont University
Bemidji State University
Birmingham Southern Colle...
Bismarck State College
Bowling Green State Unive...
Bradley University
Brenau University
Cape Fear Community Colle...
Carroll College
Cleveland University- Kan...
Delaware Technical And Co...
Durham Technical Communit...
Eastern University
Evangel University
Everett Community College
Florida Agricultural And...
Fontbonne University
Herzing University- Minne...
Indian Hills Community Co...
Kapiolani Community Colle...
Lake Washington Institute...
Milwaukee Area Technical...
Navarro College- Corsican...
New York University
Newman University
Nicholls State University
Parker University
Pennsylvania State Univer...
Pennsylvania State Univer...
Pennsylvania State Univer...
Pennsylvania State Univer...
Pitt Community College
Praxis Institute- Hialeah...
Praxis Institute- Miami C...
Roane State Community Col...
Rogers State University
Southeastern University
Southwestern Oklahoma Sta...
St. Philip’s College- Mar...
Sterling College
Suny Jamestown Community...
Suny Orange County Commun...
Suny Rockland Community C...
Anderson College Of He...
Anderson College Of He...
Anderson College Of He...
Anderson College Of He...
Anderson College Of He...
Brandon University
Campion College
Canadian Mennonite Uni...
Fanshawe College- Lond...
Fleming College- Suthe...
Macewan University- Ci...
Medicine Hat College
Mohawk College- Instit...
Nova Scotia Community...
Nova Scotia Community...
Professional Career De...
St. Claire College- Ch...
Université Sainte-anne

Potential Scholarships

5 Strong Scholarship
Agnes M. Lindsay Scholars...

Approx Salary Expectation

Low End:
$41,730.00 /yr
$61,510.00 /yr
High End:
$82,210.00 /yr


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/.
Trend Analysis - Explorer the Market, Labour Market Information, Government of Canada https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/trend-analysis.
O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, https://www.onetonline.org/.