6 Great OTA Career Opportunities
When an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) goes to work, each day is different. In fact, most places they work are unique, too. The nature of an OTA’s job requires that they teach the skills of daily living.
You might think of an OTA working in a rehabilitation clinic or hospital, but these healthcare professionals can be found in many other places! If you’ve been considering a career as an OTA but aren’t sure where you’d like to end up, check out our list.
Where do occupational therapy assistants work?
Occupational therapy assistants have jobs in all the many places life takes us. They might be in a rehab facility teaching a recent stroke survivor how to use a wheelchair. They might be in a school helping kids overcome learning difficulties.
Occupational therapy assistants may also be found in centers for acute care, hospitals, inpatient and outpatient, skilled nursing, seating and mobility, drug and alcohol rehab, inpatient and outpatient eating disorder clinics, and work hardening clinics.
OTAs also frequently work in orthotics and prosthetics, as well as in dementia rehabilitation centers.
Think outside the hospital. Does one of these job opportunities sound like a good fit for you?
Related resource: 6 Personality Traits of Highly Effective OTAs
Many schools hire OTAs to help students adapt to the classroom. Those adaptations might be physical, for example, making modifications to a keyboard to help a student with muscular dystrophy type and communicate.
OTAs can also help kids with attention and hyperactivity disorders (ADHD or ADD). OTAs can:
- Use a variety of methods to ensure a child with ADHD can participate at home and school settings
- Make recommendations for programs that address ADHD.
- Use sensory integration to modify the environment and decrease noise and distractions.
Related resource: What Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Do?
2. Rehabilitation centers
Physical therapy (PT) is not the same as occupational therapy (OT), but OTAs frequently work alongside PTs in a rehab setting.
There are many kinds of rehabilitation centers, and OTAs can be found in most! Rehabilitation environments for OTAs often fall many different categories; here are just two you might see:
Medical rehab centers: Here, an OTA helps patients restore function after an injury. As in many other circumstances, this work might include physical modifications to everyday objects, such as a fork or toothbrush, that give patients the ability to get along on their own.
In-patient drug or alcohol rehab centers: Here, an OTA might work with patients who have suffered a medical issue due to substance abuse, such as short-term memory and abstract thinking.
Related resource: Down Syndrome Awareness and Patient-Centered Care
3. Skilled nursing facility
Every nursing home, or long-term care facility (LTC), loves an OTA. Many residents of these facilities are stroke survivors, Parkinson’s, or other physically debilitating illnesses. OTAs help LTC residents work with disabilities to maintain their quality of life and a level of independence.
In this situation, an occupational therapy assistant might examine a resident’s former occupation, lifetime habits, and preferences, then execute recommendations to keep residents happy and active.
4. Home health
An occupational therapy assistant can work in any number of capacities that result in home visits. In fact, OTAs can do great work in a home-care setting because home is where many patients spend a great deal of time and feel most comfortable.
OTAs in home health assist patients from a wide range of ages and health histories go about their daily routines. Making coffee, personal hygiene, hobbies, recordkeeping, and all manner of tasks fall under the purview of a home-health OTA.
In addition to being a fast-growing field, home health pays well for OTAs.
Related resource: 10 Reasons Occupational Therapy Assistants Love Their Work
Applying for an OTA job
After you’ve identified a setting or two where you’d like to work, an occupational therapy assistant should have a few tools in place to impress future employers. Even if you’re not actively looking for an OTA job, it’s a good idea to have the following.
The OTA resume
If you have experience with therapy, it certainly has a home on your resume. But even if you’re still in school, you can refer to your clinical or school experience to address the roles and responsibilities specified in the job description. These may include regular screening of long-term residents, while maintaining their privacy and confidentiality.
A LinkedIn profile
The first thing any hiring manager does is an online search of good candidates for the job. You don’t want to be associated with something negative online, but you should have some kind of online presence.
A LinkedIn profile is a professional way to present yourself and your skills in a way that builds confidence — and in a way you can control. OTA LinkedIn must-haves include a professional picture, group memberships, a compelling professional summary, and more.