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How to Make a Difference: OTA Edition


All healthcare professionals have a need to help others. This is how occupational therapy assistants make a difference on the job.

A career in healthcare is more than just a great job. It’s one that actively makes a difference in the lives of others. Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) do that by working with clients who need to either gain or regain essential daily skills. If you’re considering becoming an OTA, here are four ways that these professionals make a difference for people in all stages of life.

Related resource: A Day in the Life of an Occupational Therapy Assistant

1. OTAs assist aging boomers

One of the most fundamental ways you can make a difference as an OTA is just by becoming one. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current estimates for OTA demand span from 2014 until 2024, and they estimate that the number of occupational therapy assistants will increase by 43 percent during that window. Like in other healthcare fields, the increased demand is largely due to the aging baby boomer population. As they grow older, one of the largest generations in American history will need assistance regaining skills to complete daily tasks. If you want to meet a growing need for care in the United States, become an OTA.

Related resource: 6 Outdoor Activities for OTAs

2. OTAs help kids gain the skills they need

An increased number of older adults in the U.S. is driving the demand for occupational therapy assistants, but seniors are by no means the only group that requires the work of an OTA. OTAs often assist children with autism, or others who are born with chronic conditions or developmental delays. These diagnoses, though, aren’t barriers to a fulfilling life. With proper early treatment, children who benefit from occupational therapy can gain essential cognitive and physical skills early in their lives to be self-sufficient for years to come.

If you want to make a difference that lasts for a long, long time, work with kids. The work you do benefits them for the duration of their lives, and like any other professional who works with children, you’ll experience the pride of preparing the next generation for the future.

Related resource: 10 Creative OTA Therapy Ideas to Improve Skills and Function

3. OTAs treat wounded warriors

While occupational therapists are often associated with young children and senior citizens, they also help plenty of clients who are in the middle of their lives. The U.S. has an estimated veteran population of 22 million, and many of those servicemen and servicewomen have lost the ability to perform daily skills due to injuries they received in the line of duty. Occupational therapy can help veterans regain daily skills and movements, and ease the sometimes painful transition back into civilian life.

Related resource: 6 Great OTA Career Opportunities

4. OTAs help people live again

Occupational therapy assistants help people regain the ability to participate in their daily lives. Several medical conditions can take things from you. Diseases, disorders, and injuries can steal away your health, your emotional well-being, and years of your life. Sometimes even more frustrating than that is the loss of a small thing that you took for granted, such as the ability to drive or walk, or being able to hold something in your hands easily and without pain. When those things are taken from you, injuries and conditions can become frustrating. OTAs help clients take those things back.

For information about Ameritech’s OTA program, check out our free e-book, 7 Fast Facts About Becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant, and keep in touch with the Ameritech community on Facebook.