Occupational Therapy Assistant Review
A career as an occupational therapy assistant is perfect for anyone looking to join a small but rapidly growing field that offers flexible schedules. People skills matter, too, as they work closely with patients of all ages to help them develop or regain important life skills.
Very flexible schedule
Depending on the employer and the types of patients, occupational therapy (OT) assistants may be able to choose their own hours. This flexibility is unusual in healthcare professions, but it’s extremely valuable if you have other commitments you need to work around. You never have to worry about staying close to the office in case an emergency arises because OT assistants aren’t usually on call like most other medical workers. Of course, not every OT assistant is going to enjoy this much flexibility. Certain types of patients may need care at specific times and you’ll need to accommodate them. Generally, though, if you’re looking for a job that offers a lot of scheduling options, you really can’t do much better than a career as an occupational therapy assistant.
Choose from many types of work environments
Occupational therapy assistants work with patients of all ages and can be found everywhere from schools to nursing homes. This is great if you’re interested in working with a specific type of patient, such as children with disabilities or the elderly. If you’d like some more variety, seek out employment in a hospital or the office of an occupational therapist. Here, you’ll have the chance to work with patients of all ages who need help developing or regaining important skills they need to function in their daily lives. The need for occupational therapy assistants in so many different work environments is good for the overall job outlook in this field, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a position that suits your interests and talents.
One of the fastest-growing careers
The number of occupational therapy assistants is expected to go up by 43% in the next 10 years. This is mainly because the growing population of elderly people will increase the demand for occupational therapists, and assistants will be needed to help deal with the influx of new patients. Currently, there are relatively few occupational therapy assistants out in the workforce, but the thousands of new jobs appearing in this field within the next decade means individuals trained in this area will be in high demand. If you already have some experience in occupational therapy or a similar field, your job prospects will be even more promising.
Relatively small field
There are currently only about 30,000 occupational therapy assistants working in the U.S., making it one of the smallest fields we reviewed. This could make it difficult to find work as an OT assistant in certain areas. However, the number of OT assistants is slated to surge in the next decade, so this should become less and less of an issue as time goes on.
Can't advance without further education
For occupational therapy assistants who want to move up within the field, the only option is to go back to school to become an occupational therapist. The good thing is a job as an OT assistant serves as a good way to get your foot in the door and gain some experience while you pursue your degree. However, going back to school is expensive and it may not be an option for everyone. This may be a limiting factor in terms of advancing in the field, so it’s something you’ll want to think about before entering the field.
Some physically demanding tasks
Occupational therapy assistants may be required to lift patients from time to time and spend the majority of the day on their feet. This constant activity makes for a physically strenuous job, though this is true of almost any profession in the medical field. You should keep this in mind as you consider your options for potential careers because this is will likely have a big impact on how you feel about your job. Some may not mind the physical activity while, for others, it could be a deal breaker.
- Career Growth (2012-2022): 43%
- Median Pay: $53,240
- Number of Jobs: 30,300
- Number of New Jobs (2012-2022): 12,900