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Career Profile: Occupational Therapy Assistants

Assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with state laws, assist in development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, direct activity programs, and document the progress of treatments. Generally requires formal training.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 43,300 people employed as occupational therapy assistants in the United States. The median annual salary is $62,900. Entry level employees earn approximately $43,180 per year and senior employees earn approximately $84,090 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Design, fabricate, or repair assistive devices or make adaptive changes to equipment or environments.
  • Assist educational specialists or clinical psychologists in administering situational or diagnostic tests to measure client's abilities or progress.
  • Monitor patients' performance in therapy activities, providing encouragement.
  • Instruct, or assist in instructing, patients and families in home programs, basic living skills, or the care and use of adaptive equipment.
  • Maintain and promote a positive attitude toward clients and their treatment programs.
  • Observe and record patients' progress, attitudes, and behavior and maintain this information in client records.
  • Aid patients in dressing and grooming themselves.
  • Implement, or assist occupational therapists with implementing, treatment plans designed to help clients function independently.
  • Communicate and collaborate with other healthcare professionals involved with the care of a patient.
  • Evaluate the daily living skills or capacities of physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabled clients.
  • Attend continuing education classes.
  • Report to supervisors, verbally or in writing, on patients' progress, attitudes, and behavior.
  • Alter treatment programs to obtain better results if treatment is not having the intended effect.
  • Work under the direction of occupational therapists to plan, implement, or administer educational, vocational, or recreational programs that restore or enhance performance in individuals with functional impairments.
  • Teach patients how to deal constructively with their emotions.
  • Demonstrate therapy techniques, such as manual or creative arts or games.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as scheduling appointments, collecting data, or documenting health insurance billings.
  • Assemble, clean, or maintain equipment or materials for patient use.
  • Attend care plan meetings to review patient progress and update care plans.
  • Order any needed educational or treatment supplies.
  • Transport patients to and from the occupational therapy work area.
  • Select therapy activities to fit patients' needs and capabilities.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
43,300
Annual Openings:
7,800
Increase in Openings by 2030:
36%
Annual Salary Range:
$43,180 - $84,090
Education Requirements:
Associate's degree