Career Profile: Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)

By Staff Writer Published on May 15, 2013

What Do Occupational Therapist Assistants Do?

For Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) working in Occupational Therapy, there is one overarching goal: to help patients lead independent lives by altering tasks and simplifying environments so that day-to-day activities can be performed. Initially, most people probably assume this means helping a patient recover from a sudden and unexpected accident, such as a car accident or stroke. This is often true, but occupational therapy can also be useful for people of all ages in different types of circumstances.

For example, occupational therapy can be used to help aging adults dealing with arthritis or dementia, or it can be used to help young children or youth cope with the symptoms of autism. The circumstances and situations for using occupational therapy can be quite varied, but they’re all working towards the same goal of helping patients live life to the fullest.

Where Do Occupational Therapist Assistants Work?

Because of the wide spectrum of ways that occupational therapy can serve patients, OTAs can work in several different environments. The most common areas are offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists. OTAs can also work in hospitals and elementary schools. Sometimes, occupational therapy can even take place in the home of a client through home health care services.

What Type of Person Makes a Good Occupational Therapy Assistant?

There is no set-in-stone type of person that is ideal for the job. Anyone who takes the time and makes the effort to properly learn the profession can qualify himself or herself to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant. However, there are certain attributes that can make a big difference in helping OTAs perform their job to the best of their abilities:

  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone and being personally connected with others on the job.


Where Can I Receive Training to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

At Stevens-Henager College, we offer an Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assisting at the Ogden/West Haven and Layton campuses. Through this degree program, you can learn topics such as functional anatomy, physiology, neuroanatomy, functional movement, pediatric occupations, and much more. If you’re interested in finding out how you can enroll in OTA program at Stevens-Henager College, contact us here or call 1-888-814-4813.

Author Bio
Sara Nelson is the Social Media Guru for Stevens-Henager College, overseeing the college’s profiles on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and more. She is also a student in the Master in Business Administration (MBA) program, and she enjoys spending time with her family, listening to good music, and eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.