Occupational Therapy Assistants

Description

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.

Tasks

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

Skills

Operations Analysis
Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Equipment Selection
Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Programming
Writing computer programs for various purposes.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

Abilities

Spatial Orientation
The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Night Vision
The ability to see under low light conditions.
Peripheral Vision
The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one's side when the eyes are looking ahead.
Glare Sensitivity
The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.
Sound Localization
The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.

Interests

Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Work Style

Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
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, and 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.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Work Values

Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Behavior Specialist
Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA)
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant-Licensed (COTA-L)
Health Service Worker
Independent Living Specialist
Licensed Occupational Therapy Assistant
Occupational Therapist Assistant
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Occupational Therapy Technician
Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
Rehabilitation Assistant

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$25.6 hourly, $53,240 annual.
Employment (2008):
29,500 employees