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Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

Employment Opportunities

The U.S Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that the job outlook for occupational therapy assistants will continue to grow. Specifically, it states that:

Employment of occupational therapy assistants and aides is expected to grow by 30 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for occupational therapist assistants and aides will continue to rise because of the increasing number of individuals with disabilities or limited function.

Where do occupational therapy practitioners work?

Occupational therapy practitioners work in a variety of job settings. Public schools, hospitals, mental health centers, nursing homes, physician practices, and home health agencies are all job settings that may employ occupational therapy practitioners. With career advancement, occupational therapy practitioners may move into management, specialization, teaching, research, or private practice positions.

One of the greatest advantages of a career as an occupational therapy assistant is the wide variety of opportunities available to graduates. Many occupational therapy assistants choose to work in community-based settings. Some jobs a COTA can do include...

  • Activity Program Manager
  • Vision Intervention Specialist
  • Job Coach for Clients with Disabilities
  • Group Home Manager
  • Assistive Technology Consultant
  • Orthotics Fabrication Specialist
  • Inclusive Apparel Seamstress
  • Case Manager for Clients in Supportive Living
  • Wheelchair Vendor
  • Independent Living Skills Trainer
  • Director of Day Care for Special Needs Children
  • Office/Factory Ergonomics Consultant
  • Web Sight Designer for Consumers with Disabilities
  • Specialist in Lifestyle Redesign
  • Daily Living Skills Counselor for Eating Disorder Clients
  • Corporate Wellness Director
  • Community Integration Specialist
  • Inclusion Specialist for Recreation Programs
  • Home Modification Consultant
  • Rehab Equipment Salesperson
  • Teacher Aid for Special Needs Student
  • Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist

What is the salary for occupational therapy assistants?

Median annual wages of occupational therapist assistants were $48,230 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $39,240 and $57,810. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $65,160. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of occupational therapist assistants in May 2008 were:

  • Home health care services $53,090
  • Offices of other health practitioners 50,810
  • Nursing care facilities 50,790
  • General medical and surgical hospitals 45,760
  • Elementary and secondary schools 41,850

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Occupational Therapist Assistants and Aides, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos166.htm.

Does occupational therapy offer opportunities for individuals of culturally diverse backgrounds?

Yes, the occupational therapy profession is actively seeking to increase the number of practitioners representing culturally diverse backgrounds. Target populations include African-Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders. Other underrepresented groups include people with disabilities and men.


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