Occupational therapist wearing a navy polo and khakis kneels on a colorful floor mat with a blond child. They smile and play with a wooden toy. Text overlay says occupational therapy assistant jobs.

7 Occupational Therapy Assistant Jobs

Gwen Davis-Barrios
Reviewed by Dr. Crystal Young
Mar 25, 2024

For many potential Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs), the range of possible OTA jobs and work locations is a major draw to the career. As an OTA, you have the option to find a career that best suits your personality, working with a population in a setting where your individual skills shine. Joyce University’s flexible OTA program is designed to support you in finding an OTA job where you can thrive and make a difference.

Where Do Occupational Therapy Assistants Work?

OTAs work in diverse environments. From hospitals and clinics to home health and schools, there’s an OTA career option that fits your goals and work style.

Occupational Therapy (OT) is holistically-focused, meaning you will collaborate with different healthcare and therapeutic professionals throughout the course of your career. Your professional partnerships will vary depending on the OTA job you choose. Coworkers are a huge part of daily work life, so consider your working relationships when choosing an OTA career path.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Jobs in Schools

A child’s ‘occupation’ is play. Helping children learn through play is a key focus of pediatric OT, and having OTAs available in schools is important for students, their parents, and teachers who need extra support.

OTAs working in schools may physically adapt the classroom. For example, you may modify a keyboard to help a student with muscular dystrophy type and communicate or create quiet spaces for children with focus disorders. OTA jobs in schools also focus on neurodiverse students who have autism spectrum disorder or ADHD. You may recommend or implement programs designed to help these students succeed at school and at home or pull children aside for short OT sessions during the school day.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Jobs in Rehabilitation Centers

There are many kinds of rehabilitation centers, with OTA jobs available in all of them. Two categories of rehab environments include medical rehab centers and in-patient substance rehab centers.

OTAs in medical rehab centers help patients restore function after an injury. Here, you’ll collaborate with Physical Therapists (PT). Your patients may see a PT to build back physical strength and range of motion after an illness or injury. You’ll help them regain the skills to complete their activities of daily living. Whether you work at a long- or short-term rehab center, you’ll make a difference in restoring your patients’ physical, emotional, social, and mental health.

OTAs in addiction treatment rehab centers work with patients whose substance abuse has caused medical issues (though some rehab centers focus on recovery from other addictions, such as gambling or hoarding disorder). In all cases, OTAs working in addiction treatment will help replace addictive behaviors with new, healthier occupations and collaborate with psychiatrists and mental health therapists.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Jobs in Assisted Living Facilities

OTAs are in demand at assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities, and retirement homes. Many residents in these facilities have survived a stroke or have dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or other physically debilitating illnesses. OTA jobs caring for older individuals give you the opportunity to help someone maintain their quality of life and a level of independence.

Assisted living OT jobs require OTAs to examine residents’ former occupations, lifetime habits, preferences, and needs, then work with an OT to create and carry out a care plan. Your work will keep patients happy and active.

Home Health Occupational Therapy Assistant Jobs

Some home health OTA jobs take place nearly entirely in patient homes, but even OTAs who work in clinics or outpatient treatment centers are known to make home visits. OTAs can do a great deal of work in their patients’ homes. After all, this is where people do most of their activities of daily living and where they usually feel most comfortable.

As a home health OTA, you’ll observe your patients as they perform daily tasks. Then you will make plans to assist them or modify their environments to better serve their needs. Home health OTAs help prepare meals and coffee, assist with personal hygiene, keep records for and with their patients, accompany patients as they do hobbies, and more. As a home health OTA, you’ll form close and meaningful relationships with your clients. Additionally, home health is one of the higher paying OTA jobs.

Animal Assisted Occupational Therapy Jobs

Animal-loving OTAs may want to research animal-assisted OT jobs. Incorporating the power of animals can help reduce stress and improve mental health outcomes. It can also help patients accept therapy and be more willing to participate in exercises. OTAs help clients regain skills relating to caring for their own pets or teach them how to adapt to a new service animal. An OTA degree is the first step toward a career in animal-assisted OT.

Joyce University is dedicated to OTA student success, offering job placement assistance for life to all our graduates. OTA graduates can also find OTA job opportunities through the connections made during hands-on fieldwork. Ready for a career that makes a daily impact in the lives of others? Check out our OTA program today.



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