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Occupational Therapy Assisting: A Visual Guide

Staff Writer
May 3, 2022

Occupational therapy deals with patients of all walks of life who face challenges of all sorts. There’s no condition, diagnosis, or therapeutic situation that occupational therapy doesn’t deal with. Treatment is most often implemented by occupational therapy assistants. If you’re thinking about a life in health care, consider becoming one of these amazing healthcare providers. OTAs teach patients surmount challenges, become independent, and engage with the world on a daily basis.


What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a career devoted to helping patients perform life tasks many of us do day in, day out without a second thought around the home and in the world.

These patients may or may not have disabilities. What unifies them is the fact that performing normal tasks can have therapeutic value. Occupational therapy can work with any diagnosis. What matters most is that it helps patients either gain or regain essential daily skills.

What’s the difference between an OT and an OTA?

Occupational therapists (OTs) will examine patients, develop a plan of treatment, and monitor progress. Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) are the ones who work with the patients to carry that treatment out.

What do OTAs do?

OTAs work with patients on a daily basis, helping them either develop or recover skills to be independent in life.

OTAs assist patients by:

  • Teaching them to perform daily tasks.
  • Using problem-solving to implement therapeutic solutions.
  • Performing patient interventions.
  • Increasing patient independence in their natural environment.
  • Assisting with anything else related to daily tasks! The possibilities are endless.

Where do OTAs work?

OTAs can work in a variety of settings, including but not limited to:

  • Hospitals.
  • Skilled nursing and rehab facilities.
  • Patient homes.
  • Schools.
  • Anywhere a nurse can work, and more!

How do you become an OTA? What’s the pay like?

  • OTAs must have an associate’s degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program.
  • In many states, OTAs must also be licensed.
  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for an OTA is $54,520.
  • Most importantly, OTAs must be ready to live a life of caring and service. The best part of the job is seeing patients’ tangible progress as a result of your work.

What’s Joyce’s OTA program like?

  • Courses are geared toward adults. We know that you have lives and families, and take that into account.
  • Classes are small. We emphasize individual learning as much as possible.
  • Our labs are hands-on and state of the art.
  • Students aren’t on campus more than they need to be.
  • Joyce students are graded on skill set as well as clinical knowledge.
  • Graduates can become eligible for other certifications such as Certified Dementia Practitioner and CarFit Technician.
  • Joyce is one of Utah’s premier programs, striking a balance between academic achievement and job prep.
  • Finish in only five semesters.

Why should you become an OTA?

Being an OTA means that you get to work directly with patients. You’ll see them learn, progress, and gain or regain skills. OTAs remove barriers, open doors, and allow patients to become independent. Joyce is committed to fostering careers of caring and service. While this is the goal of all healthcare professions, OTAs provide it to their patients in an immediate and meaningful way because they make daily life happen.

Occupational therapy is a growing field. If you’ve ever considered a career in healthcare, check out our e-book on seven facts about our OTA program, and be sure to join our community on Facebook.



American Occupational Therapy Association “About Occupational Therapy”

American Occupational Therapy Association “Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain & Process, 3rd Edition”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics “Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides”


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