Occupational therapy often times gets confused with physical therapy making it a hidden gem in the healthcare field. It can be a very fulfilling and rewarding career because you’re helping people gain back their confidence and their ability to do daily tasks to live independent lives. Patients can regain hope and learn how to overcome or lead better lives while dealing with illnesses, injuries or disabilities. And the best part? You took part in helping them achieve those goals.
If you’re thinking about choosing this career, you’re probably also thinking about which role you’d like to take. Do you want to become an assistant or go further in your education and become the therapist? Do you want to gain experience first before you decide just how far you’d like to go? To help you decide, here’s a quick breakdown between the occupational therapist (OT) and occupational therapy assistant (OTA).
An occupational therapist is the first person a patient meets with to determine a treatment plan based on the patient’s goals and needs. The OT may work with them directly or they may hand the treatment plan over to the OTA. The OTA will then follow the treatment plan and take notes while working with the patient and report the progress to the OT.
The required education for an OT is a master’s degree. For an OTA, an associate degree is required. Don’t be mistaken, however, as OTA’s have many responsibilities and must depend on their knowledge of occupational therapy interventions, plans, anatomy, kinesiology and much more. They will also have to put their emotional support to work while treating the patient, which will be learned psychology, principles of mental health and additional courses while attending the OTA program at Pima Medical Institute.
If you’re undecided about becoming an OT, the OTA program is a great way to dip your toes into the field and gain experience. The Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Pima Medical takes about 20 months to complete and our career services teams will help with job placement once you graduate. So, would you want to change lives and work in a rewarding healthcare career? Becoming an OTA is a great way to do it. Get started now!