Occupational therapy technicians are healthcare professional who assists occupational therapist in their day-t-day duties. Occupational therapist help patients to develop working and living skills needed to live independently and occupational therapist technician help to work out the therapy plan devised for a particular patients. Occupational therapist technician perform support activities and work under the supervision of the occupational therapist.
They also keep record of each patient’s progress and inform the occupational therapist if any changes are needed to the therapy plan. Occupational therapist technicians are also known as occupation therapy assistants and they help patients to improve their skills needed for daily life.
They usually work in occupational therapists’ offices, nursing care facilities,hospitals etc. They have to spend much of their time in setting up equipment for the patients, make sure that they provide patients whatever aides they need and spend time with them.
Pros and Cons of an Occupational Therapy Technician Career
Occupational therapy technicians assist occupational therapists to implement therapy plans tailored to recover and maintain a patient’s ability needed for regularfunctioning independently. There is a good demand for physical therapy technicians. As with all other careers, occupational therapy technician’s job also has its pros and.
They get above average salary and as such they can make a good living. The job is satisfactory one as they help patients to improve on their life. It also doesn’t require high education.
The career of physical therapy assistants is physically very demanding as most of the time you have to kneel of lift weight in order to help patients. You might have to work extra times, may be in the evening or on weekends. You need to get certification and get license to work as a physical therapy assistant. You also have to do some administrative work.
To work as an occupational therapy technician, you need to have a 2-year associate degree. Training programs for occupational assistants are accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. There are about 162 occupational therapist programs accredited by it. It includes courses in biology, physiology, child health, medical basics, occupational therapy techniques and field work of certain hours.
To practice as an occupational therapy assistant, you have to get a state license. To get the license, you must have completed an accredited program and you have to pass an examination. Some of the states also ask for some specific requirements, that you need to possess.
As a physical therapy assistant, you need to have certain skills and attitudes such as caring and encouraging attitude, patience, sensitivity, good communication skills, ability to work in a team, ability to work with the people of all ages and backgrounds and you need to be very practical. You also need to be physically strong and compassion for the patients.
Salary Information and Job Outlook
Physical therapy assistants earn good salary and according to the BLS report the median salary of a physical therapy assistant is $52,000 with the top 10% earn above $70,000 and lower 10% get as low as $32,000. It is predicted that the demand for the physical therapy assistants is likely to increase by 43% by 2020.
The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2011 that occupational therapy assistants made a median wage of about $52,000. The BLS predicted a 43% increase in employment from 2010-2020 as population increase leads to the growth of the number of elderly and aging population need more care due to their weakening health and medical conditions. Majority of the occupational therapy assistant’swork in the nursing care facilities.With some work experience, you are likely to earn more.
Standing out in the Field
On completion of an ACOTE-accredited program, you become eligible to appear for certification as a COTA from the NBCOT. It is not compulsory to get this certification, but it is an added advantage and many of the employers give much importance to it. Even if it not required as per the credentials of the employer, you get an extra edge with this. It also demonstrates your competency in the field of occupational therapy.
You also need to renew your license at times and for that professional development units areneeded. So you have to continue your education and you can take classes, attend to conferences and seminars. As you are in the health care field, you also have to keep yourself updated of the latest developments in the healthcare systems and new techniques and initiatives in the field of occupational therapy. It increases your chances to get a good position.
If you want to work in the healthcare field and also want to work by the motto “live life to its fullest”, you can consider a career as an occupational therapy technician.