Are occupational therapy assistant job opportunities growing or declining?

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Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most occupational therapy assistant opportunities?

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Tim in Cincinnati, Ohio

121 months ago

Yes, I believe that jobs for COTA's everywhere have decreased. Job security is not even an issue many employers will discuss, nor is guaranteed hours. Patty in Dover, you are so right about finding a job prior to PPS. I had a job in 1996 that the contract was cut, and we were told that day to pack up and get out. That afternoon, I already had another job secured. Today, I have been unemployed since September. The only jobs I've been offered either want 90% productivity in LTC with no guaranteed hours, or a home health job that the pay was so ridiculousy low there was no way I could justify the expense of the vehicle maintenance and gas expense.

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Evelyn in Everett, WA

121 months ago

Tim in Cincinnati, Ohio said: NO, Part A Medicare and Part B Medicare are two different animals, much like two different insurances. Your Part A are the skilled patients that are normally seen 5 times per week. Depending on the number of minutes of therapy depends on the room rate Medicare pays for. (ie-more therapy, higher reimbursement.) These can be short term people seeking therapy to return home or nursing home patients returning from a hospital stay.
Your Part B patients are nursing home patients that require therapy for other reasons, and have not had a qualifying hospital stay. Pay for these patients come from set rates. In Ohio that rate is between $24-27 per unit (15 minutes). PPS does not affect Part B, but current patients are under the Part B Cap, which limits the amount of therapy that Medicare will pay for per year. The Cap issue is currently being discussed in Washington.
Hope this helps-

Yep!! starting January 2008. I also have heard they are talking about making Part B patients a skilled treatment meaning that only OTRs will be able to treat. COTAs then could only treat Med A and HMOs. This could really kill off COTAs in the end. I'm glad I work in a hospital and don't have to worry about PPS.

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srenae

66 months ago

Brenna in Dallas, Texas said: Come to Texas... There is such a great need for COTA's in rural areas that some are paying 40 - 45 an hour full-time with benefits!

Where in Texas? Do you know of companies that are offering this?

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ashleigh in Ozark, Alabama

66 months ago

yes where in texas are they offering such great rates. i would love to maybe job share with someone thinking about going out there

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COTA in Wimberley, Texas

56 months ago

I live in a rural area outside Austin,Tx and my SNIF cut our wages, froze them and cut our hours. PRN rates have dropped below $40 per hour. I am having to find extra work on weekends to make ends meet, as I am a single mother. I am looking at any options out there not affected by this medicare game... any ideas welcome!! thank you and blessings to all of you out there with this struggle in our profession.

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bacardistuff in St. Petersburg, Florida

56 months ago

Unfortunately, in a rural area, I have no idea what to tell you. I was thinking of home health but if it’s a rural area, you wouldn’t have much business. How close are you to a bigger population? Are you working for a major chain of nursing homes in that you could move/transfer? I’ve worked PRN for a few years now and the most I’ve ever made is $33.80. If you are just under $40 working PRN now, thank your lucky stars.

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COTA in Wimberley, Texas

56 months ago

I had responded to a comment that pay is high in rural Texas. Actually, PRN for COTAs in SNIFs had been $40 and Home health $45. someone posted that they were making $40 to $45 in a SNIF regular rate in rural Texas, and I was sharing my area's rates. I appreciate your comment! I would like to find stable COTA work that paid well for my 15 years experience, as I am a single parent and I currently need to work my fulltime COTA job at a SNIF and pick up hours on weekends elsewhere to make ends meet, groceries, etc.I think our industry is affected by the medicare changes and economy everywhere.

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Otrules in Miami, Florida

55 months ago

COTA in Wimberley, Texas said: I had responded to a comment that pay is high in rural Texas. Actually, PRN for COTAs in SNIFs had been $40 and Home health $45. someone posted that they were making $40 to $45 in a SNIF regular rate in rural Texas, and I was sharing my area's rates. I appreciate your comment! I would like to find stable COTA work that paid well for my 15 years experience, as I am a single parent and I currently need to work my fulltime COTA job at a SNIF and pick up hours on weekends elsewhere to make ends meet, groceries, etc.I think our industry is affected by the medicare changes and economy everywhere.

What is your full time rate at the SNF you're working at? If you don't mind me asking.

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COTA in Wimberley, Texas

55 months ago

I am currently making $29.00 per hour. We got a salary cut 2 years ago. I should be at $ 32 an hour. Other SNIFS are paying $33 to $34 per hour in my area for COTAs with 15 years experience.

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COTA in Wimberley, Texas

55 months ago

In the Austin, Texas area , COTA jobs are to be found, as I am seeing jobs posted online for hospitals and SNIFs. Although, the current problem with medicare changes has affected all facilities ( low census, some have lost hours and paycuts while others are not affected). School jobs are hard to get; however, I hear Pediatric Home health is good. San Antonio seems to be booming with all COTA jobs. Check out Austin and SanAntonio online. Beaautiful area here, as everyone moves here from everywhere for the good economy and lifestyle, as well as real estate is much less expensive compared to California. Check it out!!! Best wishes to you!!

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arash9 in Laguna Hills, California

55 months ago

Hi Everyone
I will be starting the Cota program in a few months and was wondering what the start rates is in Orange Country, Ca? Should I be worried about finding a job? Thank you if you would let me know...

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KW in Fountain Valley, California

55 months ago

Arash9 in Laguna Hills, California said: Hi Everyone
I will be starting the Cota program in a few months and was wondering what the start rates is in Orange Country, Ca? Should I be worried about finding a job? Thank you if you would let me know...

Hi, I was looking into this profession too at Stanbridge College in Irvine. I have taked to a COTA from Huntington Beach, CA and he told me most jobs here in California are at SNFs and at schools. He said schools pay very little. SNFs sounds like a depressing place to work in. So I started looking into Nursing, where I would have a job at a hospital. He said the pay ranges are from $26/hr to max out at $36/hr. Nurses make $30-$40/hr to start at a good hospital.

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arash9 in Laguna Hills, California

55 months ago

Thank you so much... Yah their tuition is about $60000. hopefully not too many get in, especially if they're doing it for only money....

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KW in Fountain Valley, California

55 months ago

I believe the tuition at Stanbridge was $40,000 for the OTA A.A. degree. Not $60,000. They also offer grants through the State of CA and the Federal Govt to help cover maybe about half of the $40,000?? The only other school that offers a COTA program in Orange County is Santa Ana College which has a 2-3 year waitlist.

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sassy224 in Middletown, Connecticut

55 months ago

Bacardistuff in St. Petersburg, Florida said: Unfortunately, in a rural area, I have no idea what to tell you. I was thinking of home health but if it’s a rural area, you wouldn’t have much business . How close are you to a bigger population? Are you working for a major chain of nursing homes in that you could move/transfer? I’ve worked PRN for a few years now and the most I’ve ever made is $33.80. If you are just under $40 working PRN now, thank your lucky stars.

hey, how is tha job market in the tampa bay st pete area, people keep telling me that there is not much jobs.

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bacardistuff in St. Petersburg, Florida

55 months ago

No idea. Best place to check it out for sure is Indeed.com. That's the only website I use for jobs. Things have slowed down since the last Medicare change in the fall but there are jobs here. Perhaps it depends on what kind of a setting you are looking for?

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sassy224 in Middletown, Connecticut

55 months ago

Bacardistuff in St. Petersburg, Florida said: No idea. Best place to check it out for sure is Indeed.com. That's the only website I use for jobs. Things have slowed down since the last Medicare change in the fall but there are jobs here. Perhaps it depends on what kind of a setting you are looking for?

i like the snf setting, is it hard for new grads?

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sassy224 in Middletown, Connecticut

55 months ago

sassy224 in Middletown, Connecticut said: i like the snf setting, is it hard for new grads?

when i look on ineed i see jobs, but when the travel company call me, they say there is nothing in fl. and i really dont want to treavel

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COTA in Wimberley, Texas

55 months ago

Just curious, what kind of job did you find outside of SNIFs? Congrats to you.

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sassy224 in Middletown, Connecticut

55 months ago

COTA in Wimberley, Texas said: Just curious, what kind of job did you find outside of SNIFs? Congrats to you.

pretty much none

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sassy224 in Middletown, Connecticut

55 months ago

but i like snf, but i cant seem to find anything in fl, travel companies keep telling me that they have nothing in fl

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bacardistuff in St. Petersburg, Florida

55 months ago

No...not hard for new grads. Just have a resume and references. New grads are nice for companies because they don't have to pay them as much but I assume that's probably true everywhere.

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bacardistuff in St. Petersburg, Florida

55 months ago

what about schools and outpatient facilities?

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sassy224 in Middletown, Connecticut

55 months ago

Bacardistuff in St. Petersburg, Florida said: No...not hard for new grads. Just have a resume and references. New grads are nice for companies because they don't have to pay them as much but I assume that's probably true everywhere.

do u have any idea what the start pay is for a new grad?

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sassy224 in Middletown, Connecticut

55 months ago

Bacardistuff in St. Petersburg, Florida said: what about schools and outpatient facilities?

i will take anything i get

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sassy224 in Middletown, Connecticut

55 months ago

but on indeed it seem to be all snf in that area

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bacardistuff in St. Petersburg, Florida

55 months ago

What I did was line up interviews via internet (indeed, monster, beyond) after I got my Florida license, came down here from Ohio for 2 weeks and looked around for a place to live. I had 2 job offers by the end of my third day here. I looked around quite a bit before settling here... cost of living, etc. Nashville was my second choice. I had some friends down here already. Put your resume out there while you are applying for your Florida license and see what happens. All you have to lose is the money you spent on the license.

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sassy224 in Middletown, Connecticut

55 months ago

Kelli Luidhardt in Findlay, Ohio said: I am not sure, but Brad did you know that Brown Mackie College is Findlay is offering an Associate Degree in March of 2010 for OTA. I am currently a Licensed Massage Therapist going to school to become a Medical Assistant and OTA interests me, but I do not know if I could find a job in Tiffin?? Do you know if Tiffin is a good area for OTA's?

thank u, i already applied for my Florida lic. hopefully something comes up soon.

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sassy224 in Middletown, Connecticut

55 months ago

thank u i already applied for my fl lic. a few place called me so i hope that something comes up soon.

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Big Tuna in Naples, Florida

55 months ago

COTAMAN said: There are more and more jobs everyday for COTA's, but job security is not. Have worked as a COTA for 27 years and have been replaced by an OTR on my last seven jobs. Also hours are not guaranteed so you may work 40 hours one week and 8-16 the next.
I'm looking forward to my new career this May when I graduate.

COATAMAN, if you don't mind me asking, what is your new career?

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sassy224 in Colchester, Connecticut

55 months ago

what are the hours looking like for fl in ltc for cotas, is it easy to get 32-40hrs a week?

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Cota-mot in Pearland, Texas

55 months ago

Hi, I have been a COTA for 5 years and I went back to school for the bridge program at TWU and I will be graduating in December. I would definetly say take the masters route and be an OTR. I had no trouble finding a job back then, but that was five years ago. Times are changing. I currently work home health and now employers are preferring to hire more OTs than COTAs and that's in all settings. It's getting worse in home health because OTRs would do just the eval and reassessment and discharge but now they are taking over and doing regular visits as well and that leaves COTAs with a very low case load. The employers don't want to piss off the OTs because they are the ones that do the evals. It's all politics to me. I love the field but I hate to say this, in a couple of years COTAs will be phased out and OTRs will be owing more for probably less. Look at the LVN situation in nursing....

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Cota-mot in Pearland, Texas

55 months ago

Oops meant doing more

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StacyMay71 in Denver, Colorado

55 months ago

if your looking for work in the ST Pete FL area call Massage Advantage. They have like 7 offices throughout the Tampa area will an office in ST Pete and one in Pineallas Park. I got a girl friend who works at one of their Tampa offices and says she loves it there. JUST and fyi...

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ceciliacha in dearborn, Michigan

55 months ago

Is it true COTA will be phased out? I am currently taking my prerequisites and I am contemplating COTA. I have observed on job boards a lot of hiring for SNF. Has anyone in my area, got into peds. I do not mind doing SNF, but if I wanted to have the option to change. I would like to. Anything positive to say about SNF?

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COTA in Wimberley, Texas

55 months ago

Exactly where did you get your information that COTAs are going to be "phased OUT" of the OT profession in a couple years? That is quite a statement to make. Being a COTA myself in a SNIF, OTRs need the COTAs to cover the caseload while they do the evals and the Corporations want to keep costs down, keeping COTAs, which are paid about 25% less than OTRs. With medicare changes and cut backs, I would think hiring only OTRs in SNIFs would be more costly. Have you contacted the COTA programs to see if they are sending out COTA graduates to a market that has phased out COTAs?

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Cota-mot in Pearland, Texas

55 months ago

I am only going by what I see here in Houston and from what other people have shared is going on in different parts of the country. I was replying the question someone posed whether to go the COTA route and I voiced my opinion. Schools will continue to teach because that's what they do. I know nursing and OT are two different careers but its still healthcare and the LVN schools are not shutting down even though everyone knows that Lvns are now not being hired in acute hospitals and RNs with AA are being pushed to get their BSN. I am still a COTA at heart but COTAs are having a much harder time getting jobs maybe not in SNF but in other settings they are. When working in a SNF two years ago, hours were not guaranteed. In other instances an OTR replaced a COTA. Now in home health, employers are giving OTRs a larger case load than COTAs. I just advice those who want to join the profession as a COTA to consider furthering their education after COTA school OT if their finances allow them, go the OTR route from get go

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Cota-mot in Pearland, Texas

55 months ago

Oops, should read ...or if their finances allow them...

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sassy in Tampa, Florida

55 months ago

Cota-mot in Pearland, Texas said: Oops, should read ...or if their finances allow them...

hi, where did u find bridge program from ots to otr. I seriously want to do it

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sassy in Tampa, Florida

55 months ago

ota

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Bacardistuff in Saint Petersburg, Florida

54 months ago

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Cota-mot in Pearland, Texas

54 months ago

Denton

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Nic in Temple, Texas

54 months ago

Question to those COTAs in Texas and beyond:

I unexpectedly lost my job recently and am having a very hard time finding another job. I have talked to recruiters and they tell me that the few jobs that pop up are being scooped up immediately. A recruiter from Accountable even told me that she had over 10 therapists of varying disciplines waiting to go and there are no jobs. I have had 2 interviews in the last 2 weeks and those jobs were less than 30 hours a week. Used to I could replace a job within 3 or 4 days and that is just not the case anymore. The local snf's are experiencing very low census and from what I have heard from other therapists in other states they are exp the same thing. If you are currently working, are you getting your hours or is the facility slow? If you aren't working, how long have you been out of work and where have u looked for work? What do you think is causing this low census in all these places?

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Lisa B in Saint Petersburg, Florida

54 months ago

I work two jobs in St. Petersburg (1 FT, 1 PRN). Both are SNFs w/low census right now. As soon as I write this though, it'll pick up again. It's Murphy's Law. I don't know what it is but there are people who will inevitably tell you that it's because the need for cotas is no longer there but that theory was around long before I got into school to be a cota and that was almost 10 years ago so I give it zero credence. Do you have the option of travel or is that out of the question? Unfortunately, I know zip about Texas. :-(

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Lisa B in Saint Petersburg, Florida

54 months ago

Oh, I wanted to add real quick... I worked with a COTA who had a nasty little habit of calling in sick at least once a week. This went on for about 6 months. He gets a job in Tampa which is closer to his house without even an UPDATED resume! Brand new graduate when I started working with him. I can't even imagine applying for a job without a decent resume but some people can pull it off successfully.

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Nic in Temple, Texas

54 months ago

Yeah that theory has always been around, but in some ways i do see that happening eventually. I do not have the ability to travel all over, just within an 80 mile radius of my home. I check the job listings daily and what i do see is OTR listings with a sprinkle of COTA mixed in there on a PRN basis. That is whats happening now companies will not gaurantee 40 hours a week anymore and from the COTA's I have talked to they are only getting in the neighborhood of 30 hours a week or less. That's part time and no one can afford to work part time. How many hours do you get at your fulltime job since the census is low?

At this point, I am considering changing careers but its only been almost 3 weeks since i lost my job. Hopefully I get something soon cuz unemployment don't pay enough!

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Nic in Temple, Texas

54 months ago

there is no travel in texas, btw. I think old people are holding off getting stuff done because they think they have to pay for it. Its about money, if someone else can be trained to do a specific task without a need for certification and only someone needed to supervise for that facility only then there goes needs for assistants. And i have been practiving for almost 10 years as well.

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Lisa B in Saint Petersburg, Florida

54 months ago

I'm fresh out of ideas then unless you wanted to try that not having an updated resume that seemed to work great for a new student. Seriously.. some people have all the luck. I'll be praying and keeping my fingers crossed that something good happens soon for you.

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Lisa B in Saint Petersburg, Florida

54 months ago

Excellent point.. never thought about the oversaturation of schools and let's face it... schools don't care if their students can find jobs, they just want the money. In Ohio, massage therapy was THE program to get into it about 5 or so years ago. People complained that there were no jobs after graduation. The program eventually closed at this particular school. The school I attended for OTA only took so many students a year and their location played a vital part as to whether they got into the program to avoid exactly that problem. That's probably considered to be discrimination but there it is. I ended up going to school with people who would drive two hours just to get to class.

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