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

85 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

85 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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futureOT in Summerville, South Carolina

80 months ago

COTAjim,

not sure where you got the info that most OTR programs cost 200k to 30Ok, the program I am in in the end will have only cost me 62,000....which is pretty standard I *think* for a master's degree.

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Angela Miller in Vicksburg, Mississippi

76 months ago

I am A COTA and I been one for 2 and 1/2 years. I am working PRN at Promise Speciality and I like it. due to the way the patients flucuate they are not sure of hiring a full time cota yet. They have one COTA and an OT. I love the work situation and wish I could get on full time. Looking for a full time job here in mississippi.

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Tammy in Beavercreek, Ohio

76 months ago

Hello. I am currently attending Sinclair to become a COTA and am new to all of this. What is a PRN? SNF? etc. Thank you in advance. :)

Tammy

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CotaLily

76 months ago

Tammy in Beavercreek, Ohio said: Hello. I am currently attending Sinclair to become a COTA and am new to all of this. What is a PRN? SNF? etc. Thank you in advance. :)

Tammy

PRN: As needed,or, on call... they call you when they need extra help
SNF: Skilled Nursing Facility... also known as the dreaded nursing home

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CotaLily

76 months ago

I live in Arizona and don't see many jobs here for COTAs. I guess it depends on where you live. I lived in California for a while but the pay vs. cost of live too low. There are much more job opportunities for OTRs than COTAs so if I were to do it again I would go for my Masters degree.

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Anisha in Hollywood, Florida

75 months ago

I just got into a OTA program and I would like to know if there is a certified OTA I can talk to regarding this program. I would like to know how the life is for OTA, whether it's a really stressful job or one will enjoy it? How is the future for this career?

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Sunny31 in Apopka, Florida

75 months ago

Hi COTA's and OT's, I place travel therapist nationwide. If you are looking for new opportunities, we can discuss over the phone. Feel free to email me at careers@nationalstaff.com to let me know what the best time and number to call you will be.

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mikemm in Winter Haven, Florida

75 months ago

AVOID by all means working for SALUS rehab. Since the new president, Chris Bennett, took over, SALUS rehab has become a place where the therapy staff who are professionals, are treated worst than factory workers. Lack of respect, lies, 100%+ productivy required or else you go home early. The president, who is herself an OT, thinks that the therapy staff are her worst enemies.

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FL in Woodstock, GA in Kennesaw, Georgia

74 months ago

Ralphnie Bryant in Covington, Georgia said: i'm in school currently to be a cota and i don't like what i'm hearing but, i want to continue as a otr later on.

Hey Ralphnie, I'm in school as well in Atlanta and all this talk is starting to get to me. I have plans to bridge over to OTR. I'm working on a BS in Psych as well and then I'll do a masters. I thought I would work as a COTA while I continued to go to school, but now I think I'll just stay in school and hang my COTA degree on the wall for sentimental value.

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disappointedot in Waynesboro, Virginia

74 months ago

FL in Woodstock, GA in Kennesaw, Georgia said: Hey Ralphnie, I'm in school as well in Atlanta and all this talk is starting to get to me. I have plans to bridge over to OTR. I'm working on a BS in Psych as well and then I'll do a masters. I thought I would work as a COTA while I continued to go to school, but now I think I'll just stay in school and hang my COTA degree on the wall for sentimental value.[/QUOTE

Perhaps go into a psych career. OTR is not much different than COTA sorry to say.

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ralphnie in Conyers, Georgia

74 months ago

you already finish with your cota degree? you should take the certification exam and work with it while you're in school because i see alot of job opening in atlanta for cota's

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Claire in Caledonia, Michigan

74 months ago

I am in my first semester of OTA at a nearby community college. Based on what I have read I am having serious doubt about continuing on with the program, especially with the ever declining economic situation here in Michigan. Any thoughts as to stay in or move on? (I middle aged if that makes a difference in how you answer)

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FL in Woodstock, GA in Kennesaw, Georgia

74 months ago

I feel the same way you do, and the word confused would be an understatement. I'm continuing with the program because I have not hit my core courses yet so I still have an opportunity to change majors or take the credits that I've earned and run if necessary. I know COTA's doing well and I know some who are struggling, so with that being said I say take everything you hear and read with a grain of salt. Hospitals don't pay as well but they are a bit more stable in terms of hours. Nursing homes and Rehab facilities have plenty of openings and better pay per hour, but don't provide stable hours. Just stay positive, and put your faith in GOD to lead and direct you.

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ralphnie in Atlanta, Georgia

74 months ago

through GOD ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE! so hang in there i start my core in june i have 4 more classes left

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ralphnie in Atlanta, Georgia

74 months ago

don't get confused just pray and believe i desire to be an cota so i'm not giving up and anything is better ten where i work now and the pay will be better

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Brenna in Dallas, Texas

74 months ago

Host said: 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?

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!

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Ronny ky in Louisville, Kentucky

68 months ago

Does anyone know about the COTA market in ky? Im a current student but now im nervous....

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Kelli Luidhardt in Findlay, Ohio

66 months ago

Host said: 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?

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?

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Morriti

65 months ago

Tammy in Dayton said: I was laid off at the end of February from an office job I thought was "secure". I am wanting to change careers but am 42. I am nervous because I am looking at attending a local college for Occupation Therapy Asst. and then going to WSU for OT. From what I am reading here, I might want to get into elementary education... am I correct?

WSU doesn't offer an OT program. The closest is probably Xavier which is private and upwards of $80,000 and 3.5 years for the degree.

I will have my Bachelors in Management in a few more weeks and looked into OTA or OT because of the lack of opportunity in business with or without experience (I have none).

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RTLain in Douglasville, Georgia

63 months ago

FL in Woodstock, GA in Kennesaw, Georgia said: Hey Ralphnie, I'm in school as well in Atlanta and all this talk is starting to get to me. I have plans to bridge over to OTR. I'm working on a BS in Psych as well and then I'll do a masters. I thought I would work as a COTA while I continued to go to school, but now I think I'll just stay in school and hang my COTA degree on the wall for sentimental value.

What school do you attend? I am planning to attend Brown Mackie College in the spring for OTA.

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RTLain in Douglasville, Georgia

63 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!

I have a friend who works out there and she told me the same thing.

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ashleigh in Enterprise, Alabama

62 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!

Tell me where in texas and my bags are packed!

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Ash in Toledo, Ohio

59 months ago

I am currently on a waiting list to get into an OTA program here in Toledo,but there's a good chance that I will be getting bumped to start fall of 2010. I've struggled for years with changing my major several times and I thought OTA was finally the thing that I wanted to pursue but after doing some research on all the different OTA/OT forms on here it has me utterly confused. Some of these forums have pages upon pages of all negative about the OT field and people talking about how much they hate their jobs. Also,I have read on a lot of them that many places are only hiring OTR's rather than employing an OTR plus OTA's.

Is this field of work really that bad as everyone says?

Also,does anyone know if being just an OTA limits you to mainly just working at SNF's? I'd love to work in a school someday!

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Liza in Dayton, Ohio

59 months ago

If kids are your thing, check to see if the county you wish to work in even HIRES COTAs in schools. Many don’t. Is there a peds hospital near you where you might want to work? Typically, peds does not pay as much as geriatrics. Sometimes (many times I’d say but I’m playing conservative in case my fellow posters disagree) the pay difference between peds and geriatrics is huge. Shadow a therapist in a setting you want for a few hours for a couple of days. See how s/he works, what s/he deals with patient-wise, etc. Shadowing will be more of an education than anything you read on a discussion board, IMO.

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Tim in Cincinnati, Ohio

59 months ago

Ash in Toledo, Ohio said: I am currently on a waiting list to get into an OTA program here in Toledo,but there's a good chance that I will be getting bumped to start fall of 2010. I've struggled for years with changing my major several times and I thought OTA was finally the thing that I wanted to pursue but after doing some research on all the different OTA/OT forms on here it has me utterly confused. Some of these forums have pages upon pages of all negative about the OT field and people talking about how much they hate their jobs. Also,I have read on a lot of them that many places are only hiring OTR's rather than employing an OTR plus OTA's.

Is this field of work really that bad as everyone says?

Also,does anyone know if being just an OTA limits you to mainly just working at SNF's? I'd love to work in a school someday!

Check out Cincinnati State. I hear their enrollment is way down this year. That's not to far from where you are.

As far as being a COTA, the position will allow you to find employment with any population you desire to work with. Yes the pay scale may be way different for a COTA in peds compared to a COTA in nursing homes, but if money is what you're looking for this IS the wrong field for you. You have to love what you do and ignore the babling companies who build up caseloads with unrealistic patients just to make money for the CEO's and their puppets. You must also ignore the people here who continue to complain about having to "work" a little bit to earn a salary. Yes, some complaints are justified, but.....
Good Luck

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Liza in Dayton, Ohio

59 months ago

I stand corrected. It was never my intention to insinuate that the $ was the get all-end all. The poster mentioned SNF vs. peds and I was just pointing out the obvious. Toledo is most assuredly a hop, skip and a throw from Cincinnati.

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Tim in Cincinnati, Ohio

53 months ago

Arlene in Michigan said: I lost my job as a COTA over a year ago, after being employed in the profession over 20 years. I am middle aged too, and have not had any luck finding a new job.

Sorry to hear this. I am well over middle aged (59) and lost my job back in Sept '07, but have since been through two more COTA positions. Both were nursing homes, and maybe because I'm getting closer to that age myself found I could not stand the "politics" of it anymore. I just started doing home health and find it quite enjoyable. There are COTA jobs out there, but certain areas of the country do have more jobs available than other places. I have done two major moves in the last 20 years to stay employed.

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ardentanglophile in Bellevue, Washington

53 months ago

If I start this quarter, I will be 47 when I graduate. There are more jobs for this field than the one I got a Master's degree. But I worry about the age issue. I heard on the radio from a researcher that some people who are in their 40's and 50's may never find employment. The thought worries me but I wonder if it really is possible for COTAs. I can't move too. I am in Washington state.

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ItsMeAnne in Grand Rapids, Michigan

53 months ago

Hey Claire... I live in Caledonia also; and just graduated from the COTA program at the nearby "community college". E-mail me and we can talk more. I'm working PRN but have not been able to secure a full-time position. I am also middle-aged - it's depressing... lol

annp3738@gmail.com

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lmaddy@aol.com in Louisville, Kentucky

48 months ago

Ronny ky in Louisville, Kentucky said: Does anyone know about the COTA market in ky? Im a current student but now im nervous....

Is this a good program at Brown Mackie?

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Rene in Mason, Ohio

44 months ago

I am facing the toughest decision of my life regarding my future as an OTA. I am hoping someone out there can help. I am currently enrolled (5 classes so far)at Brown Mackie in the OTA program and scheduled to graduate Jan 2013. During my experience there my med terminology quit 3 days before the end of the class and was replaced by an incompetent teacher that couldn't even pronounce the words (and is still teaching and can be my Anatomy and Phys teacher in the future). Just last week the OTA dean and OTA Fieldwork coordinator also left abruptly. I am getting so nervous about the program that I was considering leaving and going to cincinnati State but would not be able to graduate until 2015. I am 45 now. CS has a better program and I know I will get a better education but it will be 4 years from now!!! What would you do? Can I get a job from BMC after I graduate? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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Amy in Saint Petersburg, Florida

44 months ago

Rene, I want to make sure I understand your situation. Are you saying you have completed five classes only of the program? Do you have your "extra" classes out of the way like math, etc. or does the count of five include those? Anybody else in your class have any concerns? How long did you have to wait to get into the program? Do you know if there is a waiting list at another school? There has to be somebody in charge of this program - I think I'd be asking some questions and go with your instinct. I'd also be finding out from other OTA graduates of this school, what the success rate is for passing the NBCOT (if you know of any graduates, that is).

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Beth in Louisville, Kentucky

44 months ago

lmaddy@aol.com in Louisville, Kentucky said: Is this a good program at Brown Mackie?

I am a COTA in Louisville, KY and I would STRONGLY recommend you do not attend Brown Mackie's program. They have an ungodly amount of complaints against them, and if you simply google them, will find out some pretty bad stuff. I graduated from JCTC 3 years ago, and have had no problem finding employment. It's an awesome profession, with several areas of practice!

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jpayson in Pendleton, Indiana

43 months ago

Beth in Louisville, Kentucky said: I am a COTA in Louisville, KY and I would STRONGLY recommend you do not attend Brown Mackie's program. They have an ungodly amount of complaints against them, and if you simply google them, will find out some pretty bad stuff. I graduated from JCTC 3 years ago, and have had no problem finding employment. It's an awesome profession, with several areas of practice!

I was thinking about going to Brown Mackie myself just because it's the only school here in indiana that offers the OTA program. However, I'm not so sure it's a good school. So your suggesting, NOT to go?

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Samanthajane in Fort Wayne, Indiana

43 months ago

jpayson in Pendleton, Indiana said: I was thinking about going to Brown Mackie myself just because it's the only school here in indiana that offers the OTA program. However, I'm not so sure it's a good school. So your suggesting, NOT to go?

I am attending Brown Mackie in Indiana as well and have been going for 10 months which leaves me 2 more months of general education. I am attending this college for my OTA degree. What I have to say about this college? They are unorganized I have had plenty of problems with the book store, financial aid you name it. My teachers so far have been great though. I honestly would say that Brown Mackie isn't a bad school for only OTA's. If you are going there for a different degree don't do it because noone takes Brown Mackie seriously other than the OTA's because a lot of the programs there are weeks rather than years. I do not like this thread and it scares me but I am still going on with my associates for this degree no matter.

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J. Johnson in Louisville, Kentucky

42 months ago

I live in Louisville and need five more hours of observation to try to get accepted to JCC's COTA program, any help would be great.I'm told so far the JCC program for 2012 has already had 130 applicants- I really hope I get in...Is the market for COTAS here in Louisville good? I worked very hard at my pre-recs and hope I can complete this goal...

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Amy in Saint Petersburg, Florida

42 months ago

re: Louisville, KY job market. I have no idea how it is... I suspect it would be good but I have nothing to base that on. My first concern is how much money and time you've spent on getting into the program before asking the crucial question: what is the market for COTAS like in Louisville? Since you have five "more" hours of observation, that would lead me to believe you have already spent some hours which would have been an excellent opportunity to ask that question.

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J. Johnson in Louisville, Kentucky

42 months ago

I did ask this question before I started this journey but I thought asking thru this type forum I would get a much more diverse answer to my question.. Right now I am at a cross roads in weather to go into PT or OT, if people in OT are wise guys like you I will go into PT... I hope your not speaking for all people in OT-from my experience people in OT are educated and would save rude comments for people who deserve them, be polite...

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J. Johnson in Louisville, Kentucky

42 months ago

Beth in Louisville, Kentucky said: I am a COTA in Louisville, KY and I would STRONGLY recommend you do not attend Brown Mackie's program. They have an ungodly amount of complaints against them, and if you simply google them, will find out some pretty bad stuff. I graduated from JCTC 3 years ago, and have had no problem finding employment. It's an awesome profession, with several areas of practice!

Was COTA school very difficult at JCC? I am trying to get accepted there and I have no idea what to expect, anything I should be concerned with?

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Samanthajane in Fort Wayne, Indiana

42 months ago

I have no clue what you're talking about, I wasn't being impolite what so ever I was just trying to be helpful.

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J. Johnson in Louisville, Kentucky

42 months ago

Samanthajane in Fort Wayne, Indiana said: I have no clue what you're talking about, I wasn't being impolite what so ever I was just trying to be helpful.

Hello , I was replying to Amy from Saint Petersberg,Florida who implied I was to dence to ask how the market for COTA's in Louisville,Ky was before I went thru years of school.
I am very sorry if this sent to you as that was not at all my intent. Your comments were very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to bring this oversite to my attention. SO SORRY...

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Missy in Cincinnati, Ohio

41 months ago

Rene in Mason, Ohio said: I am facing the toughest decision of my life regarding my future as an OTA. I am hoping someone out there can help. I am currently enrolled (5 classes so far)at Brown Mackie in the OTA program and scheduled to graduate Jan 2013. During my experience there my med terminology quit 3 days before the end of the class and was replaced by an incompetent teacher that couldn't even pronounce the words (and is still teaching and can be my Anatomy and Phys teacher in the future). Just last week the OTA dean and OTA Fieldwork coordinator also left abruptly. I am getting so nervous about the program that I was considering leaving and going to cincinnati State but would not be able to graduate until 2015. I am 45 now. CS has a better program and I know I will get a better education but it will be 4 years from now!!! What would you do? Can I get a job from BMC after I graduate? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Rene I have just been accepted into the program at Cincinnati State. I have heard that none of your credits at Brown Mackie will tranfer if you were to ever want to get into OT school and I know Brown Mackie is also sooo much more expensive. I have been on the waiting list for over a year at Cincinnati State but I know they have a good reputation and have a good program chair. I wish you the best of luck with Brown Mackie.

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J. Johnson in Louisville, Kentucky

41 months ago

have you thought about checking for any other schools (community colleges)with not so much competition to enter the program? I have not heard anything good about the B/M program, just the opposite. Good luck...

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andreas2k10 in Yuma, Arizona

37 months ago

What is the deal now with COTA? Safe job? Steady employment available?
Wanting to move to the east coast and have been looking in news-papers (online)?

I am 47 and thinking of changing careers.

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Linda in Saint Petersburg, Florida

37 months ago

It depends on where you go. I'd think that there would be more jobs in warmer states secondary to people going south for retirement. check out indeed.com that site seems to be pretty good in listing jobs. Newspapers aren't really ideal for therapy work.

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KevinPTA in Barstow, California

37 months ago

About two years ago I would say the need for OTA/PTA is great. Now, with the new changes that came along in October, the need for assistants in my area is starting to decrease. The company I work for is also looking at pay cuts. I don't think the future looks to good for OTA/PTAs.

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vera37999@yahoo.com in Chicago, Illinois

31 months ago

Hi, I have a ba degree and in my 50's. But I plan to go back to school for ota or mot. Both will take me approx. 3 years. My only complaint is that there are no OT schools in my area except that high brown mackie. I know someone who said they just finished the program and she was studing her nbcot. I'm in merrillville area. Anyone know of another ot school in this area? In regard to the 47 year old. Go for it! We babyboomers have more sponk than you think. Much prayers to you all in your discission. And don't forget to pray for me. :)

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