Occupational Therapy assistant?

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (22)

otadvantage in Tucson, Arizona

55 months ago

I am an OTR, but it is great having COTAs in the field. Your contribution is definitely important and should not be considered negative. I am not sure about the pay, but pay also depends on the cost of living in your area, demand, and the type of setting you plan to practice in. As far as the profession of COTAs declining, there are many OTA practitioners now transitioning into an OT program to have greater responsibility and flexibility within the profession. But, I do not think the profession of assistants is declining, rather those individuals are just evolving within their profession. However, this is my opinion and is not based on any research. I would definitely research it a bit more and see what would be the best fit for you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (9) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

TG in Cranston, Rhode Island

51 months ago

I'm a COTA, and I love it. I work in a Skilled Nursing facility. I don't think we are a declining, SNF are always looking for COTAs. I'm not sure why a lot of people on this forum are so negative.
I usually have about 9-10 patients on my caseload during the day (sometimes more). Sometimes you can group patients together you can do balance activities with them, cooking or some kind of activity with them. Sometimes you can co-treat with Physical therapy or speech therapy if appropriate. Other times you help the patient in Bathe/Dressing, if its part of their goals which most of the time is a goal. In the beginning you might have to do most of the bath/dressing (aka ADL), once they get stronger they will be able to do most if not all of it themselves. You will work with patients who expect you to do miracles, and other times you will work with patient who are making no progress and then all of sudden do something as simple as move their hand to initiation bed rolling. Its a very regarding job! At least in my opinion it is!
As for salary I make between 20-25 an hr. And I'm a recent grad (almost 6 months experience), so maybe that's why love my job so much. But i do believe that from state to state it varies. Also if you work with children or in private hospitals then you make less. I hope this helpful and that you consider becoming a COTA :)

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (17) / No Reply - Report abuse

nicholsCOTA05 in Tyler, Texas

47 months ago

I have been working as a COTA in East Texas for 5 years now. The need for OTA's seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. I absolutely love what I do. I specialize in severe and profoundly pediatrics. My starting hourly salary was between $23-$25 per hour. I now make between $39-$50 per hour. Did I mention I work in 3 different settings, school based, Home Health and private clinic.......... Do some additional research and observe OTA practitioners to get a clearer picture of what it is we do.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (18) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Tara in Spanaway, Washington

47 months ago

I know this comment is a bit late, but personally I can't help but advocate for the OT profession enough. I honestly feel that this is probably one of the most rewarding professions, if you have the creativity, compassion, and practical problem-solving skills, and adaptability (the 4 basics "requirements")!! I have a variety of experience as a COTA and OTR. I was trained and certified as a COTA in the Army, worked in all areas of OT while on active duty. Once I got out of the Army, I finished my Masters in OT and I am now working at a Veterans Home in WA state. The opportunities for COTA's and OTRs are endless, at least in this state and others that I've lived in (OR,KY,IN,TX,HI). The pay has been excellent for both COTA's and OTR's in all of those states as well. I have a hard time understanding why there's such a shortage of OT's across the nation. Is it due to the fact that tuition costs of the programs are high? I was fortunate enough to have the VA pay for my education.
Having worked as a COTA and an OTR, I would say the only disadvantage to either is working in settings where you are either the only or one of very few other OT's. Most of my patients and the staff, even the PT's don't have a true understanding of OT. OT is a health science career, but their is an art to being an OT. Our goal is to engage a client (allow the opportunity) to participate in the activities that they want or need to be able to do. I incorporate my OT knowlege and people-skills to "manipulate" them into actively participating with me in therapy, without them even realizing what I'm actually doing. And sometimes it comes down to convincing the client that it is in their best interest to participate or even modify their activities (so they can be more independent, improve their functional abilities, reduce caregiver burden, return to work/ home). As a profession we need to work harder to explain the true meaning of OT. I think its time to let the secret art be known!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (16) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Life Essential Healthcare Staffing in Sacramento, California

47 months ago

You can check what the salary for COTAs are in your area by city, state or zip code on www.salary.com

Alot of our medical facility clients use that to make sure they are giving competitive salaries according to the market. COTAs are desired and as Tara said, the job opportunities for them are real and according to our client base, they will continue to be strongly desired. Hope that helps!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

OTA student in Bonney Lake, Washington

47 months ago

Tara in Spanaway, Washington said: I know this comment is a bit late, but personally I can't help but advocate for the OT profession enough. I honestly feel that this is probably one of the most rewarding professions, if you have the creativity, compassion, and practical problem-solving skills, and adaptability (the 4 basics "requirements")!! I have a variety of experience as a COTA and OTR. I was trained and certified as a COTA in the Army, worked in all areas of OT while on active duty. Once I got out of the Army, I finished my Masters in OT and I am now working at a Veterans Home in WA state. The opportunities for COTA's and OTRs are endless, at least in this state and others that I've lived in (OR,KY,IN,TX,HI). The pay has been excellent for both COTA's and OTR's in all of those states as well. I have a hard time understanding why there's such a shortage of OT's across the nation. Is it due to the fact that tuition costs of the programs are high? I was fortunate enough to have the VA pay for my education.
Having worked as a COTA and an OTR, I would say the only disadvantage to either is working in settings where you are either the only or one of very few other OT's. Most of my patients and the staff, even the PT's don't have a true understanding of OT. OT is a health science career, but their is an art to being an OT. Our goal is to engage a client (allow the opportunity) to participate in the activities that they want or need to be able to do. I incorporate my OT knowlege and people-skills to "manipulate" them into actively participating with me in therapy, without them even realizing what I'm actually doing. And sometimes it comes down to convincing the client that it is in their best interest to participate or even modify their activities (so they can be more independent, improve their functional abilities, reduce caregiver burden, return to work/ home). LOVE THIS POST!!!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

Tara in Spanaway, Washington

47 months ago

OTA student in Bonney Lake, Washington said:

Just wanted to say I'd love to come speak to your class sometime about OT and explore potential job opportunities :-) There are so many in this area, but I was lucky enough to come across the opportunity to work at a wonderful community (the Washington Soldiers Home- an "independent"/ asst. living bldg, a light-nursing/ asst. living bldg, and a skilled-nursing facility, all within a beautiful community environment!). There are endless opportunities for OT here- everything except for Pediatrics (ages 42-95), lol! There's a large trout pond, diner (open to the public),store, church, library, recreation room with pool tables, air hockey, shuffleboard, slots, piano. Most of the time my patients don't even realize they're doing therapy b/c they're doing something meaningful and enjoyable. You chose an AWESOME career!!!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

OTA student in Bonney Lake, Washington

47 months ago

Tara in Spanaway, Washington said: Just wanted to say I'd love to come speak to your class sometime about OT and explore potential job opportunities :-) There are so many in this area, but I was lucky enough to come across the opportunity to work at a wonderful community (the Washington Soldiers Home- an "independent"/ asst. living bldg, a light-nursing/ asst. living bldg, and a skilled-nursing facility, all within a beautiful community environment!). There are endless opportunities for OT here- everything except for Pediatrics (ages 42-95), lol! There's a large trout pond, diner (open to the public),store, church, library, recreation room with pool tables, air hockey, shuffleboard, slots, piano. Most of the time my patients don't even realize they're doing therapy b/c they're doing something meaningful and enjoyable. You chose an AWESOME career!!!

My OT Director would probably take you up on that offer!! We have guest speakers all the time :)

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Ashlyn Kay in Toledo, Ohio

46 months ago

Thanks so much for the replies everyone! I was getting so frustrated and confused for awhile there with all the negative comments that I was seeing. I will officially be starting the OTA program at my college this upcoming August. I'm both scared and excited. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Angelika

46 months ago

Don't worry, that is pretty much all you will see on this site a bunch of "haters", no matter what job(ota,pta,rn,lpn,medical tech) I look up some old witch who has been in whatever job for whatever amount of years is saying stay away from this profession there are no jobs, they are hiring foreigners or some other negative comment. I think the reason they say this is either A) They just want to be nasty. B) They don't want any new competition. Either way do what YOU want to do,don't listen to a bunch of negative people you don't know from a hole in the wall.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No (5) Reply - Report abuse

Angelika

46 months ago

First of all I am not a foreigner, I have been a citizen of this country for 22 years(my whole life), I am just tired of seeing negative comments, I do know a bit about nursing I plan to become an lpn, and then a teacher, I don't want to become an RN and work in a hospital dealing with nasty bitter old ladies, who would want to try to tear me down with their negativity.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

whatever in Gurnee, Illinois

46 months ago

Angelika, Don't respond to Dana...you are only adding fuel to the fire...let her live in her misery. Kudos to you for trying to be positive ;)

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No (4) Reply - Report abuse

zalo135 in North Miami Beach, Florida

46 months ago

I just got accepted for the COTA program! I'm so happy and ready to finish school! can someone give me more info about your carrers??! I spoke to some COTA from my area and she told me they start from 24-30 hourly Not bad with an associates!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

pogues6 in Portland, Oregon

46 months ago

Yes, I would love to know more positive info about the work of the OTA. I live in Portland,Or and the programs here a very scarce which is frustrating. There are much more PTA programs which I have been very interested as well. I am just hoping the demand for OTA's continues. I know that Concorde is working on a program at this time. There is Linn Benton Community College but the majority of the program is online which does not sound appealing to me. Anyone in Oregon or Washington enter into an OTA program with any thoughts?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

mimizinha79 in Apopka, Florida

38 months ago

what is actually the difference between COTA AND OTA??? Is there plenty of jobs for travel OTA'S as for PTA'S?? I am thinking about to apply for the OTA since i failed my entrance test for PTA...i didnt want to wait anymore and it seems that PTA'S AND OTA'S works together with the same goal which is help the patient....Could someone explain to me the real difference between both careers?
thank you so Much...
Michelle

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Felicia08 in Massachusetts

38 months ago

mimizinha79 in Apopka, Florida said: what is actually the difference between COTA AND OTA??? Is there plenty of jobs for travel OTA'S as for PTA'S?? I am thinking about to apply for the OTA since i failed my entrance test for PTA...i didnt want to wait anymore and it seems that PTA'S AND OTA'S works together with the same goal which is help the patient....Could someone explain to me the real difference between both careers?
thank you so Much...
Michelle

OTA stands for Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA stands for Certified Occupational Therapy Assisant, and COTA/L stands for Certified. You have to be licensed by your state to work as an OTA. I have heard different opinions on whether or not you need to be certified. I am a COTA/L.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Christine in Sydney, Australia

38 months ago

I'm also interested in OTA work. I studied part of the Allied Health in 2008, but haven't completed it yet. I went and studied Bookkeeping. If your interest is caring, improving the wellbeing of the patient. Then maybe this is a good career to get into. Don't worry about the pay. If you know your a peoples person, this job is for you. At the moment I'm volunteering as a Activities Co ordinator for people with disability.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Christine in Sydney, Australia

38 months ago

One question, what is it I'm afraid of working as OTA. Eventhough OTA works under the OT. Still OTA is alot of responsibilities. I guess this me being paranoide. I like the life in people, the spirit in them.
I'm not from Sydney, I'm trying to change locations, I'm from Perth, Australia.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

HelloThere in Valparaiso, Indiana

28 months ago

I am a freshman in high school and I have been exploring various careers and have really fell in love with OTA. I love to help kids with special needs. Is an accredited Brown Mackie college a good choice for an OTA program? Or would a community college be better? You can change your location by clicking on change location in the blue on the upper righthand corner above username. I would really love to become a COTA and change the lives of people with disabilities. Is the work and/or schooling rigorous and difficult? Does an OTA have to play sports and be physically fit? I am not an athlete and I am overweight. Thank you so much for all of this information -- it is really helping me out!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

HelloThere in Valparaiso, Indiana

28 months ago

Ashlyn Kay in Toledo, Ohio said: I've been considering becoming an occupational therapy assistant for awhile now but after reading pages upon pages of negative comments about the field on these forums I am so confused.....is it really that bad?

Also,I've read a lot about job openings for COTA's declining,is this true?

I would love to hear from an actual COTA about what the job is really like!
What is the salary like,I was always told around $20-25 an hour but I've seen a lot of people on here say more like $14 an hour.

Social work has been something else I've always wanted to do but just didnt know about 6 more years of schooling but at this point maybe its my best bet.
Any insight would be great,thanks!


I think you should become an OTA if you will enjoy it. Best of luck!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (7) Reply - Report abuse

rob in East Islip, New York

6 months ago

i am a licenceced nursing home administrator with masters in health care administration and im going to be a cota

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (9) Reply - Report abuse

denmona in Little Falls, New Jersey

11 days ago

To: Tara in Spanaway, Washington

I loved your post. Since your post was about 4 years ago, you may not be around but I would love to hear how you enlisted in the Army and trained as a COTA. This would be very insightful for all of us! Thank you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.