occupational therapy assistant, finding a school!

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Sean Conway in Perth, Australia

67 months ago

jennifer in Perth, Australia said: I have been an ota in Perth Western Australia for 6 years. I totally agree with Michelle - OTA is the best field to work in because of its diversity and close working partnership with the clients. To those who hate it - get out! How horrible for those you work with if you don't like your work.

Hi Jennifer,
Can you give me some advice? I have just completed Cert III in Aged Care and have been advised to train for Occupational Therapist Assistant. I am having difficulty finding an institution or company that can provide the training required. Any ideas...?

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jenny110480 in Indianapolis, Indiana

67 months ago

Deb in Saint John, Indiana said: Good luck to you also! The health care field is booming...and certainly won't slow down anytime in the future, so if you go that route, you can't go wrong. Take care!

do you know of any other schools in indiana that offer the COTA program? I am in central indiana

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Marie B in San Antonio, Texas

67 months ago

Could someone who has worked as both a COTA and OTR tell me their prefrence and if they feel it was worth going on to be a OTR. I have a bachelors degree but find my courses are too old and I will need to take my pre requisists again and then apply to a MOT program. Possibly relocating my family and taking on huge loans for living and tuition. Time and money are not on my side, this would be a second career for me and and am concerned about physicaly being able to do either job into my 60's. The COTA program would not require relocating nor the loans but do COTAs do more physical work than the ORT's?

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Catherine in Bellevue, Washington

66 months ago

Catherine in Tacoma, WA said: Yep!!... it's the only program in left in the Northwest but I have heard it's not the best program. Nevada is the only state that has a program (1) other than Washington. It seems COTAs will be joining the dinosaur in the not so distant future.

I don't know who said that GRCC was not a good program. We have an excellent pass rate, and all students score higher than the national average on the certification exam. GRCC has a great program.

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ardentanglophile in Redmond, Washington

66 months ago

The program coordinator said GRCC graduates score 30 points higher on the national exam. I am not concerned about school or the program but the comments about the future of being Occupational Therapy Assistant. Overall, I am excited to start in the Fall.

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eleanor marie in Placerville, California

64 months ago

I am truly excited about getting my COTA degree and changing the course of my life. I live in the Placerville area (near Sacramento) and will be doing 2 semesters of prerequisite classes before I enter the COTA program at SCC in Spring 2011. I was told that the program always starts in Spring, you can't start in a Fall semester.

I have a couple questions for you experienced and positive people here.

Is is difficult to get into the program once you have met entrance requirements? I know that there is a set number of students they accept and enrollment is done by lottery. Waiting another year or more than I already have to wait is an unsettling thought!

Did any of you graduates take General Ed classes concurrently with the COTA program? Their courses are apx. 8-10 units each semester including field work- which seems to leave room to take a class or 2 extra during the program. But is this too much to expect? I am the mother of 2 but with grants and some family help will only have to work minimally during school.

As I said, this seems like an inspiring direction to be headed. I am trying to balance the practical with my own visions of what this career has the potential to be. I'm particularly interested in the psycho-social direction of OT or working with sensory disorders. I am a Reiki practitioner and envision combining that modality with OT one day in the future, when alternative healing is more integrated with public health.
But also realize that much of the OT workday can be much more mundane than that- which I am also happy doing. Making a difference in the quality of another person's life, paired with a decent salary= win/win situation.

Thank you!
Eleanor

W

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FGT in Greenville, South Carolina

64 months ago

Eleanor,
Before you make the committment to attend OTA school, PLEASE read the forums and see what OT is all about. I wish I would have completed the RN or PTA program; OT is an absolute joke. I believe that Congress will eventually figure out what a rip off OT is and completely discontinue paying for it or limit the number of visits. This move would save millions of dollars and less OTs and OTAs would be needed.

Just research and think about your choice. Believe me, I wish I would have done more research.

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poop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

64 months ago

Sad to say FGT is absolutely correct. And elanor marie as enthusiastic and happy you do sound I am sorry to say that OT and psycho-social do not really combine. Currently OT is almost exclusively the physical medical model. Reiki and alternative healings are not practiced in OT world. It would be a refreshing alternative but OT is extremely conservative bent as it is all about the insurance payments and your fellow workers are very conservative. They would not allow Reiki and would probably report you if you tried. Just do the Reiki and other alternative methods, though I know it is difficult to make a living it sure is more rewarding emotionally.

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otas in Erlanger, Kentucky

64 months ago

i would suggest all to job shadow before deciding on OT...i did this after committing my time and money and though i am not regretting it i know i will eventually get burned out quickly!!! Brown Mackie-Nky is the school i attend and it is a great school! we have our teachers and coordinator and already starting fieldwork next month in Nov..we have accreditting council coming in January and am super confident just because of our teachers experience and networking and ability to get things dont.. i dont suggest b/c of cost though.. but being a single mother OTA is definitely a better choice for me than CNA..same type of work but more money!

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sherylpica@yahoo.com in Beacon Falls, Connecticut

64 months ago

Hi,

I've been looking at some of the comments and am wondering if I'm making the right decision to become a COTA. This is a career change for me and the comments are a little concerning. Do you think that this is a secure career?

Sheryl

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sherylpica@yahoo.com in Beacon Falls, Connecticut

64 months ago

What is a good career choice in the Allied Health field. Does anyone know if LPN is a good choice? Or something else. Thanks for your comments.

Sheryl

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sherylpica@yahoo.com in Beacon Falls, Connecticut

64 months ago

Lindsey are you currently a COTA? If so, how long have you been doing it? Thanks.

Sheryl

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Krystal in Newport News, Virginia

64 months ago

All of you posting about how HORRIBLE OTA work is, have you actually done it??? You take every patient through therapy just as an OT would you just dont do the initial evaluation, I LOVE my job as an OTA and I wouldnt change it for the world. Yes there are some SNF's that you may have to change diapers if the nurses are busy, but that is NOT YOUR JOB and you may have to change two a day and the rest of the time is spent treating your patients. I work with Peds as well and I can't see how some of you are saying it is a waste of time, soooo many parents and patients come back years later just to thank the OT's and OTA's for all their help and commitment! It may not be the career choice for you but don't discourage these others if this is their calling.

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sherylpica@yahoo.com in Beacon Falls, Connecticut

64 months ago

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm currently in school for OTA and was getting a bit discouraged.

Sheryl

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Krystal in Newport News, Virginia

64 months ago

Dont listen to the bitter people

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poop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

64 months ago

Lindsey is right unfortunately. You will spend a LOT of time in the bathroom with the patients. Most are incontinent and wear diapers. It is an OK job I suppose if you are very young and want to make money by not using your intellect. Personally I find the job very tedious, monotonous, boring and exhausting. That is just my feelings. Some people love doing this sort of mundane work.

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Justin Barton in Mesa, Arizona

64 months ago

I have been following this conversation as an observer for a couple of days and have been somewhat puzzled at the responses. Apparently, most of the COTA's and/or OT's that are responding work in the geriatric field and in a clinical setting. They may believe that the only place that they can get work is in this setting.
I have many COTA's and OT's that work for me in the very fulfilling and rewarding area of pediatric home-health and school based therapy. All of our providers feel very appreciated and that they are making a HUGE difference in the lives of the children they serve as well as in the home environment for the families of those children.
Granted that pediatric therapy is different than the areas that most of these people are commenting on, but with a little ride-along work and observation, and with a love of children and of "play therapy", this occupation can and will be VERY rewarding, both personally and financially.
www.therapyone.com

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Justin Barton in Mesa, Arizona

64 months ago

Lindsey,
I am happy that you are an ex-OT and loving it. I hope that your new career of choice brings you joy and happiness and allows you to do the same for others.
Almost all of the OTs and COTAs that I work with find this same joy and happiness in their choice of work and they strive to share that with this children they serve.
No, it is not a perfect job... but is there such thing? A career is what you choose to make of it. If you get in and figure out you don't like it, then you can change. That is one of the beautiful things about life. You can learn from experiences and make a change. You are never trapped unless you say you are.
Once again, I am very happy that you found a way out of your personal hell.

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eleanor marie in Placerville, California

64 months ago

Like Justin, I have simply been observing here after I posted a couple questions earlier this week (I'm going to start schooling for OTA degree). I may stop reading this thread,as I do not think it gives an accurate view of the field in general. It's starting to feel like rants against psychiatric pharmaceuticals on a Scientology site! I am not going to attack anyone- just put things in perspective.
A few observations about the negative postings here:
1. The negative posters write in a tone that is very rude, almost pathologically anti-social and aggressively disrespectful. To have a bad experience and then relate it for the benefit of others is one thing- but there is a cold tone to these people.
I do not trust the opinions of these types of people.
2. These same people seem to have worked in some pretty dismal SNFs in dead-end jobs. I have talked to many happy OTs and OTAs and also have experienced firsthand that it is effective. All jobs will have "bad eggs" or also bad businesses to work for. Teachers working in a room full of 50+ troubled inner city kids will have a different experience of teaching than one working at a suburban charter school. These posters have a limited view and also may not live in areas where a wider spectrum of opportunities exist, in addition to having inherently bad attitudes and likely would not be hired by better employers.
3. I wonder if most of the experienced OTAs here with a negative view are on this website to find jobs in a different field? It is less likely that a happy OT would be posting here, as they have nothing they need to fix in their career. So here we are, career seekers stuck with a bunch of disgruntled personalities.
4. There does seem to be some validity to the comments from negative posters that I will research and be on alert for, such as being forced to commit Medicare fraud and also concerning legislation that may cut some jobs which likely will shake some bad apples from the fraud tree.

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eleanor marie in Placerville, California

64 months ago

Justin-

It was inspiring to read your post. The OT at our local school district relates a similar satisfaction and dynamic working environment.

I am curious about what type of schooling beyond an OT degree you completed for working with kids? I am just starting my schooling for OTA in January (entering Sacramento City College program spring of 2011) and so not sure which direction I will take yet in the field. I am very interested in working with Sensory Integration disorders or in the pediatric spectrum and so would love your view.

Best,
Eleanor Marie

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Krystal in Newport News, Virginia

64 months ago

Lindsey- Sinse you consider OT to not be a 'real' profession. I am curious..what is it that you do now that you think is a 'real' job??

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Justin Barton in Mesa, Arizona

64 months ago

Hi Eleanor Marie,
Unfortunately I am not an OT or COTA. I am the business and finance manager of a small business that works with about 50 OT, COTA, PT, PTA, SLP-CCC, and SLT titles. This being the case, I cannot answer your question with first-hand knowledge. I can, however, put you in contact with several COTAs and OTs and they can share with you how they steered their careers on a pediatric focused course.
I would be happy to put you in touch with some therapists who would also be happy to talk to you about your options and what they have done and what challenges they have faced and continue to face. You can email me at justin@therapyone.com if this is something that you would like to do.
This way, you can get some varied and honest opinions from people who may actually enjoy their careers.

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Van in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

64 months ago

sherylpica@yahoo.com in Beacon Falls, Connecticut said: Hi,

I've been looking at some of the comments and am wondering if I'm making the right decision to become a COTA. This is a career change for me and the comments are a little concerning. Do you think that this is a secure career?

Sheryl

If you want a chance to have a decent life I would say run run for your life to get away from anything to do with OT.

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Justin Barton in Mesa, Arizona

64 months ago

Hi Lindsey,
It is good to see you still spreading your passionate message on a subject that you obviously have allowed to negatively impact your life in such a way that it consumes you. I hope that one day soon you will be able to move on and enjoy your current profession.
Yes, I am not an OT or a COTA. I suppose that you are correct that my opinion is biased. But, that is not my calling in life.
I am not a "recruiter" either. I don't have the cut-throat mentality for that.
My job is to manage the business affairs of this company. This includes contract procurement and conformance, human resources, payroll, budgets, projections, hiring and firing, billing, collecting, and yes, it also includes a certain amount of advertising for positions for which we have existing contracts. I suppose you can call that recruiting.
As much as I have been interested in the conversation that has gone on in this forum over the last couple of days, I am going to bow out of this conversation. I feel that it is not a productive use of my time as it is being dominated by only a couple of parties and different points of view are not being allowed to develop.
I fully appreciate the lively conversation we have had and feel that I now have an even clearer vision of my life and my goals because of it. Thank you for that, Lindsey.

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Van in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

64 months ago

Justin Barton in Mesa, Arizona said: Hi Lindsey,
It is good to see you still spreading your passionate message on a subject that you obviously have allowed to negatively impact your life in such a way that it consumes you. I hope that one day soon you will be able to move on and enjoy your current profession.
Yes, I am not an OT or a COTA. I suppose that you are correct that my opinion is biased. But, that is not my calling in life.
I am not a "recruiter" either. I don't have the cut-throat mentality for that.
My job is to manage the business affairs of this company. This includes contract procurement and conformance, human resources, payroll, budgets, projections, hiring and firing, billing, collecting, and yes, it also includes a certain amount of advertising for positions for which we have existing contracts. I suppose you can call that recruiting.
As much as I have been interested in the conversation that has gone on in this forum over the last couple of days, I am going to bow out of this conversation. I feel that it is not a productive use of my time as it is being dominated by only a couple of parties and different points of view are not being allowed to develop.
I fully appreciate the lively conversation we have had and feel that I now have an even clearer vision of my life and my goals because of it. Thank you for that, Lindsey.

He sounds like he is finally convinced that he is happy he choose marketing rather than OT. I couldn't agree with him more.

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BA in Carmel, Indiana

64 months ago

Krystal in Newport News, Virginia said: Lindsey- Sinse you consider OT to not be a 'real' profession. I am curious..what is it that you do now that you think is a 'real' job??

She doesn't have a job, that is why she's on here all day.

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BA in Carmel, Indiana

64 months ago

Actually, I'm not an Occupational Therapist...I'm not in therapy at all. I've just been interested in the profession and I've seen what OTs do firsthand and think that you are on an agenda that is not needed. If someone gave up on OT or ANY profession because what one or two people on the internet said, I'd seriously question their intelligence. There are ALWAYS going to be people like you who put down others because you overgeneralize things, just as there are ALWAYS going to be people in EVERY profession who most ethical people wouldn't want to be associated with. You, putting down a whole profession because of your own experience...is ridiculous. I've had jobs before that I absolutely hated but I would never put down everyone who does that job just because I had a bad experience. There are A LOT of amazing OTs out there who do their job the right way, and you're disrespecting those people. You should be warning people about the faulty system our country is using...not OT.

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Dustin in Orlando, Florida

64 months ago

Can all current or ex-COTAs tell me how much they get paid and where? Travel or SNF? Thx.

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Dustin in Orlando, Florida

64 months ago

Kyle P in Newport Beach, California said: You're not going to get folks on here to give you the run down on their salaries and where. Why don't you do your own research - check with www.salary.com . It's a very accurate site - just choose your location and job title and you'll get the salary range. Know that traveling pays a bit more hourly plus housing/travel to assignment costs. Much also depends on your negotiation skills, the desirability of the facility and type of facility. A "dive" SNF will pay much more - as they may have trouble finding help. A nice out-pt. rehab. may pay less since they may have a list of applicants. Location also plays into the picture. A SNF in some remote rural area that's also a dive will pay much more. You should know this ---- but, this is a review. Now, you check salary.com and get your salary ranges.

Thanks for the info Kyle. It helped me ALOT. Kyle, do you recommend any travel staffing companies to work with? There are so many and I would like to see if you have any that you prefer. Thx.

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gbota in Knoxville, Tennessee

64 months ago

becky nettles in Portland, Oregon said: I have been searching everywhere, to try and find out information in becoming a Occupational Therapist assistant in Oregon. Does anyone have any insight or advice on my next move? All the schools I have found seem to be in Ohio?

I dont know anything about where you can find a school , I am in TN and the school I graduated from 3 years closed the program due to little enrollemnt. However I will tell you not to listen to the negative people here as this is a great field to be in both financially and enjoyment.

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gbota in Maryville, Tennessee

64 months ago

also live in a bubble?? I guess that could also be responded to as
someone who has a very baaaaad attitude or just does not do a good job. Or maybe someone who does not enjoy helping other people and should not have gotten in to this field to begin with. I went to school 2 years and make 50000 a year doing something I love. and out of working 3 years I have only truly wiped a bottom about 5 times. ot is about having them do all of these things Ind. It does take a special person to do this job, maybe you are just not special.

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tlmille in Wichita, Kansas

63 months ago

I just got accepted to an OTA program where I live in Kansas and I am very excited about it! I enjoy helping others and I think this job will be very rewarding to me in the future.

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Chuck

63 months ago

tlmille in Wichita, Kansas said: I just got accepted to an OTA program where I live in Kansas and I am very excited about it! I enjoy helping others and I think this job will be very rewarding to me in the future.

Oh no. Get ready to be crucified for your comment.

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sharon in Durant, Oklahoma

63 months ago

I am thinking about entering school to become COTA. I have been readign a lot of negative things here. Can someone that is or has been a COTA give me their ideas on the job and also what is the pay scale?? What kind of things do you do in the day of a COTA??

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saun203 in Charlotte, North Carolina

60 months ago

I am a recent graduate with a degree in kinesiotherapy, what kind of jobs did u get as a kinesiotherapist.

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Ashlyn Kay in Toledo, Ohio

59 months ago

I am currently waiting to start my OTA program at a local community college and let me say,for a while there I let all the negative comments on these forums get to me but then I wised up.....first of all,there is never going to be a perfect job and there will always be someone that is unhappy with their job. I think attitude is a big thing with the people that enjoy being ota's. A lot of people on here have said the work is boring and mundane,etc,etc....but I look at it this way...say you are working in a SNF....often times the elderly are lonely and become depressed.....but what if you give them something to look forward to,what if your that one person that shows them someone cares and helps brighten there day a little bit

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SJ in Tucson, Arizona

59 months ago

Marie B in San Antonio, Texas said: Could someone who has worked as both a COTA and OTR tell me their prefrence and if they feel it was worth going on to be a OTR. I have a bachelors degree but find my courses are too old and I will need to take my pre requisists again and then apply to a MOT program. Possibly relocating my family and taking on huge loans for living and tuition. Time and money are not on my side, this would be a second career for me and and am concerned about physicaly being able to do either job into my 60's. The COTA program would not require relocating nor the loans but do COTAs do more physical work than the ORT's?

Hi Marie B in TX,
Thx for posting your questions; I'm in similar situation. What does anyone think about studying locally for 18 mo to become COTA vs more time and money to become an OT?? (I've looked thru AOTA website alot and I'm going to see if can shadow and ask on-site folks too)

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michelle victoria in San Antonio, Texas

59 months ago

I was going for COTA and applied in San Antonio TX, but was not selected, therefore I am currently becoming a Medical Labratory Technician. My career is an interesting one and there is a shortage.

Michelle Victoria

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OTSara in Spokane, Washington

57 months ago

I am currently in an MOT program and I think it's interesting that so many people say there is little demand for COTAs, because we work with them a lot and EVERY one I have spoken to loves their job. It is unfortunate that a lot of the programs have been cut, but I want to encourage anyone who wants to get into the field. If it feels like a good fit to you, it probably is....follow your gut, not the dollar signs :) If anyone is interested, Spokane Falls Community College is developing an OTA program that will streamline into the MOT program at Eastern Washington University - I believe they will be taking students in the fall, but I'm not sure. OT ROCKS!!

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OTSara in Spokane, Washington

57 months ago

Van in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: If you want a chance to have a decent life I would say run run for your life to get away from anything to do with OT.

I would say go and shadow and speak to people in the field, the comments on this site are honestly ridiculous and obviously dominated by one VERY negative and miserable person. You will know by doing some job shadows if OT is right for you. My advice would be to shadow in many areas (pediatrics, geriatrics, work hardening, etc.) to get a feel for which population you would like working with. Don't let people tell you whether it's right for you, only you will know.

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candyjal in Kendallville, Indiana

57 months ago

I just wondered, has anyone actually attended Brown Mackie in Fort Wayne, IN for in the OTA program? I am considering going back to school for OTA, but dont like the rep that BM has. I just wondered if there's anyone out there that can offer up their own opinions and experiences with this school in this program

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mollym in Lake Oswego, Oregon

57 months ago

becky nettles in Portland, Oregon said: I have been searching everywhere, to try and find out information in becoming a Occupational Therapist assistant in Oregon. Does anyone have any insight or advice on my next move? All the schools I have found seem to be in Ohio?

Linn Benton has a program for this. You can also look up lisencing for Occupational therapist assistants and call the number! Good luck!

Here is the link
www.linnbenton.edu/go/ota

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Flip in Matawan, New Jersey

57 months ago

sharon in Durant, Oklahoma said: I am thinking about entering school to become COTA. I have been readign a lot of negative things here. Can someone that is or has been a COTA give me their ideas on the job and also what is the pay scale?? What kind of things do you do in the day of a COTA??

Hi Sharon,
Maybe by the time you read this you've found your info, but first and foremost, check the profession's official website, for OT, it's "aota.org", they have a tab for students/prospective students and you can e-mail an OTA/OT any of your questions and concerns.
For pay scale, it all depends on the geographic location, the facility, and you have to consider that you will be ENTRY-LEVEL upon graduation.
As I learned in my past jobs, you have to "let things roll off your back", please don't let these negative comments discourage you, just do your research on and off the computer. I agree that ALL jobs have "negative, unhappy people" and you must shield yourself from that bad energy.
Best of luck!

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Cindy in Las Vegas, Nevada

55 months ago

I spoke to the health admin. at OSU in Corvallis. They do have a program and was expecting to be accredited by Sept.

becky nettles in Portland, Oregon said: I have been searching everywhere, to try and find out information in becoming a Occupational Therapist assistant in Oregon. Does anyone have any insight or advice on my next move? All the schools I have found seem to be in Ohio?

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Cindy in Las Vegas, Nevada

55 months ago

I spoke to The health Admin. at OSU in Corvallis. They have a program and expect to be accredited by Sept.

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Carla in Abilene, Texas

54 months ago

Lots and lots of jobs for COTA's in Texas. Big cities and small towns alike. Great pay... $30- 40 per hour, best pay being in LTC facilities. And no, I don't have to change diapers, it's not skilled and the CNA's handle it. Although if I were asked to help in that area I would. I do work on toileting though, ROM to assist with toileting hygiene, bladder-training schedules, etc... not a problem. A COTA's duties vary, as we plan our own treatments based on the OTR's goals, and we often work with them on setting those goals. Time flies when I'm dividing up my time between TE's, TA's and ADL's. I really love the work.

And although I love Texas, I am planning a move to the Vancouver Washington area. Can anyone tell me are there COTA positions available, and what the pay might be like?

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Carla in Abilene, Texas

54 months ago

Also, at least 11 OTA programs available in the state of Texas. I attended a 2-year college in Houston. Great program! I'm trying to find out how many programs are available in Washington state.

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Sheryl in Hebron, Connecticut

54 months ago

Is the $30 - $40 per hour for a traveling COTA, Per Diem, or Contracted? What area of Texas? I was considering possibly moving there. Thanks so much and best of luck.

Sheryl

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Carla in Abilene, Texas

54 months ago

My full-time jobs have paid $35 & $38 per hour, my PRN the same, and my home health visits are $40- $45/ visit (50-60 mins) plus 50cents per mile standard. You can almost always get moving expenses or a pro-rated sign-on bonus. I'm in a small town in West Texas right now... my friends in Houston are making the same. As I said, this is in a LTC setting. Hospitals tend to pay less. Good luck. I enjoy the work, hope you do/will too.

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Sheryl in Andover, Connecticut

54 months ago

Hi,

Here is a recruiter that handles the West. I spoke with them and they seem on top of it. Here is the link:

www.therapeuticresourcesnw.com

I hope you find it useful.

Regards,

Sheryl

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