Are occupational therapy assistant job opportunities growing or declining?

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Host

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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COTAMAN

91 months ago

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 Have worked as a COTA for 27 years and have been replaced by an OTR on my last seven jobs.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.

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Debbie in El Reno, OK

86 months ago

The need for COTAs depends on where you live. There are more jobs everyday for COTAs but the interest in this field has drastically declined. Most companies would rather hire an OTR then a COTA even though COTAs are more cost effective. There are becoming fewer and fewer schools offering the OTA program as there is little interest from entering college students.

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Tammy

83 months ago

according to the government website. COTA are in high demand and the demand will increase because of rising health care costs.

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Jenni in Boca Raton, FL

83 months ago

Tammy said: according to the government website. COTA are in high demand and the demand will increase because of rising health care costs.

Those statistics don't tell the real story. Sure COTAs are in demand but that does not mean you are guaranteed job security, hours, etc. I have been a COTA for a long time and I have been replaced by many OTRs and the hours vary. They will also work you too death, and believe me, getting sick old people to do what you want when they don't feel like it can be very stressful. All the problems that plague this field are not worth the stress.

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Suze Cerisier Cerisier in Brooklyn

83 months ago

Im an OTA and I would like to find a full time staff position
so bad. i have a per diem job right now and I like the place.

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Sarah Owen in Six Lakes, Michigan

82 months ago

Things are really hard in Michigan right now. I was let go from my job which I loved recently because the local economy is so low and an area factory went to Mexico so our client base was cut drasticly. I cannot find a job! The closest one available is at least a 60 minute drive away. When I went to school we were told there were so many jobs for cotas out there and I can tell you that after PPS went through in 1998 the jobs just haven't been there, at least in my area. I wish I had never spent all this time on a career that I can't even find a job for!! Are there any other frustrated cotas out there?

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Sarah Owen in Six Lakes, Michigan

82 months ago

Thank you for responding, Patty in Dover, It helps to know someone else knows what I'm talking about and feeling.

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Tim in Cincinnati, Ohio

82 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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Tim in Cincinnati, Ohio

82 months ago

PPS is Perspective Payment System, or how Medicare determines the rate to pay a SNF for skilled (Part A) therapy. The normal rate is about $1.10 per minute. Of course, many also call it the Pay Per Second rule.

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Kim in Dayton, Ohio

82 months ago

okay, please educate me... what about Medicare Part B? I'm still working on my level I internship; all patients that we have had have been Part B. Does this PPS plan affect those persons?

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Tim in Cincinnati, Ohio

82 months ago

Kim in Dayton, Ohio said: okay, please educate me... what about Medicare Part B? I'm still working on my level I internship; all patients that we have had have been Part B. Does this PPS plan affect those persons?

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-

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Kim in Dayton, Ohio

82 months ago

thank you so much.. that really helps!

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Evelyn in Everett, WA

82 months ago

Be aware though not every patient has Part B coverage. In order to qualify a person must have paid into a Medicare supplemental plan...Part B. This is not part of the Medicare plan they take out of your paycheck... Part A. Medicare B pays 80% of treatments and the patients family pays the other 20%. When a patient is admitted into a SNF/LTC, they sign an agreement that makes them responsible for the 20% co-pay. You do not need the families permission to treat under Part B, but you do need the MDs approval. Also, it does not take long to reach the $1500 Cap... usually about 20 to 30 days depending how long they are seen. If you go over the Cap Medicare will still continue to pay but you must use an KX modifier in your CPT billing schedule.

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Evelyn in Everett, WA

82 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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Kim in Dayton, Ohio

82 months ago

Who pays for therapy in the hospital if the pt. is on medicare?

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Donna in Florida

82 months ago

Kim in Dayton, Ohio said: Who pays for therapy in the hospital if the pt. is on medicare?

We the people. This is where your taxes go.

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Kim in Dayton, Ohio

82 months ago

something is just so wrong here... why wouldn't medicare pay for therapy in a hospital? On the other hand, we are paying for Medicare too through taxes. All of this just sounds like a horrendous mess.

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Richard in Longview, TX

82 months ago

Kim in Dayton, Ohio said: something is just so wrong here... why wouldn't medicare pay for therapy in a hospital? On the other hand, we are paying for Medicare too through taxes. All of this just sounds like a horrendous mess.

Medicare does pay but not for long. That is why so many patients end up in nursing homes for therapy. It use to be a hospital could keep patients until they returned to prior level of function or PLOF. Under Part A a patient gets 100 days of therapy, after that they must qualify for Part B in order to continue with therapies. Your right when you said "Horrendous Mess". Politics honey, thats what it's all about anymore.

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Lisa Jackson in East Saint Louis, Illinois

80 months ago

Sois it better to work in a hospital as a COTA I know the pay is not that hot butis there stability?
What about working for contract companies.

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Laura in Dayton, Ohio

80 months ago

Personally, I do not believe that there is such a thing as job stability. I can vividly recall my grand-dad telling me he worked at a company from the age of 16 until he retired at 72. I worked at a company for 15 years because of some stupid loyalty to my boss and lost my job to somebody in India. I was let go with my Roth IRA and 2 gas cards. Anyway, employees do not have the loyalty they once had to employers and vice versa. There are instances of it but that, I think, is rare.

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Ralphnie Bryant in Covington, Georgia

77 months ago

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.

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COTAJim

77 months ago

Be aware, Most OTR programs cost anywhere from 200K to 300K depending on where you go to school. Also, make sure the program you are attending is stable and not planning on closing it's doors. Personally, I'm looking to get out of this field like a lot of people.

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futureOT in Summerville, South Carolina

77 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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Tina in Seattle, WA

77 months ago

futureOT in Summerville, South Carolina said: 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.

Yeah... wait till you start paying interest on that 62k. When it's all said and done you can expect to pay three times that back to your lender. I only paid 74K for my masters degree but my payment to my lender is $1126.00 a month. After it's all done I will have paid pack, including interest, 203K. So you might want to give that an extra thought.

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mark in Minneapolis, Minnesota

76 months ago

whats the difference between a COTA and an OTA?

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Tammy in Dayton

75 months ago

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?

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Jeanice in Lemon Grove, California

75 months ago

I am also considering a career change & OT is one option. From what I've read here, a 'registered' OT is preferred to 'assistant' OT. However, it also seems that some areas of the country may have differing prospects for job opportunities. Which areas provide more/less opportunity?

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Cindi in California

75 months ago

Jeanice in Lemon Grove, California said: I am also considering a career change & OT is one option. From what I've read here, a 'registered' OT is preferred to 'assistant' OT. However, it also seems that some areas of the country may have differing prospects for job opportunities. Which areas provide more/less opportunity?

Just be aware that if you plan on continuing to live in Cali once you graduate, you will be competing with all the foreign Asian therapists here. And believe me, there's a lot of them! Been looking for a stable job for about a six months and everywhere I go I"m constantly competing against them. By the way, OT school is very competitive here.

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Angela Miller in Vicksburg, Mississippi

72 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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OTR in Cincinnati, Ohio

72 months ago

I am an OTR in cincinnati and do PRN full-time because my husband has benefits. I could work 50hrs a week in SNF's if I wanted to. (knock on wood). I have had to turn many companies down. From what I have seen COTA's have a lot of opportunities in SNF's in this area. I can not comment on other settings, but SNF's are pretty good at this point for OTR's and COTAs. As far as education goes I was able to work during my MOT program and did not have to take out any loans because I was able to get about 14K in scholarship as well from applying to AOTF and local scholarships that don't seem to be utilized by enough people. As of now I am on track to make around 6 figures this year but I have worked between 45-50 hrs per week at PRN rate. Just food for thought.

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Tammy in Beavercreek, Ohio

72 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

72 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

72 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

72 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

72 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

72 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

71 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

71 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

71 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

71 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

71 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

71 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

71 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

71 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

65 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

63 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

62 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

60 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

60 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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