Are you thinking about going into the field of occupational therapy? In this profession, most people are aware of occupational therapists but there are other career possibilities that you can enter. If the nursing profession has nursing aides and nursing assistants, the occupational therapy profession has them too.
There are three main career opportunities in the field of occupational therapy. Your education and training will determine what type of job you can apply. Do you want to know the difference among the three careers?
Occupational Therapist Aide
This is the lowest level of OT job you can apply. An occupational therapist aide prepares materials needed by the occupational therapist. Usually, an OT aide is needed when the occupational therapist is treating patients. Aside from this, an occupational therapist aide performs clerical work like answer calls, book appointments and many more. To be an occupational therapist aide, you should be a high school graduate. The median annual salary for OT aides is $25,000.
Occupational Therapist Assistant
A level higher than an occupational therapist aide is the occupational therapist assistant. They can do clerical works but their job responsibilities are heavier. They record the progress of patients and help the occupational therapist with treating the patients too. To be an occupational therapist assistant, a high school diploma is what you need. You should also attend training programs from occupational therapy schools. OT assistants have broader knowledge and are more trained compared to OT aides. Some states will require a licensing exam to OT assistants. The median annual salary expected is $42,000.
An occupational therapist is the one developing treatment programs and treating patients. The occupational therapist helps patients with emotional, physical, mental and psychological disorders. Occupational Therapists are highly in demand today because of the increasing number of disabilities and sickness. To become an occupational therapist, you have to earn a degree in occupational therapy school first and earn a master’s degree as well.
The salary varies from state to state but it ranges from $70,000-$80,000. Another factor that affects the salary of occupational therapist is the industry they are working. Occupational therapists can work in employment services, nursing care facilities, academic institutions and home health care services. The highest salary for OT is from home health care and one can earn $79,000 per year.
Now that you know the difference among these careers, what should you choose? If you want to start your career early, you can start as an occupational therapist aide or assistant. If you can devote your time to years of study then you should aim to be an occupational therapist.