How Different Is An Occupational Therapist Aide From An Occupational Therapist Assistant


If you do not have plans of becoming an occupational therapist right now, you might want to look into other jobs in the field of occupational therapy. Two prominent job titles are occupational therapist aide and occupational therapist assistant. The two have its similarities but there is a line drawing them apart. It has a lot to do with the educational requirements, training program and the job responsibilities of each job.

What is the difference between an occupational therapist aide and an occupational therapist assistant? For one, an occupational therapist aide will only need on-the-job training to qualify for the position. An occupational therapist assistant will have to earn an associate degree to qualify for the job. There are states that will require occupational therapist assistants to have their licenses and certification for the school while others do not require this at all. Hence, you had better check with the state regulations to prepare for the requirements.

Both jobs entail working with a professional occupational therapist. Both jobs are tasked to provide assistant to the therapist as well as the patients being treated. However, there is a difference in their duties. An occupational therapist aide has less education and training; hence, his tasks will be lighter. He will be assigned to carry out clerical tasks like answering the phone, making schedules for patients, ordering supplies and equipment, keeping patient records, handling insurance payments and other office tasks.

An occupational therapist assistant has more duties and responsibilities. To be an OT assistant, one should earn an associate degree first. Such a degree takes two years to complete which means that the student will have plenty of time to study and train. Occupational therapist assistants study some principles of occupational therapy. This is to further educate them on how to give assistance to the occupational therapist. They are also trained to provide care for patients as well as carry out clerical tasks.

Part of the job of an occupational therapist is to assist patients during their therapy rehabilitation sessions. If they need to perform physical activities, the OTA will assist patients in doing so. Any patient activity where an OTA gives assistance is supervised by a professional occupational therapist. OTAs do not have the autonomy to hold any therapy sessions alone.

Good news about both these jobs is that there will be growth in employment opportunities in the coming years. In years 2012 and 2013, there will be an increase in demand for occupational therapist aides and assistants due to the increasing number of the aging population.


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