The Work Life Of Occupational Therapist Aides And Assistants

If you are decided on pursuing a career in occupational therapy but do not want to spend years of studying to become an occupational therapist, there are two options for you. You can be either an occupational therapist aide or assistant. Both work under the supervision of an occupational therapist. However, these careers have different educational requirements, duties and salaries. Let us know more about the work life of occupational therapist aides and assistants.


To become an occupational therapy aide and assistant, training is needed. For an occupational therapy aide, you will only need a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for on-the-job training. For an occupational therapist assistant, one must earn a certificate or an associate degree from an accredited program and school. After schooling, occupational therapist assistants may have to get a license to start working. It will depend on which state you plan to work in.

The Job

 Occupational Therapist Aides And AssistantsBoth jobs provide assistance to the occupational therapist. The only difference is the depth of their duties and responsibilities. Occupational therapist aides are tasked to prepare equipment and materials for the therapy. They are assigned to carry out clerical duties. On the other hand, occupational therapist assistants have more patient interaction. They assist patients to perform exercises and activities. The occupational therapist assistant monitors the patient’s progress and they work closely with the occupational therapist compared to the occupational therapist aide. Nevertheless, both jobs work under the authority of an occupational therapist. They do not have the autonomy to implement therapy plans by themselves.


The field of occupational therapy is rapidly growing. This means that there are more jobs available for people who want to pursue a career in occupational therapy. Occupational therapist aides hold around 8,000 jobs while occupational therapist assistants hold around 27,000 jobs. Most of them work in a hospital, private clinics and nursing care facilities. The job outlook is excellent. Employment is projected to grow faster through 2018.

As for the salary, the occupational therapist aide has median yearly earnings of $25,730 while averaging $12.37 an hour. The occupational therapist assistant has median yearly earnings of $50,250 while averaging $24.16 per hour.

How about you? Will you choose to be an occupational therapist aide or an assistant? If you choose to invest time in studying, you will definitely earn a higher paycheck. If you choose to start you career early, the pay for an occupational therapist aide is really not bad at all.

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