Occupational therapy assistants work under the direction of an occupational therapist to help people with disabilities return to daily life activities. They carry out a treatment plan crated by an occupational therapist. During treatment they monitor the patient's progress, keep records and recommend changes to the therapist. Occupational therapy assistants help patients learn or relearn a wide variety of activities such as eating, grooming, or returning to work. They may teach a disabled person how to get around despite limited mobility, carry out office tasks or prepare a meal. Therapy may also include crafts or games that improve social skills.
Occupational therapy assistants work for hospitals, nursing homes and for occupational therapists in private practice.
Occupational therapy assistants need to be in good physical condition because heavy lifting of patients and equipment is often part of the job. They also must be able to work well with a variety of patients. An Associate degree from an accredited occupational therapy program is usually required. These programs are offered at community colleges and vocational schools. Occupational therapy assistants must also complete fieldwork and be certified by the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Links to Additional Career Information
California Board of Occupational Therapy (916) 263-2294 www.bot.ca.gov
Occupational Therapy Association of California (916) 567-7000 www.healthcaresource.com/otac
American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (301) 652-2682 www.aota.org
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (301) 990-7979 www.nbcot.org
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