If you are considering becoming an occupational therapy assistant (OTA), we have some good news for you. The job outlook is brighter than ever with a 32% predicted increase by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is above national average, making it one the fastest growing careers.
Occupational therapy assistants provide care along with occupational therapists who help patients recover from various illnesses.
If you are interested in becoming an occupational therapist assistant, here are five steps you can follow to achieve your dream:
- Get an associate’s degree from an accredited OTA program.
The first step is to find the right program for you. When researching schools, be sure to look for a program that meets your needs. Before you apply, determine if your needs are being met i.e. if you have a need for a flexible schedule or one with online coursework availability.
- Take the state exam for clinical experience.
Besides the educational coursework, you will also need to complete a program for clinical experience. In this program you will get hands-on experience under the supervision of a Licensed Occupational Therapist. Most colleges where you complete your educational coursework can assist you in finding a program for clinical experience. The program lengths vary state to state. Usually you will need about two months of experience.
- Pass the National Certification NBCOT COTA Exam.
After you complete your coursework and earn a degree, you will need to pass a board exam to become a certified occupational therapist assistant. The exam you need to take is the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Certification Exam. This is a four-hour long exam that tests your knowledge on the coursework.
- Apply for a state certified OTA license.
After you pass the NBCOT exam, there is one last step before you can begin practicing. You will need to apply for licensure in the state you wish to practice in. Every state has its own set of rules and regulations. Therefore, the process varies from state to state.
- Apply for jobs!
The last step is to apply for your dream job. We at Cornerstone Rehab are clinician-owned and value our clinicians equally as much. As our employee, you would be a member of a fast-growing team that is focused and committed to our clinicians and their long-term development. Learn more here.
You can learn more about the field of occupational therapy here.