How to Become an Occupational Therapy Aide

How to Become an Occupational Therapy Aide

An occupational therapy aide is a professional who works alongside an occupational therapist to provide therapeutic services to patients. The aide helps to conduct therapeutic activities with patients, prepare materials for therapy sessions, and assist with conducting evaluations. The role of an occupational therapy aide is crucial in helping patients improve their quality of life, especially those who need rehabilitation after an illness, injury, or surgery.

What Does an Occupational Therapy Aide Do?

An occupational therapy aide works to assist occupational therapists in different settings such as rehabilitation centers, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and schools. Here are some of the duties you may be responsible for as an occupational therapy aide:

  • Assist patients with therapeutic activities
  • Prepare materials for therapy sessions
  • Clean and maintain equipment and spaces used for therapy sessions
  • Monitor patients’ progress and communicate with occupational therapists about patients’ needs
  • Provide assistance for patients who need help transferring or moving around

Education and Training Requirements

While there’s no specific education or training required to become an occupational therapy aide, most employers would prefer applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. You can also gain a competitive edge by completing a certification program or an associate degree program in occupational therapy assisting.

These programs provide you with the knowledge and skills to become a valuable addition to an occupational therapy team. Some of the topics you’ll study in these programs include anatomy, therapeutic activities, patient care, and medical terminology. You’ll also be required to complete hands-on training through practicums or internships to gain the necessary experience to work as an occupational therapy aide.

Progression Opportunities and Career Advancement

If you’re looking to advance your career as an occupational therapy aide, there are opportunities for growth. You can progress to become an occupational therapy assistant or apply for other healthcare positions.

Occupational therapy assistants uphold more responsibilities than occupational therapy aides. They conduct treatment sessions, develop treatment plans, and educate patients about self-care techniques. To become an occupational therapy assistant, you need to complete an associate degree program specifically for occupational therapy.

How to Get into the Field of Occupational Therapy Aides

If you’re new to the field of occupational therapy, you can get started by researching different schools and certification programs that offer occupational therapy assistant programs. You should also check job postings and network with occupational therapy professionals in your area. Volunteering in a healthcare setting such as a hospital can also help you gain the necessary experience and hone your skills. Once you’ve gained some experience, you can apply for a position as an occupational therapy aide or assistant.


An occupational therapy aide is a crucial part of the occupational therapy team. It’s a rewarding career path that provides opportunities for growth and advancements. To become an occupational therapy aide, you need to complete a certification program or an associate degree program in occupational therapy assisting. If you’re interested in pursuing this career path, now is a great time to start taking action towards achieving your career goals.

Geography Highest Average Salary Lowest Average Salary
New York $49,300 $28,850
Texas $41,180 $24,530

Occupational therapy aides are responsible for assisting occupational therapists in providing care and treatment to patients who need it. They help patients perform activities and exercises that increase their strength and independence, and they may also help with recordkeeping and general office duties.

The job level for occupational therapy aides is usually entry-level, and the salary data shows that the national average for this occupation is around $39,748.80 per year for nonunion workers. However, the salary can increase to $42,952.00 per year for those who are paid based on time.

The effects of unions on this job are not clear from the given data, but it is possible that union membership could lead to higher wages and better benefits.

When it comes to geographic location, the average salary for occupational therapy aides varies. New York has the highest average salary for this occupation at $49,300, while Texas has the lowest average salary at $24,530.

Overall, occupational therapy aides play a crucial role in the healthcare industry, and their salaries are influenced by a variety of factors such as location, job level, and union membership.