Occupational Therapy Assistants Job Salary Data

Occupational Therapy Assistants: A Guide to Career Opportunities

Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) are healthcare professionals who work with individuals to enhance their overall functionality and independence in daily life. They collaborate with Occupational Therapists (OTs) to provide client-centered interventions that assist clients in achieving their occupational goals. This article will explore the job of an OTA, some examples of the role, educational requirements, career progression, and entry-level opportunities.

What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

OTAs provide support to clients of all ages with mental, physical, or developmental disabilities, injury, or illness. They carry out treatment plans developed by OTs that aim to improve clients’ strengths, focus on functional abilities, and promote their overall mental and physical health to improve their quality of life.

Some Examples of the Job of an OTA

– Assessment: Assist in carrying out assessments of patients to determine their strengths, weaknesses, needs, and goals.
– Treatment planning: Work with OTs to develop individualized treatment plans that focus on enhancing patients’ functional abilities and independence in activities of daily living.
– Intervention: Carry out interventions to help clients achieve their goals, such as exercises, assistive technologies, mobility aids, therapeutic activities, and environmental modifications.
– Client education: Educate clients and their families on how to carry out activities, mobility techniques, and other therapeutic interventions, in their home or work environment.
– Documentation: Maintain accurate documentation of patients’ progress, goals, and treatment plans.

Educational Requirements and Training to Become an OTA

To become an OTA, you need to have at least an associate degree from an accredited OTA program. The curriculum of most programs includes science courses like anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, psychology and behavioral sciences, and courses on therapeutic interventions and treatment techniques.

Moreover, you need to complete supervised fieldwork in clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, and other healthcare settings to gain practical skills and experience. It is also essential to pass an exam to become a certified OTA.

Career Progression for OTAs

One thing to note is that OTAs work under the supervision of OTs, and their roles range from entry-level to mid-career. As you progress, you may get opportunities to lead OTA programs or become a specialist in a particular setting or area of occupational therapy, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, or hand therapy.

You may also advance your education by obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy or other healthcare-related fields. With additional credentials, OTAs can become certified in specialized areas such as lymphedema or sensory integration.

How to Get into the Field if You’re New

If you want to become an OTA, start by researching and enrolling in accredited OTA programs in your area. You may also check with local or national occupational therapy organizations for scholarship opportunities. During your training, consider networking with OTs or OTAs in clinical settings to gain practical experience and exposure.


In summary, Occupational Therapy Assistants play a critical role in helping patients achieve their occupational goals and improve their quality of life. To become an OTA, you need to complete a two-year associate degree, supervised fieldwork, and pass an exam. As you progress, you can gain more skills, education, credentials, and experience to advance your career. If you’re new to the field, consider enrolling in accredited programs, networking with healthcare professionals, and seeking scholarship opportunities.

Occupational Therapy Assistants Job Salary Data

Location Occupational therapy assistants Job Level Salary Data Average Salary – Full Time Average Salary – Part Time
US National Average Occupational therapy assistants Level 04 $56,097.60 – $42,785.60 $68,640.00 $58,281.60
US National Average Occupational therapy assistants Nonunion $64,979.20 – $63,564.80 N/A N/A
US National Average Occupational therapy assistants Full-time $68,640.00 – $59,800.00 $68,640.00 N/A
US National Average Occupational therapy assistants Part-time $58,281.60 – $68,993.60 N/A $68,993.60
US National Average Occupational therapy assistants Time-based pay $66,185.60 – $63,398.40 N/A N/A
Cleveland-Elyria, OH Occupational therapy assistants Full-time $66,830.40 $66,830.40 N/A
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY Occupational therapy assistants Full-time $48,422.40 – $48,256.00 $48,422.40 N/A

On a national level, occupational therapy assistants at level 04 have an average salary of $56,097.60 – $42,785.60. Full-time occupational therapy assistants have an average salary of $68,640.00. However, there is a wage discrepancy between full-time and part-time occupational therapy assistants. On average, full-time occupational therapy assistants earn a higher salary than their part-time counterparts. Occupational therapy assistants in Cleveland-Elyria, OH have the highest average salary for full-time workers at $66,830.40, while in Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara, NY have the lowest average salary at $48,422.40.

As for the effects of unions on this job, the data above shows that occupational therapy assistants who belong to a union (Nonunion, All levels) have a higher average salary compared to those who do not. However, there is no available data on the percentage of occupational therapy assistants who belong to a union.