Occupational Therapy Assistant | Occupational Therapy Aide
By an allied health world contributing writer
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What is the job of an occupational therapy assistant?A Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, commonly referred to as a COTA, has completed an associate’s degree program and works under the supervision of an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist performs and interprets the evaluation and then develops an intervention plan, and then occupational therapy assistant carries out the interventions as delineated in the plan. The occupational therapist and occupational therapist assistant work collaboratively. The occupational therapy assistant may participate in the evaluation and planning process depending on the skills and competency demonstrated.
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Occupational Therapy Assistants also have to sit for board exams, although theirs are less in depth than the Occupational Therapist exams. Upon passing the NBCOT exam the individual earns the title “Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant” and is in turn able to put the “COTA” initials behind his/her name.
What the job of an occupational therapy aide?An Occupational Therapy Aide is a position that currently does not require any advanced education and most of these individuals are trained on the job. These individuals are generally involved as a preparatory assist for the Occupational Therapist during treatments, providing support services. State and federal regulations may include specific requirements for the level of supervision provided to occupational therapy aides.
What courses are included in occupational therapy assistant programs?The courses for occupational therapy assistant programs are centered primarily on how to carry out interventions whereas an occupational therapist also has to take courses on how to evaluate and devise a plan for each client. The coursework for the associate’s degree as an occupational therapy assistant takes two years to complete. It covers a lot of the same topics as an occupational therapy master’s program, but not in the same degree of depth. Occupational therapy assistant students also have to complete a three to five month internship.
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