What is occupational therapy?

Transforming I can't into I can!

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What are occupations?

Occupations are the activities we engage in day to day.

Occupations include (but are not limited to...)






Doing laundry





What happens when...

You can't dress yourself?

You can't bathe yourself?

You can't brush your teeth, comb your hair and use the restroom?

You can't cook a meal?

You can't eat?

You can't do household chores?

You can't work?

You can't drive?

What happens then?

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is a habilitative and rehabilitative service that utilizes everyday tasks that are essential for quality living. Occupational therapy can focus on the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social setbacks in a client’s life. Through occupational therapy clients may regain and maintain independence, living skills, work skills, social skills necessary for a quality life. They may also learn the appropriate coping techniques to assist them beyond treatment. Occupational therapy treats mind and body.

What is an OT or OTA?

An OT is an Occupational Therapist. They are regularly referred to as an OTR, which stands for Occupational Therapist Registered. Whereas an OTA is an Occupational Therapy Assistant, and they are commonly referred to as a COTA, meaning certified occupational therapy assistant.

Where do OT's and OTA's work?

Acute Care Hospitals

Outpatient Hospitals

Home Health care

Schools Systems

Rehabilitation Centers

Independent Living Centers

Assisted Living Centers

Day Care Center

Community Mental Health


and more…

OT or OTA ? that is the question…..

When considering an occupational therapy career the question that will come to mind is OT or OTA? OT’s and OTA’s work together as a team. They need to communicate with each other about their caseload, because an OTA always works under an OT. Many times an OT will have a few OTA’s working with them. OT’s are responsible for the legal documentation of each client, and medical chart progress, the OT will perform the initial evaluation and work together with the OTA to set up a therapy plan.

The largest difference would be education. An OTA needs to receive an associate’s degree from an accredited program, and pass the national licensing exam where the will become a COTA.

An OT on the other hand will need to complete a Master’s-level education in occupational therapy, and completing the national licensing exam where the will become an OTR.

JOB Outlooks

According to: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare Occupational therapy assistants jobs are set to increase from the year 2012 thru 2022 by up to 41%, with a median wage of almost $49,000 a year.

Occupational Therapist jobs are set to increase by 29% from 2012 thru 2022, with a median wage around $75,000.

IS Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy the same thing?

No, occupational therapy practitioners work with the whole person, body, mind, and help them to accomplish meaningful activities within their lives. This is done through altering the client’s environment, the task to accomplish or the individual’s ability to make these tasks accessible.

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Is a career in OT or OTA right for you?

Occupational therapy is a rewarding career, which enlists problem solving skills, creativity, critical thinking, and hands on skills, to help others. You need to have the desire to work with others, communicate well, commitment to serving and helping others. If these qualifications sound like you this may be the right choice.


Ryan,S.E., Sladyk,K.(2015). Ryan's Occupational Therapy Assistant:Principles, Practice Issues, and Techniques.(Fifth ed.)SLACK Incorporated. Thorofare, NJ.

United States Department of Labor (2014). Health Care Occupations. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/