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Occupational Therapy Assistant and Aide
Michigan Jobs & Career Portal
Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides support Occupational Therapists in conducting specialized therapeutic programs that are designed to help individuals with physical, psychological, or developmental problems regain, improve, or adjust to their physical or mental capacities. The patient's needs and limitations determine the type of treatment program to be followed.
Occupational Therapy Assistants administer treatment programs under the guidance of Occupational Therapists.
Depending on the areas of work, they may:
Observe patients' skills and capacities to determine their ability level
Select activities such as manual arts, crafts, homemaking, daily living skills, recreation, and neuro-developmental techniques to fit patients' needs and capabilities
Assist in planning individual therapy programs using selected activities
Prepare materials for patient use
Design special equipment, splints, and adaptive devices and instruct patients in their use
Teach patients skills and techniques needed to perform the activities
Carry out general activity programs with patients
Observe patients' progress, attitudes, and behavior
Report patients' progress verbally and in writing to therapists and other staff persons
Instruct patients on how to adapt to home and work activities and to their social environment
Occupational Therapy Aides support Occupational Therapists and Therapy Assistants by transporting patients; assembling equipment; obtaining supplies; reporting patients' progress, attitudes, attendance, and accomplishments; and preparing and maintaining work areas.
The tools and equipment used may include:
Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides may specialize in these areas:
076.364-010 OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANTS administer treatment programs under the guidance of Occupational Therapists.
355.377-010 OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AIDES support Occupational Therapists and Therapy Assistants by transporting patients, assembling equipment, obtaining supplies, and preparing and maintaining work areas.
In addition to learning about these specialties, you may also find it helpful to explore the following Career Exploration Scripts:
Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides work as part of a team under the supervision of an Occupational Therapist. They may work with physicians, physical and speech therapists, nurses, social workers, psychologists, vocational counselors, teachers, and other specialists.
They generally work in bright, well ventilated and sanitary conditions. Most work is performed indoors; however, some Occupational Therapy Assistants supervise outdoor recreational and rehabilitation activities such as gardening, games, and exercises. Occupational Therapy Assistants often administer treatment programs at private residences, schools, and nursing homes. They must stand for long periods of time and move necessary equipment.
Most Assistants and Aides work an 8-hour day, 40-hour week, and occasionally work evenings and weekends. Those in private practice may work schedules which are convenient for their patients. Some Assistants and Aides are employed part-time.
Occupational Therapy Assistants may wear a uniform which is usually provided by the employer.
Some Occupational Therapy Assistants belong to the American Occupational Therapy Association or an employee organization where they work. Members must pay periodic dues.
You Should Prefer:
You Should Be Able To:
Math Problem You Should Be Able to Solve:
A patient's medication label reads 1 gram of medicine in 10mL. What is the volume of the solution if you need 50mg?
Reading Example You Should Be Able to Read and Comprehend:
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most severe forms of arthritis, affecting 5 to 8 million Americans.
Writing Example You Should Be Able to Produce:
You should be able to write a report explaining the progress of a patient.
Thinking Skill You Should Be Able to Demonstrate:
You should be able to look at a patient that is not progressing very well and decide on ways to better his or her progress.
NOTE: A High School Diploma or Equivalent or an Associate Degree (two years of study beyond High School) may qualify a person for this occupation.
The following education and preparation opportunities are helpful in preparing for occupations in this Career Exploration Script:
0700 CAREERS , 0900 COMMUNICATIONS , 1000 COMPUTERS , 1800 HEALTH & HEALTH CAREERS , 2200 MATH , 2900 SCIENCE , 3300 TECHNOLOGY
***VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS***
HEALTH OCCUPATIONS EDUCATION
Approved vocational education programs in Health Occupations Education prepare students for miscellaneous occupations in the health field. Instruction includes assisting medical personnel by providing institutional support functions in areas such as pharmaceuticals, central supply, medical records, and the admission and discharge of patients.
High school students should consult their guidance office for more information about the specific requirements of this program at their school or area vocational education center.
185 OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT TRAINING
Occupational Therapy Assistant Training Programs provide opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills needed for employment assisting Registered Occupational Therapists in general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, day care centers, homebound programs, and special education facilities.
Courses vary from school to school but may include:
There are no Apprenticeships related to this Career Exploration Script.
***MILITARY TRAINING PROGRAMS***
Please check the Military website at http://www.todaysmilitary.com .
PHYSICAL AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY SPECIALISTS
Physical and occupational therapy consists of treatment and exercise for patients disabled by illness or injury. Physical and occupational therapy specialists assist in administering treatment aimed at helping disabled patients regain strength and mobility and preparing them to return to work.
What They Do
Physical and occupational therapy specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
Therapy specialists may have to lift and support patients during exercises and treatments.
Helpful school subjects include general science, biology, and psychology. Helpful attributes include:
Therapy specialists work in hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers.
Job training consists of 11 to 31 weeks of classroom instruction, including practice in applying therapy techniques. Course content typically includes:
Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses.
Civilian therapy specialists work for hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, and community health centers. They perform duties similar to military occupational therapy specialists. Civilian therapy specialists often specialize in treating a particular type of patient, such as children, the severely disabled, the elderly, or those who have lost arms or legs (amputees).
The military need new physical and occupational therapy specialists each year due to personnel changes and field demands. After job training, therapy specialists provide routine therapy care, under the direction of supervisors. With experience, they work with patients with more serious problems. Eventually they may advance to supervisory positions.
Persons who want to determine whether or not they have the personal qualities needed for this occupation may do volunteer work in the occupational therapy department of a hospital, nursing homes, or clinic.
Summer, part-time, or full-time work as an Occupational Therapy Aide is another way to gain experience. Further training can be gained through secondary vocational health occupations education programs or postsecondary occupational therapy assistant programs. Occupational therapy specialist training is available also through the military service.
School-to-Work opportunities include:
job shadowing experiences
touring a local Occupational Therapy Assistant & Aide employer
volunteer work with an Occupational Therapy Assistant & Aide employer
community service work with an agency
To gain employment in this field, apply directly to hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, civil service offices, or other employers. Assistance in locating job openings may be obtained from school and college placement offices and local offices of the Michigan Works! . Job listings may appear in newspaper want ads and professional publications. In addition, you should access and search the Internet's on-line employment services sites such as:
You should also enter an electronic resume on these on-line services.
Salaries of Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides may vary according to their education and experience, and the type, size, and location of the employer.
Nationally, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants employed in hospitals and related institutions averaged $48,400 yearly in mid 2009, with most earning between $40,000 and $49,700. Occupational Therapy Aides earnings were less. The median yearly earnings of "all" workers in the U.S. were $37,544 in 2008.
In Michigan hospitals and related institutions, the annual salary in mid 2009 for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants was:
Depending on the employer, most Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides receive paid vacations; sick leave; life, health, disability, and hospitalization insurance; and pension plans. Some also receive dental and optical insurance. These benefits are usually paid for, at least in part, by the employer.
Advancement depends on experience, education, job responsibilities, and successful performance. Workers with knowledge of specialized techniques and training methods are more apt to become supervisors. Relocating to larger institutions may increase responsibility and income. Without further education, advancement opportunities for Occupational Therapy Aides are limited. A career ladder for Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides may be: Occupational Therapy Aide, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Occupational Therapist, supervising therapist.
Nationally, there were about 25,000 Occupational Therapy Assistants and about 8,200 Occupational Therapy Aides employed in 2006. The employment for Occupational Therapy Assistants and Occupational Therapists Aides is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2016. The industry distribution for Occupational Therapy Assistants & Aides looked like this:
There are approximately 1,150 Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides employed in Michigan. Nearly all worked in or near urban areas. The employment for Occupational Therapy Assistants is increasing much faster while employment for Aides is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2016. An average of 40 annual openings is expected, with 20 due to growth and 20 due to replacement of those who retire, die, or leave the labor force for other reasons. Additional openings will occur as workers change jobs or occupations. Recently, the number of graduates of certified occupational therapy assistant programs has fallen short of demand.
The demand for occupational therapeutic services will result from Michigan's aging population, including the baby-boom generation, as well as advances in medical technology that save the lives of children born with birth defects and of accident victims. Hospitals and nursing homes may also need more Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides to meet the increased demand for rehabilitation services, primarily due to the rising life expectancy.
MICHIGAN 'S EMPLOYMENT OUT LOOK TO 2016
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