An OTA stands for occupational therapist assistant, and an OT stands for an occupational therapist. So what the difference? Though OTA and OT’s have similar jobs tasks and responsibilities, there are different roles and requirements in each profession. Are you considering becoming an OTA? Or, are you considering transitioning from an OTA to an OT? What career path is best for you? Not to worry! Here we’ll be discussing the different roles and responsibilities of each position as well the OTA to OT transition.
OTA and OT: Similarities and Differences
If you are deciding between being an OTA or an OT, or if you are figuring out whether you want to begin the OTA to OT transition, it is important to understand how these roles differ from one another.
Both OT and OTA’s serve emotionally, physically, and mentally disabled people. They also both work with younger children working through different developmental issues. Occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants help to guide their clients into a positive and rejuvenating recovery.
There is also varying administrative tasks that both OT and OTA’s must complete. For example, when OT and OTA’s work as a team, they must co-sign off on notes, write progress reports, and constantly communicate effectively with one another. Finally, it is important to note that both career paths will require long and difficult shifts. Regardless if you decide to pursue being an OT or an OTA you will still be working long hours and possibly weekends.
An OT is a skilled therapist professional who can effectively utilize all aspect of occupational therapy. This meaning Occupational Therapists are able to decide on treatment paths, execute treatment paths, and teach clients different therapy techniques. OTA’s are involved more solely in providing and executing the physical exercises that are instructed by the OT.
Additionally, the educational requirements of an OT are much different than an OTA. An OT must complete a master’s degree or an entry-level doctorate. Occupational therapists must also have experience working in the field; therefore it likely takes 2-3 more years to be a certified OT. Finally, there is a difference in pay if you decide between being an OT or OTA. While becoming an OT takes more schooling, and thus costs more, their annual salary is significantly higher than an OTA. OT on average makes around $83,000-$87,000 per year. The average salary of an OTA will likely be around $56,000-$59,000 per year.
OTA to OT Transition: Is It Worth It?
Many times current OTA’s have the ability to apply to bridge programs where you can earn your OT masters degree in a shorter amount of time. Often times these programs will require, weekend classes, online classes, and integrate in-the-field work experience.
After understanding how an OT’s role differs from an OTA, ask yourself: do you want to make the transition? Some of the major benefits of making this transition are increased pay, increased job opportunity and the ability to travel. You can also further your education and or maybe become a university educator. However, with such perks, it is important to include the disadvantages of this transition. OTA to OT transition is a huge expense that will likely take years to pay off. Also, a lack of bridge programs in your area may cause you to re-locate for schooling. You’ll also face increased paperwork and potential added job stress.
There you have it! Are you a current OTA thinking about making the transition to becoming a certified OT? Or are you excited to launch into your career as an OTA?
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