How to become an occupational therapist assistant

If you enjoy working closely with others and helping people, a career as an occupational therapist assistant might be right for you. Occupational Therapist Assistants work in clinics, schools, nursing homes, government agencies, health care agencies and more. Occupational Therapist Assistants help teach patients how to gain and stretch muscle, record improvements, supervise patients, and teach disabled people work and life skills.

Earn a two-year degree or one-year diploma in occupational therapist assisting. Make sure the school is accredited before you sign up. The school must be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. If it is not, you will not be allowed to become certified. Find an accredited school in your state through the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Become a certified Occupational Therapist Assistant through the National Board for Occupational Therapy. Through the board, you will have to apply for a certification to become a certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA). You must fill out the application after you earn your accredited degree, and then take the exam and pay the fee.

Apply for jobs at places where you would like to work as an Occupational Therapist Assistant. Now that you have the proper formal education and the certification, you are ready to begin your career as an Occupational Therapist Assistant. Search for job openings in your local newspaper's classifieds as well as online.


Continue your education by taking classes required by your employer, or by doing them on your own. You can take continuing education classes online or through a local school.


Do not enter a school that is not properly accredited.

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