Occupational Therapist Aide

Pros


  • This is work that helps people to live their lives better; many of them have problems performing tasks that need to be done everyday.
  • There is expected to be excellent growth in this career.
  • Those wishing to enter this field will find that there are minimal education requirements to gain employment.

Cons

  • There are physical demands that are involved in this job. Aides may be required to help move patients and they may need to move equipment.
  • The majority of time spent in this job will require you to be on you feet working with patients.
  • Occupational therapist aides often have to work long hours that are outside of the normal workday.

Overview

Occupational therapist aides work with occupational therapists and their assistants to help clients with rehabilitative activities and exercises to help restore functions that may have been lost for medical reasons. Usually an occupational therapist aide will provide support functions with the goal of helping patients. In a clinical setting, patients go to occupational therapy to learn the proper methods of moving from a bed into a wheelchair to the best way to stretch and limber the muscles of the body.

Occupational therapist aides typically prepare materials and assemble equipment used during treatment. They are responsible a majority of administrative work in a clinical setting which can include scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, ordering supplies, and filling out insurance forms or other paperwork. They may also need to do physical tasks such as move equipment as well as physically assist patients. Aides are not generally regulated by states. This makes their work limited, as usually state law does not allow them to perform as wide a range of tasks as occupational therapist assistants.

While most occupational therapist aides work with occupational therapists and their assistants in private clinics, they can also be found in hospitals, home health organizations, assisted living centers and physician’s offices. A small amount of occupational therapist aides will also work in a corporate setting, helping employees to improve their work performance while also doing so in a safe and cautious manner.

Education

There are very few educational requirements to become an occupational therapist aide. Although occupational therapist assistants need to have formal education, most aides only need to have a high school education in order to obtain employment. They do need to have a desire to help people and have good interpersonal skills to help work with patients. Most occupational therapist aides get most of their training on the job. It is usually an informal program that is supervised by occupational therapist assistants. There are no licensing requirements for occupational therapist aides.

Job Prospects

There are good prospects for occupational therapist aides. Job growth is expected to be better than average when comparing this field to all other occupations. The population is skewing towards an elderly demographic, and these are the type of people who most need the services of occupational therapy. Because of this, and along with the eventual retirement of older workers, it will be relatively easy for occupational therapist aides to get employment, especially if they are good with people.

Advancement Opportunities

There are very few advancement prospects for those who work in this field. This is usually because most people who are employed as occupational therapist aides do not have a strong educational background. However, many will find through this work that they are interested in working in the health profession long term and will enroll in an educational program to become an occupational therapist assistant, a nurse’s assistant or even a registered nurse.