Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational therapy assistants help transport patients to therapy areas and set up equipment.

Occupational therapy assistants help transport patients to therapy areas and set up equipment.

Some patients need more than medicine to treat their condition. They may require occupational therapy, a process that helps them learn to adjust to life after or during an illness, injury, or permanent disability. An Occupational Therapy (OT) assistant works with an occupational therapist to treat these patients by doing exercises, playing games, or using specialty equipment.

Fast Facts

Minimum Degree Required: Associate’s

Top 3 Skills: Patience, Communication, Clerical Skills

Average Starting Salary: $35,000/year

Job Description

An OT assistant does whatever the OT therapist needs help doing. This may include clerical duties, like answering the phone and processing appointments and bills, or working with patients during their therapy sessions, after their initial consultation with the OT therapist.

An OT assistant does much of the same work as their supervising OT therapist. The main difference between the two is that assistants do not diagnose patients or design their treatment plans. However, they still possess the knowledge necessary to assist the patient and explain the treatment process to him/her if necessary.

For more information on the duties of an Occupational Therapist, click here. (hyperlink to OT article)


Most OT assistants have an associate’s degree in occupational therapy. During the two year program, students learn about human biology, psychology, and general health. They then train with a licensed occupational therapist to learn about specific therapy techniques, which vary greatly based on the needs of the patient.


After completing one of 300 licensed degree programs, OT assistants may obtain their license to practice.

Job Outlook: Outstanding

The BLS predicts a 43% increase in OT assistant positions between the years of 2010 and 2020, nearly double the national average. The median income for an OT therapist in 2010 was $51,000.

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