PTA and OTA Jobs Are a Good Introduction Into the Healthcare Industry
Anyone interested in working in the healthcare industry will find a vast number of career options. Having the skill and knowledge to assist people with reintegrating into a normal routine after an injury requires dedication to providing patients with the proper care for a smooth transition. Occupational therapy assistants (OTA) and physical therapy assistants (PTA) are valued professionals in healthcare that contributes to a patient's well-being.
In OTA jobs, individuals provide rehabilitative services to patients who suffer from physical, mental or developmental impairments. Occupational therapy assistants follow a treatment plan with the patient that is developed by an occupational therapist. The activities vary depending on the type and extent of the injury. The OTA monitors the patient's progress and updates the occupational therapist who determines if changes to the plan are necessary.
Physical therapy assistants are supervised by physical therapists, and have similar job duties; however, the difference is the type of therapy a patient receives. Typical days may include electrical stimulation, massages, ultrasounds and various exercises. Most PTA jobs also require performing clerical duties such as ordering supplies, answering phones, and submitting insurance forms.
In order to qualify for OTA jobs, you must receive training from an accredited school and sit for the national certifying exam. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) has 135 occupational therapy assistant programs nationwide. The two year program includes occupational therapy courses in mental health, adult physical disabilities, pediatrics, and gerontology. Sixteen weeks of supervised field work is also required. PTA jobs require an associate's degree in most states. The American Physical Therapy Association's Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education is the accrediting body for the 223 physical therapy assistant programs. Just like the training for occupational therapy assistants, the PTA program is divided into academic courses and clinical experience. PTAs also receive CPR and other first aid certifications.
The employment outlook for OTA and PTA jobs is expected to increase over the next 10 years as the restrictions for therapy services reimbursements ease. OTA travel jobs are also increasing in demand because of the need for patient facilities to maintain operational costs. OTA salary ranges from $ 41,000 to over $ 53,000 per year. The salary ranges for a PTA are the same. Additionally, both jobs require a physically fit person, so expect frequent stooping, bending, kneeling and long periods of standing as you assist patients during treatment sessions. The work might be physically demanding, but it is mentally rewarding as you watch a patient's progress improve over a period of time.