Career summary

Details for Occupational Therapist Assistants


Description

Assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, direct activity programs, and document the progress of treatments. Generally requires formal training.

Tasks

  • Select therapy activities to fit patients' needs and capabilities.
  • Monitor patients' performance in therapy activities, providing encouragement.
  • Instruct, or assist in instructing, patients and families in home programs, basic living skills, or the care and use of adaptive equipment.
  • Maintain and promote a positive attitude toward clients and their treatment programs.
  • Observe and record patients' progress, attitudes, and behavior and maintain this information in client records.
  • Aid patients in dressing and grooming themselves.
  • Implement, or assist occupational therapists with implementing, treatment plans designed to help clients function independently.
  • Communicate and collaborate with other healthcare professionals involved with the care of a patient.
  • Evaluate the daily living skills or capacities of physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabled clients.
  • Attend continuing education classes.
  • Report to supervisors, verbally or in writing, on patients' progress, attitudes, and behavior.
  • Alter treatment programs to obtain better results if treatment is not having the intended effect.
  • Work under the direction of occupational therapists to plan, implement, or administer educational, vocational, or recreational programs that restore or enhance performance in individuals with functional impairments.
  • Teach patients how to deal constructively with their emotions.
  • Demonstrate therapy techniques, such as manual or creative arts or games.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as scheduling appointments, collecting data, or documenting health insurance billings.
  • Assemble, clean, or maintain equipment or materials for patient use.
  • Attend care plan meetings to review patient progress and update care plans.
  • Order any needed educational or treatment supplies.
  • Transport patients to and from the occupational therapy work area.
  • Design, fabricate, or repair assistive devices or make adaptive changes to equipment or environments.
  • Assist educational specialists or clinical psychologists in administering situational or diagnostic tests to measure client's abilities or progress.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

Knowledge

  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Skills

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Related careers

  • Child, Family, and School Social Workers
  • Educational, Vocational, and School Counselors
  • Health Educators
  • Physical Therapists
  • Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists