Occupational Therapy Assistant Schools

The mission of all occupational therapy assistants is to support therapists in their goal of helping patients learn to live life to the fullest. Patients of all ages are taught physical, social, and psychological functions in order to maintain optimal health, self-esteem, and independence.

Although occupational therapy assistants work under the direct supervision of occupational therapists, they are highly skilled medical professionals. They are required to earn an associate’s degree and pass the national certification exam before becoming a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). OT assistants may be found in such facilities as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, mental health facilities, and rehabilitation centers.

To be an occupational therapy assistant in the United States, you must first earn your associate’s degree from one of the 175+ occupational therapy assistant programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). These institutions can be public or private universities, four-year colleges, community colleges, or technical colleges.

Once the student has obtained an associate’s degree and met all the other requirements, he or she is eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination. In order to become an occupational therapy assistant, you must pass the NBCOT exam.

Occupational therapist education programs include classroom and laboratory time and provide clinical experience and fieldwork experience towards the end of the course. Most schools have prerequisites, but some allow these prerequisites to be taken in the first year.

According to the US Bureau Of Labor Statistics, there are around 42,000 occupational therapy assistants in the United States in 2022 and the field is supposed to see an increase of 30 percent by 2024. According to the same report, occupational therapy assistants average $61,730 in annual income.

Tuition Costs for Occupational Therapy Assistants

The cost of occupational therapy assistant school depends on the location and size of the school, and whether it is public or private.

According to the AOTA survey for 2012, the average cost for the program for residents at public institutions, including tuition, fees, and other costs, is about $7,325. For private institutions, the average tuition was approximately $15,745.

List of Occupational Therapy Assistant Schools