What Is Required for These Types of Occupational Therapist Jobs?
Although rehab aides don't do as much one-on-one patient care as do those and other types of occupational therapy jobs, you will need to have a significant amount of physical strength, because you may need to assist the occupational therapist in helping patients move. In addition, a lot of the job will require physical exertion like stooping, kneeling, and standing for long periods of time.
Job Duties for Occupational Therapy Jobs of This Nature
A lot of what rehab aides do involves clerical work, like scheduling appointments, and preparing materials to be used during patient sessions. Aides are not allowed to do as much as full occupational therapists are because they're not regulated by the state, so they're somewhat limited in what they can perform. Nonetheless, because these types of occupational therapy jobs are supervised by the occupational therapist in question, usually, they will still have some patient one-on-one time and will therefore need to be able to deal well with people and handle stressful situations, too.
Education Needed for These Types of Occupational Therapy Jobs
Occupational rehab aides do not need to attend additional schooling and will simply need to have strong interpersonal skills, requisite skills like clerical abilities, a strong attention to detail, and the desire to help people. Those who decide to go into occupational therapy assistant work will need to go to a school that's been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, and then will need to pass a national certifying exam for occupational therapist assistants. As of 2009, there were 135 such accredited programs in the US.
In your first year of study as an occupational therapy assistant, you will learn about basic medical terminology, physiology and anatomy, and you have an introduction to health care. In your second year, you will study specific occupational therapy courses pertaining to your field, like gerontology, pediatrics, physical disabilities, and mental health. In your second year of study, you will also undergo at least 16 weeks of supervised fieldwork in a community or clinic setting. Prior to schooling, taking high school courses in health and biology, and volunteering in hospitals, nursing homes, physical therapists' offices, etc., will also improve chances of admission to one of these programs.
Getting Licensed For Occupational Therapist Jobs
While occupational therapy aids will not need to be licensed, those who want to be occupational therapist assistants will need to be licensed. 40 states require this license, and there may be other eligibility requirements as well depending on the state you live in. Check with your state licensing board for specific requirements should you wish to be an occupational therapist assistant.
Payment or Salary for These Types of Occupational Therapy Jobs
Occupational therapy jobs for occupational assistants averaged about $48,000 in 2008. For occupational therapist aides, the average salary was about $27,000 as of 2008.