An occupational therapy assistant works under an occupational therapist to carry out treatment plans for patients of all ages. Most patients have difficulty performing daily tasks and activities due to a medical condition, illness, injury or disability.
Throughout your workday, you might assist children with improving their mobility or elderly patients with improving their memory. No matter what you do each day, there are various skills critical to your success.
The Steps You Must Take to Become an OTA
Some of the skills required for OTA success you’ll learn through an Occupational Therapy Assistant program. An OTA program will teach you the work-based skills you need such as how to use therapy equipment, how to administer therapy and more.
Once you complete an accredited OTA program, you’ll then need to take and pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam for licensing and employment.
Skills You Need to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant
To best serve your patients as a healthcare provider, there are critical skills you must possess as an occupational therapy assistant.
Some of the most important skills are those gained through education, on-the-job training and experience. Work-based skills are required to carry out your daily job responsibilities as an OTA. Some of these skills include:
- Correct usage of therapy equipment such as gait trainers, standing frames, visual stimulation devices and more
- Knowledge of human anatomy and how it relates to rehabilitation
- Knowledge of medical conditions and disabilities to ensure you’re delivering the best care based on a patient’s needs
- Ability to create patient care plans and document patient progress
It’s also important to have physical strength and solid mobility. As an OTA, you’ll physically support patients throughout the day, and you’ll need to lift various types of equipment.
Additional Critical Skills
A successful OTA will also have solid soft skills: a mix of communication skills, people skills and social skills. Important soft skills include:
- Creativity: An OTA must be creative in the way they deliver patient care. No two patients are the same—what works for one patient, may not work for another. You must be able to find therapies that fit.
- Communication: Each day, you’ll communicate with your colleagues as well as patients and their families. You must know how to communicate effectively for the best patient outcomes.
- Motivation: There will be days your patients may not feel like moving forward. They may feel as if they can’t do certain tasks which will affect their motivation. You must be a cheerleader, ready to help them reach their goals.
- Organization: You’ll need to be organized to manage your own schedule as well as multiple patient care plans, appointments and meetings with your colleagues.
Jumpstart Your OTA Career With Cambridge
Does a career as an OTA sound like a good fit for you? We’d love to help you jumpstart your new career. To learn more about our Occupational Therapy Assistant program, give us a call at 877-206-4279 or send us a message.