Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)

Occupational therapy assistants collaborate with occupational therapists in serving persons whose everyday functioning is complicated by developmental disability, physical illness or injury, emotional problems or aging changes.

Work Activities/Work Locations

Occupational therapy assistants may work in hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, adult day care programs, residential care, and home health settings under the supervision of an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy assistants help the occupational therapist implement therapy programs for patients, assist in evaluations, help plan and administer various health promotion programs and activities and instruct patients and families on the use of adaptive equipment.

Getting Started

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High School Courses

High school students should study biology, chemistry, health, and social sciences and perform some volunteer work with an occupational therapy practitioner. An associate degree is required from an accredited community college or technical school. Course work includes introductory health care, anatomy and physiology, occupational therapy theory and skills classes, and supervised fieldwork experience. Occupational therapy assistants need to pass a national exam and meet state credentialing requirements to be licensed. 

Education and Training

Professional Organizations

American Occupational Therapy Association
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD, 20814-3449
301/652-6611 or 800/729-2682
www.aota.org

American Occupational Therapy Foundation
4720 Montgomery Lane
Bethesda, MD, 20814
240/292-1079 or 800/729-2682
www.aotf.org/

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT)
12 South Summit Ave., Suite 100
Gaithersburg, MD, 20877-4150
301/990-7979
www.nbcot.org/

Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association
N83 W13410 Leon Rd.
Menomonee Falls, WI, 53051
414/204-7443
www.wota.net

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (Wisconsin): 800
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 33,000
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 47,100
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 43%
Expected Annual Openings: 2,360
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $45,707

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.