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Purdue University Global

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Occupational Therapy Aide Degree Programs

Occupational therapy aides assist occupational therapists by preparing patient rooms and handling administrative and billing tasks. Learn about degree options and training programs for prospective occupational therapy aides.

What Does An Occupational Therapy Aide Do?

Occupational therapy aides are responsible for a wide variety of tasks that assist both occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants. Most occupational therapy aides are in charge of the daily administrative and operational tasks of the practice. Duties include making and confirming appointments, greeting patients and maintaining equipment. General tasks will be assigned by your employer, but you can expect to handle the stocking of supplies and materials management. You may also be called upon to help move patients and handle a multitude of paperwork.

Key SkillsManage daily administrative and operational tasks of the practice, making and confirming appointments, greeting patients and maintaining equipment, stocking of supplies and materials management
Education RequirementsHigh school diploma, experience in the field, on-the-job training, and non-credit college courses
Advancement OpportunitiesObtain associate's degree to become an occupational therapy assistant
Common CoursesEnglish, psychology, clinical reasoning, rehabilitation practice and skills
Job Outlook (2019-2029)32% growth (for occupational therapy assistants and aides)*
Median Salary (2020)$60,950 (for occupational therapy assistants and aides)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Much Education Do I Need?

In order to begin your career as an occupational therapy aide, you need at least a high school diploma. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most occupational therapy aides earn their education through experience in the field and on-the-job training (www.bls.gov).

Colleges may offer non-credit courses to prepare you for work as an occupational therapy aide. Courses will teach you about basic patient care, occupational therapy exercises, office procedures and maintaining equipment. However, you may need to have taken courses in medical terminology and basic anatomy to enroll in courses.

Are There Advancement Opportunities Available To Me?

If you work as an occupational therapy aide and are looking to advance in the field, you will need to earn an associate's degree to become an occupational therapy assistant. Assistants are responsible for direct patient care and charting patient progress. Degree programs last around two years, and you cannot move from occupational therapy aide to assistant without earning your degree.

These programs contain both general education courses such as English and psychology, as well as occupational therapy specific courses like clinical reasoning and rehabilitation practice and skills. In addition to earning an associate's degree, assistants also have to be licensed according to state regulations as well.