There are five points to consider when looking for the best occupational therapy assistant jobs: client base, operational support, salary, hours and location. An occupational therapy assistant works under the guidance of an occupational therapist, providing specific treatment to help clients overcome difficulties they face because of their work. People who need occupational therapy might be recovering from an accident or a long-term illness.
Occupational therapists often focus on a specific community or client profile. Common examples of client types include seniors, children or teenagers with cognitive disabilities or adults removing from strokes. Think about the type of work that is most enjoyable to you, and look for a program that caters to that type of client. Occupational therapy is a very broad field, and specialization often is necessary to develop the depth of expertise necessary.
The level of organizational and operation support provided is very important. Occupational therapy sessions typically are for no more than four clients and most commonly are individual sessions. Coordination of time, location, resources and access to support services is central to providing the level of care required. A disorganized administration will have a negative effect on the quality of working conditions.
Occupational therapy assistant jobs in the private sector often have slightly better salary and benefit options than positions in hospitals or long-term care facilities. When deciding between two similar positions, take travel, food, equipment and clothing expenses into consideration. Look at the location of the job and find out how long it will take to commute using public transit or driving in a car.
Most occupational therapy assistants working for health care services companies are scheduled standard hours from Monday through Friday. Weekend hours are common in long-term care facilities or home support positions. Evening hours are quite rare, but there might be a requirement for flexibility of starting and end times in order to coordinate services with other health care professionals. You might also think about opportunities to increase your salary, such as working overtime.
In order to qualify for occupational therapy assistant jobs, completion of a post-secondary training program in occupational therapy is required. This two-year program is available from many community colleges and technical colleges. Select a program that includes a job placement or internship option. Experience is very important when applying for occupational therapy assistant jobs, and the best way to gain this experience is through a job placement program.