We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant?

By K T Solis
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) is a health care professional who has passed a national certification exam that allows him or her to work in the occupational therapy field. This certification is required by most states in the United States. People who work in occupational therapy teach injured patients how to improve muscle strength and flexibility so that such patients can resume their daily activities at home and work. They also teach developmentally disabled patients important life-coping skills. If a person wishes to become a certified occupational therapy assistant, he or she will work closely with an occupational therapist.

Someone who wishes to become an occupational therapy assistant first enrolls in a community college or career school that offers a program in this field. Completion of these programs generally leads to an associate's degree or career certificate. Typical courses in an occupational therapy assistant program include classes in medical terminology, rehabilitation theory, gerontology, pediatrics, psychology, anatomy and physiology, and physical and mental disabilities. Students also receive hands-on training within medical facilities.

After graduating from an occupational therapy assistant program, the graduate is often required to pass a certification exam to be eligible for employment. A new certified occupational therapy assistant can expect to work in a variety of settings. He or she can work in hospitals, home health care, occupational therapist offices, nursing homes, and other kinds of medical facilities. The certified occupational therapist assistant works under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist, assisting with the treatment of patients.

A typical day of a certified occupational therapy assistant may include a variety of scenarios. The assistant may help a person with cerebral palsy improve fine motor skills or teach a recently disabled person how to adapt to a new way of performing basic movements and skills. The occupational therapy assistant may even teach developmentally disabled patients the important skills they need to live independently.

Certified occupational therapy assistants constantly monitor and record their patients' progress and share this information with the occupational therapist. They may be required to assist with administrative tasks such as health insurance billing and the completion of insurance paperwork. Depending on the type of medical facilities in which they work, occupational therapy assistants may be required to work nights, weekends, and holidays. Since they deal with patients and medical personnel on a daily basis, occupational therapy assistants must possess excellent people skills. They must carry out their duties in an efficient, competent manner to set patients at ease.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.