Occupational Therapy Aides Career

occupational-therapist-aideThe profession of Occupational Therapist is a close cousin of perhaps the more well-known Physical Therapist. The difference is that Occupational Therapists (OT) generally do not treat injuries directly, but rather help patients improve their ability to accomplish daily tasks and increase their living independence.

The job of an Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA) is to work under the supervision of an OT in treating patients to regain life skills after an injury, or to overcome natural physical handicaps.

Still one tier lower than the OT and OTA is the Occupational Therapist Aide, not to be confused with the Occupational Therapists Assistant. The difference is that an OTA (Assistant) requires and 2-year degree and licensure, while an OTA (Aide) can work without a 2-year degree, but must have a high school diploma or GED.

To be clear, this article is focused on the job of OT “Aide.” There still might be some confusion in some states because the job titles of “Aide” and “Assistant” tend to be used interchangeably. Also, 31% of OT Aides working today have a 2-year degree while 27% are high school graduates only.

Occupational Therapy Aides Career Snapshot

OT Aides most often work in the office of a therapists, a nursing home or hospital. Group homes for mentally retarded residents are also common venues.

Aides will be on their feet most of the day. They set up equipment, attend directly to patients and handle incidental tasks. This is most often not a high stress job, but the work pace is steady throughout the day.

Further details on a career as an occupational therapy aide are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly pay for occupational therapy aides.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have an Associate’s degree while 27% have a High School diploma.

Occupational Therapy Aides Education

In order to gain employment as an occupational therapy aide a high school diploma or equivalent is required. Many aides have an Associate’s degree. They typically work under occupational therapy assistants or even other aides.  Experience in the health field may help you get a job in this field.

Occupational Therapy Aides Job Duties

OT Aides work under close supervision of an OT or OTA. They monitor patient attendance, measure progress, record patient attitudes and maintain client records. They also help motivate and encourage patients while attending to a variety of physical needs to help them along with treatment.

Occupational Therapy Aides Salaries

The median pay for an OT Aide as of May 2015 was $27,800 according to the BLS.gov, which is roughly $12.98 to $13.50 per hour. Those earning at the lower 10% of this scale earn about $19,820 per year. Those in the highest 10% range can make $48,950.

Occupational Therapy Aides Job Outlook

The demand for OT Aides is considered excellent, if not exceptional. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts growth to be “much faster than average” with a 40% increase through 2024.

The combined number of OT Assistant and Aide job in the U.S was 41,900 in 2014.

Occupational Therapy Aides Skills & Traits

Occupational Therapy Aide Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Occupational Therapy Aides:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Service Orientation
• Speaking
• Social Perceptiveness
• Critical Thinking
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Speech Clarity
• Written Expression
• Adaptive communication switches
• Balance beams
• Canes or cane accessories
• Leather accessories
• Therapeutic balls
• Caring for others
• Communicating with others
• Getting information
• Maintaining relationships
• Recording information

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