I Have a Question on Being an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

Question by Noa Bach: I have a question on being an ?
I was accepted into the occupational therapy program, someone recommended it to me because I am empathetic, compassionate, and always looking for ways to heal and lessen the suffering of others. I was wondering what I would be doing on a daily basis. Is the program hard? Also would I make a great salary to live very comfortably?

The other career I was thinking about is preschool teaching but many people in my family discourage me because they say the pay is low and occupational therapy is better since I have a counseling type persona and I can help people with their problems.

Best answer:

Answer by Simpson G
Do you understand what Occupational Therapy is? You aren’t licensed to or set up to counsel patients. While you do listen to their concerns and hear stories about their lives, you have to be very careful about getting overly personal with a patient.

I glanced through some of your past questions and it seems that you are a thoughtful person really searching to understand the human condition. Maybe you can look into a naturopathic counseling education. It will take more time, but it will enable you to work with similarly minded individuals to build strengths and overcome weaknesses. You can draw from philosophy, medicine (of all kinds), and psychology to help people that enjoy a more holistic approach to personal wellness.

Answer by jannsody
An occupational therapy assistant (OTA), or an occupational therapist (OT), does *not* provide counseling or psychotherapy (“talk therapy”). They help people whose disability or illness has interfered with their daily living skills or “activities of daily living” (ADLs). Those ADLs can include the person having difficulty with bathing, grooming, personal hygiene and feeding themselves.

Please be aware that the job of an OTA can be both psychologically (mentally) and physically draining albeit I’m sure rewarding. The OTA has certain liabilities (risk for lawsuits) such as if a patient falls down (or gets burnt from a heat pack) under his or her care, too.

Before taking pre-req courses for OTA, please job shadow/observe in the various departments that administer OT, including physical rehabilitation hospitals that treat patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), spinal cord injury/paralysis, stroke (“brain attack”) which is a type of brain injury, other neurological disorders, hip/shoulder/knee replacements, amputated limbs or such – pediatric hospitals – nursing homes/long-term care facilities or such.

With regard to teaching at the preschool level (or any level), please consider getting a part-time job (or at least volunteer) as a teacher assistant. The job of an actual teacher involves not only teaching the required curriculum but also having to deal with students with challenging behaviors as well.

For general career info: http://www.bls.gov/ooh and can search.

Pertaining to schooling, please do *avoid* those private For-profit schools such as devry, ITT tech, Sanford brown, argosy, keiser, ashworth, full sail, brown Mackie, icdc, art institute, pima medical, excelsior, strayer, concorde career, ecpi, capella, ashford, grand canyon, university of phoenix, kaplan, icdc, penn foster and others. Their course credits usually do NOT transfer to other schools, even if the for-profit school is regionally accredited as opposed to only nationally accredited.

This consumer site has a lot of negative posts by former students of those for-profit schools, and please heed the students’ warnings: http://www.complaintsboard.com and can search.

Please instead consider the more affordable (and usually more reputable) community college and/or the state-public university as long as the program is accredited within the industry. Just an fyi that “American public university” is a for-profit school.

For U.S. colleges: http://www.utexas.edu/world/univ

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