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Current Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary Rates

Current Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary Rates

For those interested in an exciting career in the healthcare industry, becoming an occupational therapy assistant is a great profession for anyone possessing compassion, and the desire to help people from all walks of life.

Involving a modest time investment in gaining the necessary education and training, students can be on their way in a lifetime career in as little as two years. Certified occupational therapy assistant salary is fruitful as well, with recent estimates that demand for these professionals is on the rise, too.

Those in the field have found their job to be personally gratifying, providing even more reason for them to enjoy their profession of helping different people learn easier ways to experience their lives.

Current Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary Information

In the US, the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics lists occupational therapy assistants as having one of the fastest growing employment rates, proposed to increase at as much as 43% through the year 2020.

The current median base salary (the salary at which half of all professionals are rated) for these professionals is just slightly over $51,000 per year, with the salary range spanning from $33,100 yearly (the lowest 10% of employed) to as much as $71,000 yearly (the highest 10% of employed), which is a very competitive salary for non-doctoral positions in the medical industry.

Canadian occupational therapy staff in the roles as OTAs earn an estimated $36,000 CAD annually, which is considerably lower than salaries in the US, however, there is great change happening within this sector of employment in the country.

With the creation of a brand new professional organization to regulate and monitor educational resources, and a certification and licensing process in development, it is expected that this will positively affect certified assistant salary rates, making them more competitive with those in the US, which has had an accreditation and certification system in place for years.

In the UK, occupational therapy staff is either NHS hires or private hires – in either general positions or as Assistant Practitioners in training – which can usually earn salaries in the range of Band 3, which is £16,100 – £19,000.

Those who earn the qualifications of Assistant Practitioner usually earn salaries within Band 4, £18,600 – £21,700, or even more, depending on their speciality as an Assistant Practitioner.

Educational Requirements

In order to earn certified salary amounts, OTAs need to get the right education. This generally involves completing a two-year, accredited educational program, which includes clinical experiences and various other training, preparing students to take a certification examination, followed by a licensing examination.

Licensing is necessary in most US states and is only available to certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs).

While it is possible for graduates to become employed in some states without certification and licensure, it is still strongly recommended that students take the national exam to get certified as this can provide them with many more employment and professional growth opportunities, such as the ability to specialize in a number of different therapeutic areas. Even in states where licensure is not required, most employers still look for certification, with pay rates largely corresponding with this qualification.

Additionally, it should be noted that only US graduates of programs that are accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) are eligible to take the national certification exam.

There is no actual certification or licensure in the UK or Canada as mentioned above, although Canadian professional groups are currently underway in developing an accreditation system for its occupational therapy assistant educational programs and a certification procedure.

Employees in the UK qualify for Assistant Practitioner status after having a required amount of professional experience, and/or after completing a recognized educational program.

Choose Accredited Programs

The easiest way for anyone interested in becoming a COTA (or their country’s equivalent) is to research available accredited or recognized educational offerings and enroll in the best program possible.

In this manner, graduating students will qualify for any necessary testing or have the training needed to provide them with the best job options, and the best certified occupational therapy assistant salary offers from the start.