OTRL Occupational Therapists job

Is Being An Occupational Therapy Worth It Or Should I Just Become A COTA?

Home - Health & Fitness - Is Being An Occupational Therapy Worth It Or Should I Just Become A COTA?

Many young candidates like to choose occupational therapy as their career path. Specialists in this field need to work with people who have mental and physical injuries and disabilities. They help patients achieve some major living skills and let them feel independent. But, should you look for the OTR/L Occupational Therapists job? Or, is it better to work simply as a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistants job? A brief discussion about COTA and OT will help you make the right decision on your career.

Who are occupational therapists?

OTs are certified healthcare experts who have passed a written exam before becoming a practitioner. Their role is to-

  • Evaluate patients
  • Make proper treatment plans
  • Check the progress
  • Approve the patient’s discharge
  • Assess and reassess the report

Occupational Therapists can also choose a specialty in the field. For instance, some OTs deal with patients having mental health issues. 

You can often find the OTR/L title in the credentials of the OT. The R indicates their national certification, whereas the L represents the state license. 

So, OTs with this title are fully qualified in the field. The path to becoming a qualified OT is longer compared to that of the COTA

Who is COTA?

Occupational therapy assistants help OTs do their everyday practices. Under the supervision of an OT, COTA implements the patient’s treatment plan. But, assistants do not make interventional plans on their own. They work only with the OT’s direction. Thus, they cannot make any decision on the patient without the OT’s assistance. 

You can find the COTA/L title in the Occupational Therapy Assistant’s credentials. COTAs need to co-sign the re-assessment and discharge, and the OT will then finalize it.

The major difference in the roles of OTA and OT is that the latter has the ability to adjust the treatment plan. However, interactions between these professionals are important for ensuring the safest care.

OTAs can find high flexibility in the job world, as they can work in different environments. They can easily make the work/life balance because of the flexible work hours. OTAs can also pursue further education to earn higher. However, in some cases, they may need to work on the weekends.

Educational requirements of OT and COTA

Having a Master’s degree is a must for becoming an Occupational Therapist. However, if you want to grab a better position in the field, you may pursue a course for a Doctoral degree. The most important thing in your career is the license obtained by passing the NBCOT exam. Thus, make sure you have achieved these qualifications before applying for speech therapist jobs Los Angeles. 

You need to have a 2-year associate degree to become a certified OTA. It is also essential to join a clinical internship program. OTA graduates have to be successful in the NBCOT exam to obtain a license. A Bachelor’s degree course is not available in the field of occupational therapy. So, some therapy assistants pursue a Bachelor’s course in healthcare administration and public health.

Clinical settings where the OTAs and OTs work

Both these professionals look for jobs in-

  • Acute inpatient hospitals
  • Mental healthcare centers hospitals
  • Rehabilitation hospitals
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Home health agencies
  • Community mental healthcare centers
  • Sensory integration clinics

Some OTs and their assistants also work in schools to treat patients.

Who earns a higher salary?

Geographical locations and clinical settings can affect your salary. Occupational therapists earn more than their assistants. The latest data shows that the average salary of OTs in the USA ranges from $95T to $2L per year. Some therapists charge on a per-hour basis. 

As a certified OTA, you will earn at least $70K in a year. Both OTs and COTAs can earn extra in different practice settings. In the school-based setting, you may not get a high payment. OTs can upgrade their positions to clinic directors or therapy managers to earn a higher salary because of additional responsibilities.

OTAs working with OTs

OTAs and OTs work with adults and children who cannot do daily activities or tasks because of physical injury or illness. They play a vital role in improving the quality of life of every patient with online tools, adaptive equipment, and some special tasks. They can develop a strong bond with patients to provide better treatment. OTAs and OTs always work together and maintain good communication. Only in a few cases, they may not do work physically side-by-side. So, a brief information about these professionals will help you make the best decision. Based on your skills and experience, you can apply for COTA or speech therapy jobs Los Angeles.

OTR/L Occupational Therapists job Versus COTA job

If you want to establish yourself in the field within the shortest period, you can choose the OTA certification. The biggest advantage is that you can re-enter the school to become a certified occupational therapist in the future. 

On the contrary, if you can make a longer initial commitment, choosing an OT designation is the right choice. It is essential to learn everything about the industry to get an OTR/L Occupational Therapists job. However, both professions let you find lucrative work opportunities. You can move your career to the front with the right effort. 


Table of Contents

Recent Articles