Occupational Therapy VS Occupational Therapy Assistant (OT VS OTA) –
Many students may prefer to choose their career in the rehabilitation field. They may want to explore the areas of occupational therapy for their career. Occupational therapy is a wonderful profession with increasing demand. According to CNN money, occupational therapy profession is at number 10 in top ten jobs in America. Because the occupational therapy profession offers great pay, work satisfaction, and having big growth opportunities.
Occupational therapist (OT), occupational therapy assistant (OTA), and occupational therapy aide come under the profession of occupational therapy. Some student may prefer to take OTA course and some take OT course. If a student has money and time constraint, OTA is a better option. And later on, the OTA can become OT through some accredited bridge program. Or students can directly apply to the OT programs offered by many universities.
Occupational therapy (OT) and Occupational therapy Assistant (OTA) directly deals with patients and their caretaker. OT and OTA, both provide safety instruction and therapy intervention. OTA has the knowledge about the occupational therapy, but OTA has limited responsibility. Many times patients or their caretakers ask, “what is OT?” or “what is OTA?” and “What is the difference between OT and OTA?”
What is a registered occupational therapist (OTR)?
Occupational therapy is the science of directing individual’s participation in selected activities to restore, reinforce, and enhance performance in his occupation. The occupational therapist facilitates learning new skills and functions essential for daily living tasks.
An OT becomes OTR after clearing the NBCOT’s certificate examination. The certification is essential to practice occupational therapy.
So, occupational therapist (OT) is a synonym for a registered occupational therapist (OTR).
What is Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)?
An Occupational therapy assistant is a professional, who assists an occupational therapist in making reports and implementation of treatment plans.
An OTA becomes COTA after clearing the NBCOT’s certification examination. The certification is mandatory to practice as an occupational therapy assistant.
So, occupational therapist assistant (OTA) is a synonym for a certified occupational therapy Assistant (COTA).
Professional Responsibilities of OT and OTA–
Many times students who want to perceive a career in occupational therapy domain, search for the term “OT vs OTA” for better understanding and the difference between them.
Here, we are trying to explain the relationship between the Occupational therapist and Occupational Therapy Assistant.
Occupational therapy Assistant (OTA) works under the supervision of an occupational therapist (AOTA guidelines, 1999). OT is mainly responsible for the overall delivery of the services to the client. As an OTA gain experience, the level of supervision provided by the OT changes. There are four levels of supervision for the OTA.
- Close supervision
- Routine supervision
- General supervision
- Minimum supervision.
Close supervision is required for the new OTA and minimum supervision is required for the experienced one.
Occupational therapy assistant (OTA) supervises occupational therapy aides, technicians, and volunteers.
While, An occupational therapist can practice autonomously and do not require any supervision to provide OT services.
The occupational therapist is responsible and accountable for all aspects of OT service delivery.
Responsibility in Evaluation and Intervention –
The evaluation and assessment process is primarily completed by the OT, however, the OTA may, depend upon the experience, gather preliminary data through observation. After the assessment, the OT in collaboration with the OTA develops an intervention plan based on the evaluation result. OTA is having knowledge about the activities prescribed by the OT and implement it to the client.
An OTA can contribute to the evaluation process, but they cannot independently evaluate or initiate treatment prior to the OT evaluation.
An OTA can contribute to the development and implementation of the intervention plan. plus, he/she may be monitoring and documenting of the individual’s response to intervention under the OT supervision.
OT supervises OTA in assessment and interventions, but that doesn’t mean OT is the head/boss of OTA.
OT and OTA work together as a team. They communicate and collaborate with each other.
Sometimes, a new grad OT can learn many practical things from the experienced OTA.
OTA assist in documentation, goal planning, and daily notes writing.
An OTA can expand their role by establishing service competency. Service competency is the ability to use the specified intervention in a safe, effective, and reliable manner. (I.e., the OTA and OT can perform the same or equivalent procedure and obtain the same result.)
Entry level OT and OTA may supervise Level I fieldwork students.
OT with one-year practice based experience may supervise OT Level II students.
OTA with one-year practice based experience ay supervise OTA-Level II fieldwork students.
Collaboration is a key element in the successful partnership between the OT and OTA for delivery of occupational therapy services. It is the responsibility of both OT and OTA to frequently communicate regarding the client status and ongoing treatment. The OT designs the program in collaboration with the OTA, which is then carried out by the OTA.
OT vs OTA: Legal and Professional difference –
- The basic difference is the educational level, to become an occupational therapist, one should have a master’s degree in occupational therapy or OTD (New entry level program) and after passing the licensure examination, one can practice as an Occupational Therapist (OT). While the entry level criteria for Occupational therapy Assistant are an Associate degree (2 years) after schooling, no bachelor degree requires. But, OTA also has to clear the licensure examination.
- As there is a difference in educational level, so the cost of education The total cost of OT degree would be around 80,000 to 100,000 USD. While for OTA the costing of education is less i.e., around 10,000 to 20,000 USD.
- The Difference in the responsibility – OT has to first evaluate the patient and set the goal. OT will be fully responsible for goal setting and intervention planning. Along with these, OT has to fill up the daily notes, progress notes, and discharge card. While OTA has to follow the treatment and goal plans set by an OT. After treatment OTA has to take a sign from the OT.
- The Difference in the salary – Average salary for the entry level OT would be around $60-70,000 and the average salary for the entry level OTA would be around $40-50,000.
|Master Degree or Doctorate degree
|Cost of Schooling
|Around 80,000 to 100,000 USD
Around 10,000 to 20,000 USD.
|Evaluation, Goal setting, Intervention planning.
|Follow Intervention plan
|Daily notes, Progress notes, Discharge notes
|Only daily notes
Occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant both are an integral part of an occupational therapy domain. OTA assists the OT in all therapeutic activities. OTA cut down the stress and responsibility of OT in a real sense.