As the demand for qualified healthcare workers continues to steadily rise, so does the need for quality graduates from allied healthcare institutions like occupational therapy schools.

According to the California Employment Development Department, EDD, the overall employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 24% and 31% for occupational therapy assistants from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The department is confident that occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities.

What’s the difference between an OT and an OTA?

OTs and OTAs both work closely with clients of all ages, from children to the elderly. Both roles can work in a wide variety of settings: From nursing care facilities, rehabilitation centers, outpatient and community clinics, home care services, hospitals, and school systems. However, there are a few differences between the two roles.

Occupational Therapists create treatment plans, while OTAs do not. However, OTAs work closely with Occupational Therapists to develop and execute treatment plans for their clients. OTAs work with children who suffer from developmental disabilities such as autism, and fragile X, helping them promote coordination and socialization. OTAs work with adults and the elderly for a variety of medical conditions including stroke, traumatic injuries, respiratory diseases, arthritis, mental illness, and Alzheimer’s disease. OTAs also support clients who have completed surgery or who are recovering from an illness in hospitals to help them relearn or restore their ability to do basic tasks essential for everyday life (or to compensate for lost capabilities).

Another difference between OTs and OTAs is OTAs have more one-on-one time and connection with clients, less paperwork, and can directly impact their clients’ progress from start to finish.

Whichever path you choose – Occupational Therapist (OT) or Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) – is an admirable and rewarding one. With a solid education, you’ll be able to pursue your passion for helping people of all ages live happy and healthy lives.

If you are considering a career as an Occupational Therapist (OT) or Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA), one of the best occupational therapy schools you can apply to is Stanbridge University. There you will receive expertly guided, hands-on training from the program’s start to the final licensure exam via mentorship and tutoring, subject-specific reviews, and more.

Students in an OTA program can complete an associate’s degree in 23-24 months or an estimated two years at an occupational therapy school like Stanbridge University, while master’s degree programs for OT require a base bachelor’s degree to apply. A master’s degree will take another estimated two years to complete. Stanbridge University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration program and a Master’s in Occupational Therapy degree program – a pathway many OTA graduates take if they want the option to elevate their career.

At Stanbridge University, students learn essential skills in over 10 on-campus labs – providing unparalleled hands-on learning in real-life scenarios, such as working with special needs children in therapy skills labs. Intimate, small classroom environments allow students to have access to critical training and guidance throughout every step of the learning process and access to synthetic cadavers and virtual reality learning through cutting-edge labs gives students the opportunity to immerse themselves in anatomy with the help of over 1,000 3D holographic models. High-fidelity patient simulators help OT and OTA students with real-world scenarios for both mental health assessments and adaptations to hospital settings.

Discover more about one of the best OTA Programs in California! Check out Stanbridge University’s Occupational Therapy and Occupational Therapy Assistant programs here.

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