Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) perform components of occupational therapy procedures and related tasks selected by a supervising occupational therapist. These workers help in the planning and implementing educational, vocational, and recreational programs designed to restore, reinforce, and enhance task performances, diminish or correct pathology, and to promote and maintain health and self-sufficiency.

  • Assists in the evaluation of patients’ daily living skills and capacities to determine extent of abilities and limitations
  • Instructs patients and families in home programs, basic living skills
  • Monitors patients’ rehabilitative activities to make sure they are performed correctly and provides encouragement
  • Teaches patients about the care and the use of adaptive equipment
  • Teaches basic living skills to institutionalized, mentally disabled adults
  • Aids patients in dressing and grooming themselves
  • Prepares materials and assembles equipment used during treatment
  • Keeps track of and documents patients’ progress, attitudes and behavior for the occupational therapist
  • Records patient health insurance bills
  • Performs clerical duties

The hours and days that Occupational Therapy Assistants work varies by assignment setting; evening and weekend work may be required in order to fit patient schedules. The job is physically demanding. Occupational Therapy Assistants are required to stand for long periods of time. They spend considerable time stooping, kneeling and crouching. A moderate degree of strength is required, as they assist with patient transfers and lifts or help them turn, stand or walk. So, to guard against back injury, OTAs must follow proper body mechanics and procedures for lifting/moving patients.

Education Requirements

  • Graduate of an accredited OTA program
  • Current OTA license, in good standing with the State licensing board
  • Cognitive skills as related to the position


Physical Requirements: 

  • Ability to lift fifty (50) pounds. Moving, lifting or transferring of patients may involve lifting of up to 100 pounds.  
  •  Ability to stand for extended periods  
  •  Fine motor skills  
  •  Visual acuity  

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to stand and talk or hear. The employee is frequently required to walk; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; and reach forward with hands and arms. The employee is occasionally required to sit and stoop, kneel, or crouch. The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus. Physical Demand Ratings are an estimate of the overall strength requirements that are considered to be important for an average, successful work performance of a specific job. In order to classify the occupation of a worker with a physical demand rating, the most strenuous and frequently performed tasks are evaluated. The overall physical demand rating for a job of the COTA falls within the Medium classification according to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. However, due to the population in contracted facilities, this position has been classified as Heavy (exerting 50 to 100 pounds of force occasionally, and/or 20 to 50 pounds of force frequently, and/or 10 to 20 pounds of force constantly to move objects.