The position of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) entails the oversight, administration and assistance of occupational therapy activities. This position reports to and aids Registered Occupational Therapists in applying therapies and occupational therapy techniques for the purpose of rehabilitation of people with injuries and/or disabilities. Rehabilitative services may be physical, emotional, psychological or mental in nature, depending upon the need of the patients being served. Assistance and instruction directly to a patient and/or a patient's family may be required, so strong, professional and interpersonal skills are preferred. COTAs must be able to document, organize, sort and store information related to patient health, status and progress, as well as billing, schedules and other administrative documents and resources.
This job may involve physical assessment of patients and administration of therapies in various healthcare settings, including clinical, outpatient, or home environments (this may involve driving to and from a patient's home in order to meet his or her needs). In-home and off-site work will often require direct supervision by a Registered Occupational Therapist, but will sometimes include independent activity.
Background in physical therapy or applied kinesiology will be strongly beneficial. Certification must be assured for the completion of at least one of over 135 accredited occupational therapy assistant programs in the United States. Education requirements for this position will also involve at least an Associate’s degree in a field directly related to occupational therapy. Compensation will be determined based on both the individual and the requirements of the occupational therapy firm. Individual compensation will be evaluated based on their certification, level of training, experience and location.
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) Tasks
- Instruct patients and families in home programs, basic living skills and the care and use of adaptive equipment.
- Assist occupational therapists with implementing treatment plans designed to help patients function independently.
- Select therapy activities to fit patients' needs and capabilities, alter treatment programs as necessary.
- Observe and document patients' progress, attitudes and behavior and report to supervisor.
- Monitor and evaluate patients' performance in therapy activities and provide encouragement.