Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) Salary
Job Description for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)
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.Read More...
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.
Common Career Paths for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants who advance into the role of a Rehabilitation Director are fairly uncommon. Rehabilitation Directors on average earn $88K per year. Becoming an Occupational Therapist Assistant is, more often than not, the most common role that Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants move into when they're ready for the next step in their career. A median salary for an Occupational Therapist Assistant is $46K. Another frequent advance is for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants to assume a Senior Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant role; in this role, workers often take home $58K.
Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)
Aegis Therapies, Inc., RehabCare, Genesis HealthCare, Kindred Healthcare, and Life Care Centers of America are all popular places to work. Reliant Rehabilitation offers the best pay with a median salary of $62K, though salaries there don't seem that varied, bottoming out near $56K and maxing out at just $69K. Sava Senior Care, Rehab Group, and Genesis Group also offer top salaries for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants. Workers at these firms can expect to earn about $59K, $59K, and $59K, respectively.
Genesis Rehab Services offers the least pay with a median salary of $52K; furthermore, salaries there max out at only $60K. Also sliding in at the lower end of the scale are HCR ManorCare ($53K), Aegis Therapies, Inc. ($55K), and Select Rehabilitation, Inc. ($55K).
Popular Skills for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)
Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Home Health/Home Care, School Based, Geriatrics, and Patient Education are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts in pay of 7 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like mental health, Lymphedema, and Pediatrics. The majority of those who know Geriatrics also know Long Term Care.
Pay by Experience Level for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $51K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $56K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $60K. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn much more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts; the more senior group reports an average income of $61K.
Pay Difference by Location
San Diego is home to an above-average pay rate for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, 27 percent higher than the national average. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Dallas (+15 percent), Houston (+12 percent), Chicago (+9 percent), and Tampa (+6 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Pittsburgh, 13 percent below the national average. Cincinnati and Canton are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 4 percent lower and 3 percent lower, respectively.