The average Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant in the United States earns approximately $25.73 per hour. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is residence, followed by career length and the individual firm. Work is enjoyable for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Although the larger part have medical coverage and a majority have dental coverage, just under a third claim no health benefits at all. Women make up the vast majority of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (89 percent) who answered the questionnaire. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$30,715 - $61,408
(Median)
$31K
$46K
$61K
MEDIAN: $46,382
10%
50%
90%

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$19.51 - $34.19
(Median)
$20
$26
$34
MEDIAN: $25.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$24K$48K$72K
Salary
$30,715 - $61,408  
   
Bonus
$191.68 - $3,059  
Profit Sharing
$2,650  
Commission
$1,000  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$38,830 - $70,717  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 747
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$17$34$51
Hourly Rate
$19.51 - $34.19  
   
Hourly Tips
$2.50  
Overtime
$25.57 - $49.41  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$191.68 - $3,059  
   
Commission
$1,000  
Profit Sharing
$2,650  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$38,830 - $70,717  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 4,228
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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.

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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)


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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

National Average: $52,886

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that 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.

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) Reviews

What is it like working as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)?

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) in Utica:
"Rewarding."
Pros: Helping people do their daily routines without the stress being involved. Helping them overcome the toughest thing they would have to encounter in their lives. Being taught all over again.
Cons: The least thing I like is when people struggle and become frustrated. I know it's only a matter of time before they achieve their goal. I can see the finish line but they get discouraged.

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) in Bellport:
"Rewarding."
Pros: I enjoy working with patients and seeing their progress from dependent to independent. The staff that I work with all have a great sense of humor which is important to have when working long hours as well as making therapy fun for the patients.
Cons: There are large gaps in pay scales with COTAs depending on the year you were hired. Some COTAs make over $30-35 and I make $24.48 an hour. I don't like how only one therapist from each discipline can take off even if it's a holiday. My job also is $100% productive so paperwork is on your own time.

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) in Brookhaven:
"Educational and rewarding experience."
Pros: I enjoy working within a positive and supportive environment where I can learn and grow as a health care provider. I have flexible hours, have a great boss, have great health benefits, computerized paperwork, great patients, and work in a beautiful gym in a beautiful facility.
Cons: I feel that I am underpaid by at least 8-10 dollars, unrealistic expectations of paperwork in the time allotted, have to be 100% productive which includes paperwork. You are only paid by the minutes you treat so if the census is low you will receive less pay.

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) in Louisville:
"Love It!"
Pros: I love working with people and making a difference in people's lives.
Cons: Fiscally demanding and mentally draining. The drive is getting old fast.

What is it like working as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) at Infinity Rehab?

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) in Colville:
"Work Flexibility."
Pros: I love the flexible schedule, it's a good working environment and I'm part of a good team, that works well together.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) Salaries




National Average
$53,000


Skills That Affect Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) Salaries




School Based
up arrow 6%


Orthopedics
up arrow 4%

Outpatient
up arrow 4%

Rehabilitation
up arrow 3%

Occupational Health
up arrow 2%

Acute Care
up arrow 1%

National Average
$53,000

Occupational therapy
up arrow 2%

hand therapy
up arrow 4%


Lymphedema
up arrow 14%

mental health
up arrow 19%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 412 votes.

Gender

Female
89 %
Male
11 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
14%
1-4 years
43%
5-9 years
16%
10-19 years
17%
20 years or more
10%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 67%
dental benefits
Dental: 57%
medical benefits
Vision: 47%
dental benefits
None: 30%
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