Occupational Therapy Assistant Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

An Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA), or Physiotherapy Assistant, works under the direction of an Occupational Therapist to help solve physical challenges that patients have with daily activities. Their duties include helping to assess patients’ physical abilities during day-to-day tasks, implementing the prescribed treatment plan developed by an Occupational Therapist, and providing additional training and education to patients and the community in which they work.

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Occupational Therapy Assistant duties and responsibilities

An Occupational Therapy Assistant works closely with an Occupational Therapist and provides the treatment and therapy as outlined. They work independently by following the treatment plan or within a team of other health care providers. Their essential duties and responsibilities include:

  • Understanding and implementing the treatment plan set out by the Occupational Therapist
  • Establishing a positive working relationship with patients
  • Observing and monitoring the patient’s performance and progress
  • Managing equipment, supplies, and inventory
  • Providing education and training to patients, family members, and caretakers
  • Providing detailed and accurate patient records
  • Maintaining patient and personal safety at all times during treatment
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Occupational Therapy Assistant Job Description Examples:


Example 1

*Physiotherapy Assistant/Occupational Therapy Assistant (PTA/OTA)* *Ocean View Continuing Care Centre* in Eastern Passage, NS, Canada *Facility: * Ocean View Continuing Care Centre *Location: * Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia *Job Category: * Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Healthcare *Position Available: * *Three (3) Temporary Full-Time 1.0 FTE (9 month term)* *Facility Description: * Ocean View is a Community Governed organization that operates a 171 bed Continuing Care Centre, an active Foundation, and has services that support seniors that live at home and in our community. Our vision is to be the “community of choice” for Nova Scotians needing support in a place they call home. Ocean View is committed to the highest standards of support and services and promotes a healthy workplace for its 320 staff. The organization fosters a healthy work-life balance and uses the latest best practice information at all levels. Fully accredited by Accreditation Canada since [phone number]the organizations commitment to excellence is unsurpassed. *Job Summary: * Under the direction of the Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist, the PTA/OTA assists the Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist with treatment and education, maintains treatment and storage areas, checks and cleans equipment, and assists with staff education programs. The PTA/OTA is responsible for specific resident care activities and education programs commensurate with their specific training and certification. * * Graduate of a recognized Physiotherapy Assistant / Occupational Therapist Assistant Program * Previous experience as a PTA/OTA an asset; experience in a long-term care facility preferred * Ability to communicate well with residents, their families and staff * Ability to follow instructions and complete assigned work in an organized manner * Co-operative with good interpersonal skills *Ocean View Continuing Care Centre Offers: * * Free Parking & on a Bus Route * Comprehensive Benefits Package * Comprehensive Orientation * A supportive work environment *Salary Range: *In accordance with current Collective Agreement between Ocean View and C.U.P.E. Local [phone * May be changed as necessary to ensure coverage. *Please be aware that OVCCC is a pet friendly environment that is home to several animals including cats, birds, and rabbits.* Contract length: 9 months Job Types: Full-time, Temporary Benefits: * Employee assistance program * On-site parking * Paid time off Work remotely: * No

What does an Occupational Therapy Assistant do?

The role of an Occupational Therapy Assistant is to support an Occupational Therapist in helping patients with physical, sensory, or cognitive problems. This includes aspects of personal care, productivity, and leisure activities. All of their job-related competencies are directly related to supporting the treatment and care provided by an Occupational Therapist. An Occupational Therapy Assistant provides hands-on patient care and service to facilitate treatment and rehabilitation.

Occupational Therapy Assistant skills and qualifications

Working with a diverse group of people with various physical limitations, an Occupational Therapy Assistant requires patience, understanding, and compassion. Having a friendly and calm demeanor is an essential skill of any successful OTA. Some of the critical skills and qualifications of an Occupational Therapy Assistant may include:

  • Seeking appropriate consultation from an Occupational Therapist when needed
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills with the ability to communicate with a diverse population
  • Advocating for the role of occupational therapy to help improve the lives of patients
  • Willingness to provide a high level of client service to all demographics
  • A desire to help others with compassion and empathy

Occupational Therapy Assistant experience requirements

Occupational Therapy Assistant candidates need to have one to two years of experience working in occupational therapy or physical therapy roles. Entry-level candidates may not have professional occupational therapy experience but should be able to demonstrate experience in occupational therapy from intern and volunteer positions. Ideally, an Occupational Therapy Assistant candidate will have experience working with the types of patients required by the role, such as the elderly or veterans. 

Occupational Therapy Assistant education and training requirements

In Canada, the role of an Occupational Therapy Assistant is not regulated. This means that there is no official education or licence required for candidates. However, most OTA jobs require candidates to have completed an accredited two-year Occupational Therapy Assistant program at a college or vocational school. Some roles may require candidates to have specific education and training depending on the work environment such as CPR and first aid. Additional on-going training can be gained on the job. 

Occupational Therapy Assistant salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary of an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Canada is $68,953 per year, depending on factors like experience, education, location, and company.

Job description samples for similar positions

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Occupational Therapy Assistant job description FAQs

How can you make your Occupational Therapy Assistant job description stand out?

Consider including information about your company and the culture, values, and vision for patient care. Include information about the types of patients that the Occupational Therapy Assistant will be working with and any special treatments they may be expected to provide. Also include details about the Occupational Therapists they’ll be working with, including details about their specializations.

What is the difference between an Occupational Therapy Assistant and a Physical Therapy Assistant?

A Physical Therapy Assistant works under the direction of a Physical Therapist. Their role is to help with the physical rehabilitation of injuries, surgical recovery, and physical disorders. Their primary focus is to help improve the physical movement of the patient’s body.

An Occupational Therapy Assistant works under the direction of an Occupational Therapist. Their role is to improve a patient’s day-to-day ability to care for themselves and live independently. For example, an OTA will work with a patient on the physical skills to get dressed or feed themselves.

What qualities make for a good Occupational Therapy Assistant?

A successful OTA focuses on the patient. They strive to provide the highest quality of service and care to everyone they help. They are friendly and offer positive reinforcement. An Occupational Therapy Assistant is patient and versatile, willing to try a different approach or method to assist the patient they are treating successfully.

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