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What Does an Occupational Therapy Aide Do?

Written by Ashworth College on Friday, 05 March 2021. Posted in Career, Healthcare

Person doing physical therapy

Occupational therapy aides work with occupational therapists to help patients recover, improve, and maintain the skills they need for daily living and working. If you’re someone who enjoys helping others and want to pursue a career that’s in-demand, this could be the job for you! Here’s what you need to know about becoming an occupational therapy aide.

What are an occupational therapy aide’s duties?

Occupational therapy aides provide vital support to therapists and assistants in therapy offices, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. They are responsible for a variety of administrative and support tasks that keep the office or clinic running efficiently. These duties include:

  • Scheduling patient appointments
  • Completing billing and insurance paperwork for patients
  • Preparing treatment areas and setting up/breaking down therapy equipment
  • Transporting patients to therapy spaces
  • Ensuring facility inventory is well-stocked

As an occupational therapy aide, you’ll spend most of your time on your feet, going between the front and back offices. You will be involved in the behind-the-scenes work as well as front office duties. You’re often the first face a new patient sees, so play a huge part in ensuring that they’re confident and comfortable!

What skills should an occupational therapy aide have?

Most successful occupational therapy aides have certain skills that help them to best perform their duties. These skills include

  • Compassion. Unlike standard physical therapy, occupational therapy often involves helping patients learn how to complete basic life tasks. Compassion is important to ensure that each patient feels supported and that they can effectively receive treatment.
  • Adaptability. Every patient is different, so that means that everyone from the occupation therapist to the therapy aide must be able to adapt processes to each unique circumstance.
  • Written and verbal communication skills. Occupational therapy aides are the first face a patient may see in the office and they’re the ones that communicate with patients and their caregivers over the phone. Strong written and verbal communication skills are important to ensuring patients understand their tasks and are comfortable with their therapy.
  • Attention to detail. Since aides help patients with scheduling and insurance and billing paperwork, it’s important that they are detail oriented.
  • Physical ability. Occupational therapy aides are expected to set up and break down heavy therapy equipment and are often on their feet most of their shift. Being physically able to do so is important to doing the job well.

Besides these skills, occupational therapy aides should also have a familiarity with medical terminology, workplace safety, and treatment strategies.

What training does an occupational therapy aide need?

In order to become an occupational therapy aide, you need a high school diploma or equivalent, and receive on the job training. Without previous work experience in the field, it can also be helpful to have formal education in the role. Completing a career training program can help you prepare to be an effective therapy aide and help you stand out from other applicants. Through Ashworth College’s online Occupational Therapy Aide Career Diploma, you’ll cover the foundational skills that can help you prepare to be successful in the field, from customer service skills to understanding activities of daily living.

Prepare for an in-demand career with Ashworth College

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for skilled occupational therapy aides to grow by 32% in the next ten years, much higher than other professions. That means now is the best time to start preparing to work in the field! With our flexible, online courses, you can train to become an occupational therapy aide on your schedule, from home. Learn more about the program or enroll today by reaching out to our Admissions team at .

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