occupational therapy aide working

What does a Occupational Therapy Aide do?

An occupational therapy aide supports an occupational therapist or the occupational therapist assistant. However, aide’s do not work directly with the patient. For example, they help set up equipment and do various clerical duties. Next, watch a video to learn what an occupational therapy aide does.

How to Become a Occupational Therapy Aide

You typically need a high school diploma or the equivalent. Additionally, prior experience in healthcare would be helpful as well as a CPR and basic life support (BLS) certificate. Normally, on-the-job training is given that can last from a few weeks up to a few months.

Job Description of a Occupational Therapy Aide

occupational therapy aide working

An occupational therapy aide is not typically directly involved with a patient, but performs activities of support under the supervision of an occupational therapists. Additionally, they prepare a patient’s treatment area and assemble or set up the therapy equipment. At times they may provide assistance to a therapist or assistant with contact guard or safety measures when patients are being transferred from wheelchairs, beds, therapy mats, or medical equipment.

When needed aides transport clients via wheelchair from one place of treatment to another of back to their room. They also clean all areas and equipment after the therapy session to prevent infection and transfer of diseases. Additionally, they perform clerical tasks such as filling out insurance forms, scheduling appointments, checking inventory, and answering phones when needed. An occupational therapy aide can be found working in offices, hospitals, care facilities, or some are employed in social assistance or educational services.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

The American Occupational Therapy Association has information on the Workforce Trends in Occupational Therapy that you may find useful.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Career Video Transcript

People who struggle to feed themselves, get dressed, learn and work, depend on occupational therapy assistants and aides to help them reach their goals. These professionals help patients gain skills and learn new ways to perform activities of daily living, whether at home, school, or work. Occupational therapy (or OT assistants) carry out treatment plans made by occupational therapists, treating patients from young children to older adults. They guide patients in the use of special equipment and teach new ways to approach tasks such as moving from bed to a wheelchair. Additionally, they document each step of patients’ progress and consult frequently with the OT.

Occupational therapy aides keep treatment areas clean, equipped, and ready for the next patient. They assist patients in moving to and from treatment areas, schedule appointments, and help patients fill out billing and insurance forms. Most assistants and aides work in occupational therapists’ offices, hospitals, and nursing care facilities. Both spend many hours a day on their feet, setting up equipment, bending, and lifting patients when necessary. Evening and weekend hours may be required.

Occupational therapy assistants need an associate’s degree from an accredited program and in most states, a license. Aides typically have a high school diploma or equivalent and are trained on the job. Helping restore meaningful activity to the lives of their patients provides a sense of purpose to OT aides and assistants.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides.

National Center for O*NET Development. 31-2012.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.