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formerly RE 10-23-09 03:54 AM

Occupational therapy/ COTA certification
I'm thinking about a career change. I've been looking into getting certified as an occupational therapy assistant. The research I've done indicates that I can make a similar, if not better wage, than I'm getting as 10+ year teacher. The big obstacle is the cost of schooling. So I'm trying to weigh out some financial pros and cons.

Does anyone out there have any information about this certification/ career path? I hear it's different in different areas of the country, too.

RUOkie 10-24-09 01:43 PM

2 years schooling if you already have a degree (which as a teacher, you do). In most states you need to have the supervision of a OTR which means: The OTR does the evaluations and treatment plan, and then the COTA can treat for (usually) 2 weeks, when the OTR needs to reevaluate the patient.

There is certainly a big need in most parts of the USA, salary range from 40-75K USD depending upon benefits, hours and location. Here in OK some COTA's are making that higher number in the real rural areas.

The problems are, when hospital census is low, you will be flexed off (without pay!). The higher paying jobs also sometimes include manditory overtime.

Finally, most COTAs and OTRs are working with patients with significant disabilities, and burnout is a definite career risk. I would estimate (this is a personal estimate-with NO statistical backup) that the burnout rate approaches 30-40% at 10 years. On the flipside, working with this patient population can be VERY rewarding, and some people absolutely love it (I do!)

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