If you are considering a career in occupational therapy, you may be surprised to know that there are quite a number of different options open to you once you get your COTA, or certified occupational therapist's assistant qualification. This is also sometimes called a certified occupational therapy assistant. Essentially, occupational therapy jobs involve assessing and treating both physical and psychiatric conditions, using the sort of activity that will improve the patient's ability to live a more normal life, and carry out daily tasks that most of us take for granted.
COTAs work under the supervision of an occupational therapist, assisting them in their work and providing information and feedback on the diagnosis and progress of each patient to whom they are assigned. They may be involved in an initial diagnosis, both in terms of interviewing and testing the patient for levels of ability, both physical and mental, and report the results of the interview and/or tests to their supervising therapist.
COTAs work both in hospitals, clinics and in patients' homes, depending on what is needed and what both the patient and the therapist think is the best option. They may work with adults, seniors, or children and the condition may be the result of accident or disease, or one that the patient is born with. There are opportunities available all over the US, and the world, in which a COTA can gain valuable experience in a wide variety of fields, so you don't need to pick one area and specialize in it until you have tried as many situations as you feel you need.
You can also travel widely, if you are interested in the opportunity to do so. If you choose a good employment agency, such as Foundation, you will find work is regularly available, and your personal agent will find exactly the sort of occupational therapy jobs you are looking for. It is also a high priority to ensure that your personal development matches the career progression for which you are looking. For example, taking temporary occupational therapy jobs in a wide variety of hospitals or clinics will look good later for a permanent job in a hospital, where your experience in multiple situations will be a highly valued commodity.
On the other hand, if you prefer working in a patient's home, after a number of occupational therapy jobs doing just this, you will have a large body of experience of dealing with patients in different situations and home environments that you can draw on both in future jobs and in interviews for longer term employment contracts.
Whatever you're after in your career in occupational therapy, jobs are certain to be available over the next decade, and probably longer, especially if the population continues to age. Becoming a COTA is the perfect way to start. Foundation is the perfect agency to kick-start your career.