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Career profile Occupational Therapy Aide

Also known as Certified Occupational Rehabilitation Aide (CORA), Direct Service Professional (DSP), Direct Support Professional (DSP), Occupational Rehabilitation Aide, Occupational Therapist Aide (OT Aide), Occupational Therapy Aide (OT Aide), Rehabilitation Aide (Rehab Aide), Rehabilitation Services Aide, Restorative Aide

Occupational Therapy Aide

Also known as Certified Occupational Rehabilitation Aide (CORA), Direct Service Professional (DSP), Direct Support Professional (DSP)

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$20,010 - $58,800 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Service Orientation
  • Speaking
  • Social Perceptiveness
Knowledge Areas
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Psychology
Core tasks
  • Encourage patients and attend to their physical needs to facilitate the attainment of therapeutic goals.
  • Report to supervisors or therapists, verbally or in writing, on patients' progress, attitudes, attendance, and accomplishments.
  • Evaluate the living skills and capacities of physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabled clients.
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What does an Occupational Therapy Aide do?

Occupational Therapy Aides under close supervision of an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations.

In addition, Occupational Therapy Aides these duties include preparing patient and treatment room.

What kind of tasks does an Occupational Therapy Aide perform regularly?

Occupational Therapy Aides are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Encourage patients and attend to their physical needs to facilitate the attainment of therapeutic goals.
  • Report to supervisors or therapists, verbally or in writing, on patients' progress, attitudes, attendance, and accomplishments.
  • Observe patients' attendance, progress, attitudes, and accomplishments and record and maintain information in client records.
  • Prepare and maintain work area, materials, and equipment and maintain inventory of treatment and educational supplies.
  • Transport patients to and from the occupational therapy work area.
  • Instruct patients and families in work, social, and living skills, the care and use of adaptive equipment, and other skills to facilitate home and work adjustment to disability.
  • Assist occupational therapists in planning, implementing, and administering therapy programs to restore, reinforce, and enhance performance, using selected activities and special equipment.
  • Demonstrate therapy techniques, such as manual and creative arts and games.
  • Manage intradepartmental infection control and equipment security.
  • Perform clerical, administrative, and secretarial duties, such as answering phones, restocking and ordering supplies, filling out paperwork, and scheduling appointments.
  • Supervise patients in choosing and completing work assignments or arts and crafts projects.
  • Adjust and repair assistive devices and make adaptive changes to other equipment and to environments.

The above responsibilities are specific to Occupational Therapy Aides. More generally, Occupational Therapy Aides are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

What is an Occupational Therapy Aide salary?

The median salary for an Occupational Therapy Aide is $30,180, and the average salary is $34,160. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Occupational Therapy Aide salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Occupational Therapy Aides earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Occupational Therapy Aides earn less than $20,010 per year, 25% earn less than $23,130, 75% earn less than $39,120, and 90% earn less than $58,800.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Occupational Therapy Aides is expected to change by 20.7%, and there should be roughly 900 open positions for Occupational Therapy Aides every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$20,010 - $58,800
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Occupational Therapy Aides?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Occupational Therapy Aide are usually higher in their Social and Realistic interests.

Occupational Therapy Aides typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Occupational Therapy Aides typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Occupational Therapy Aide tend to value Relationships, Support, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Occupational Therapy Aides strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Occupational Therapy Aides strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Occupational Therapy Aides moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Occupational Therapy Aides must consistently demonstrate qualities such as cooperation, concern for others, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Occupational Therapy Aides, ranked by importance:

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Job requires being honest and ethical.

What education and training do Occupational Therapy Aides need?

Occupational Therapy Aides often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Occupational Therapy Aides usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Occupational Therapy Aides

  • 2.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 12.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 16.0% completed some college coursework
  • 48.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 16.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 4.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Occupational Therapy Aides

Occupational Therapy Aides may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as therapy and counseling, customer and personal service, or psychology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Occupational Therapy Aides might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Therapy and Counseling
Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Occupational Therapy Aides

Occupational Therapy Aides must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Occupational Therapy Aides need abilities such as oral comprehension, problem sensitivity, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Occupational Therapy Aides, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

Critical Skills needed by Occupational Therapy Aides

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Occupational Therapy Aides frequently use skills like service orientation, speaking, and social perceptiveness to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Occupational Therapy Aides, ranked by their relative importance.

Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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