An occupational therapist is someone who cares for those who struggle to care for themselves, including tasks like cooking, transportation and companionship. The job requires plenty of empathy and compassion and is a calling for many people.
If you feel that occupational therapy might be a career you want to pursue, it makes sense to investigate the steps to getting there and learning as much about the profession as possible. This guide should help you decide if getting started is your next big step.
Earn Your Associate’s Degree
The first step you’ll take in the journey to becoming an occupational therapist is to earn your associate’s degree. While you may need to pursue an advanced degree at some point, an associate’s degree allows you to get started as an occupational therapy assistant while you pursue your higher education. You’ll take courses in biology, pediatrics, anatomy, physiology, geriatrics and physical health theory. These will prepare you for the work you’ll eventually be doing.
Sit for the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Exam
Once you complete your degree, you’ll need to take the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam. The test consists of 200 multiple choice questions and a passing grade must be obtained to earn your certificate. Once you pass the exam, you’ll get your certificate and a card for your wallet declaring that you are certified to be an occupational therapy assistant.