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Occupational Therapist Aides

At a Glance

  • Have a high level of social interaction
  • Most work full time
  • Work closely with patients and healthcare workers
  • Receive on-the-job training

Career summary

Occupational therapist aides track patients progress towards therapeutic goals. They monitor living skills to help people with disabilities adapt to work and home life.

Occupational therapist aides monitor patients' progress. They encourage patients to meet their therapeutic goals. They report to occupational therapists about patients' attendance, attitude, and accomplishments. Sometimes they help patients work on work assignments or craft projects.

Occupational therapist aides maintain work areas and prepare them for appointments. They help transport patients to and from occupational therapy areas. Aides instruct patients and families in work, social and living skills. They teach patients how to use adaptive eqiupment to facilitate home and work adjustment to disability. 

Occupational therapist aides assess the living skills of people who are disabled: 

Related careers

This career is part of the Health Science cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to occupational therapist aides.

Common work activities

Occupational therapist aides perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, occupational therapist aides:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Occupational therapist aides frequently:

It is important for occupational therapist aides to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for occupational therapist aides to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Occupational therapist aides need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study to consider


To work as an occupational therapist aide, you typically need to:

Education after high school

No formal training is required beyond high school although occupational therapist aides often need certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic life support (BLS).

Work experience

Volunteering with an occupational or physical therapist is good preparation.

On-the-job training

Most aides receive on-the-job training that can last from several days to a few weeks. During training, you learn how to care for patients and assist patients with exercises.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum (external link) may be different from your state's graduation requirements (external link).

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Occupational therapist aides (SOC 31-2012)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $11.99 $14.80 $27.22 $32.84 $37.21
Monthly $2,078 $2,565 $4,717 $5,691 $6,448
Yearly $24,940 $30,790 $56,620 $68,310 $77,400
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $12.45 $26.43 $30.90 $35.74 $39.17
Monthly $2,158 $4,580 $5,355 $6,194 $6,788
Yearly $25,897 $54,968 $64,276 $74,346 $81,472
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $12.65 $13.89 $16.27 $18.05 $19.11
Monthly $2,192 $2,407 $2,820 $3,128 $3,312
Yearly $26,314 $28,886 $33,838 $37,544 $39,761
United States Hourly $8.78 $10.38 $13.54 $17.93 $28.20
Monthly $1,522 $1,799 $2,346 $3,107 $4,887
Yearly $18,260 $21,590 $28,160 $37,290 $58,660

Wages vary by employer and area of the country. Wages also vary based on level of education and experience.

Benefits vary by employer. Most full-time occupational therapist aides receive benefits. These include paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance. Many part-time aides do not receive benefits.

Employment and outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Occupational Therapist Aides (SOC 31-2012)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 211 14.2% 16.1% 33
    Benton and Franklin Counties 12 58.3% 15.0% 3
    King County 88 11.4% 19.6% 13
    Pierce County 16 6.3% 15.2% 2
    Snohomish County 21 0.0% 12.4% 2
    Spokane County 21 42.9% 13.9% 5
United States 7,900 19.0% 5.2% 1,100

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will grow significantly. This is due to the increase in aging population. Occupational therapy aides will be needed to help occupational therapists care for an increasing number of patients.

Competition for occupational therapy aide positions will be strong since requirements for entry are low and there is a large pool of qualified people. However, aides with experience working in an occupational therapy office or other healthcare setting should have the best job opportunities.

Other resources

American Occupational Therapy Association (external link)
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (external link)
One Bank Street, Suite 300
Gaithersburg, MD 20878


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupation

Holland occupational cluster