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The Difference Between an Occupational Therapy Assistant & a Physical Therapy Assistant

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Occupational therapists and physical therapists reply on assistants to help them implement the treatment plans for their patients. Such professionals are referred to as occupational therapists (OTAs) and physical therapy assistants (PTAs), respectively. Although they belong to the therapeutic branch of the health care industry, OTAs and PTAs do have their differences.

Role Differences

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The role of OTAs is wider than that of PTAs. PTAs help physical therapists in rehabilitating patients who are physically impaired. With OTAs and occupational therapists, however, they are not just concerned with physical impairments, but emotional, mental and developmental ones as well. This is why the work of OTAs is classified in occupational therapy, since the goal is to help impaired people to perform "occupations" or their day-to-day activities by themselves such as walking, bathing, going to work and exercising.

Occupational therapists and physical therapists reply on assistants to help them implement the treatment plans for their patients. Such professionals are referred to as occupational therapists (OTAs) and physical therapy assistants (PTAs), respectively. Although they belong to the therapeutic branch of the health care industry, OTAs and PTAs do have their differences.

Workplace

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about a third of OTAs and PTAs work in the private practices of occupational and physical therapists in 2009. However, other major employers included hospitals, nursing care facilities and home health care centers.

Occupational therapists and physical therapists reply on assistants to help them implement the treatment plans for their patients. Such professionals are referred to as occupational therapists (OTAs) and physical therapy assistants (PTAs), respectively. Although they belong to the therapeutic branch of the health care industry, OTAs and PTAs do have their differences.

Education and Certification

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Each OTA and PTA is required to have an associate degree in occupational therapy assisting and physical therapy assisting, respectively. These degrees can be earned from community colleges and technical schools in two years. OTA degree programs are required to be accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association's Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education in order for graduates to take a certification exam and become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants. The American Physical Therapy Association’s Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education accredits PTA degree programs, and graduates are required to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam.

Occupational therapists and physical therapists reply on assistants to help them implement the treatment plans for their patients. Such professionals are referred to as occupational therapists (OTAs) and physical therapy assistants (PTAs), respectively. Although they belong to the therapeutic branch of the health care industry, OTAs and PTAs do have their differences.

Salary

According to the BLS, OTAs made a mean annual salary of around $51,000 in 2009. The OTA median annual salary was around $50,000, with the bottom 10 percent making around $33,000 and the top 10 percent making around $68,000. For PTAs, the salary numbers were lower: mean annual salary stood at around $49,000, and the median annual salary was around $48,000, with the bottom 10 percent making around $30,000 and the top 10 percent making around $66,000.

Occupational therapists and physical therapists reply on assistants to help them implement the treatment plans for their patients. Such professionals are referred to as occupational therapists (OTAs) and physical therapy assistants (PTAs), respectively. Although they belong to the therapeutic branch of the health care industry, OTAs and PTAs do have their differences.

Job Outlook

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However, with more than two times as many PTAs as OTAs--the former numbered around 64,000 in 2009; the latter, around 27,000--the agency expects a 35 percent job growth for PTAs between 2008 and 2018, while that of OTAs is expected to be at 30 percent. Nevertheless, the job prospects for both professions is in excellent shape.

References

Resources

About the Author

Based in the D.C. area, Andy Joseph works full-time as a data analyst and technical writer. He has been writing articles about technology, health, politics, music, culture and automobiles since 2007. His work has appeared in The Express, Congressional Report and Road & Track. He has a master's degree in journalism and technology management.

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