Occupational Therapist Assistants (OTA) and Physical Therapist Assistants (PTA) assist licensed Occupational and Physical Therapists in providing rehabilitation services to clients. OTA’s and PTA’s are also called Rehab Assistants. Assistants work with people of all ages and with different health care needs. For example, an assistant may work with a client who has recently undergone orthopedic surgery, or with clients with neurological conditions such as a stroke or Parkinson’s disease. OTA’s and PTA’s also provide support services to the therapists by preparing treatment areas and maintaining inventory.
Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists have worked with assistants for many years. The role of the assistant is rapidly expanding and assistants are increasingly recognized as an essential part of the heath care team. Because of the expanding role and scope of the OT/PT Assistant practice, most employers now require formal college training for OT/PT Assistant positions.
Assistants work under the direction and supervision of an Occupational or Physical Therapist and may work anywhere where a PT or OT is employed. Presently, the majority of Assistants work in hospitals or long term care facilities. Some also work in private clinics or in community care.