Find the Best Occupational Therapy Assistant Jobs (2019)
I have already written an article about how to find the perfect occupational therapy job—but, frankly, it’s a little harder to find good information about finding occupational therapy assistant (OTA) jobs.
That’s why I wrote this article—so you would have a one-stop resource to help you land the OTA job of your dreams!
Each year, we update this COTA job search guide to help you find the best occupational therapy job for you.
We’ll help you find a wide variety of OTA jobs, including:
At the end of the guide, we’ll give some tips on actually landing these jobs! Good luck!
Job boards for a local OTA search
You’ll find that some OTA jobs are cross-posted on multiple platforms, but I still recommend exploring each job site separately so you don’t miss anything. Here’s a quick run-down of what makes each job platform unique.
Indeed - Indeed is an extremely popular website that boasts the largest overall number of OTA jobs, so it’s a great place to start your search. The main drawback is that you’re competing with lots of other candidates because of the site’s popularity. For this reason, be selective and apply for the newest jobs whenever possible.
Glassdoor - Glassdoor is a website with a nice volume of jobs, but its special sauce is providing crowd-sourced interview questions, company reviews, salary estimates, and other information related to various organizations. This allows you to learn more about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the company—and the role itself—before you apply.
SimplyHired - SimplyHired is a centralized platform that amalgamates listings from other job sites. A nice feature is that you can view shared Facebook and LinkedIn connections on SimplyHired, enabling you to quickly reach out if you find a mutual contact.
Monster - Monster is only slightly less popular than Indeed. It has a great mobile interface, as well as helpful career-related content on the website.
CareerBuilder - CareerBuilder’s main benefit is that employers are required to pay to post jobs; this means there’s more likelihood that the company is actually interested in finding an external candidate, rather than simply posting the job as part of a protocol.
LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a robust social networking platform with a built-in job search engine. Once you find a job that interests you, you can see who in your network is connected with the company––and you can reach out to those people directly through the platform for more information.
Chronicle Vitae and Higher Ed - If you’re looking for roles academia, two great websites to explore are Chronicle Vitae and Higher Ed. Keep in mind that many higher education roles will require a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, even if they consider assistants.
Facebook groups for OTA jobs
The Occupational Therapy Job Seekers Facebook Group - I started this group in conjunction with OT Potential as a place for people to post jobs and ask job-hunting questions. OTAs will find plenty of roles across the US in this quickly growing Facebook group.
Pediatric OT Jobs Facebook Group - With over 7,000 members (at the time of this article’s most recent update), this peds-specific group is a great place to find OTA roles where you’ll work with kiddos.
Networking for finding OTA jobs
Networking is truly one of the best ways to land an OTA job that you love.
I recommend that you maintain ties with former classmates and colleagues, and reach out to OTAs and other health care professionals employed at facilities that interest you.
Networking can enable you to learn about jobs before they officially open, which gives you an edge in the application process. Don’t discount the power of networking both in person and online; I've landed an interview through a Facebook message exchange!
Find traveling OTA positions
Yes, occupational therapy assistants can travel! And they can make a good living in the process, so if you’re the type who enjoys change and craves seeing the country, travel can be a great choice for you. Keep in mind that finding travel OTA jobs might be a bit more challenging than finding travel OT jobs—but the roles ARE out there!
Travel OTAs should really look more for the right recruiter, rather than the right job. That’s because a good recruiter is key to finding those good jobs—plus, you won’t have much time or desire to screen jobs when you’re busy living the traveler life!
If you’re not sure if travel therapy is right for you, check out my interview about life as traveling occupational therapist with Emily Butler, OTD.
Another great resource for travel OTAs is the Travel Therapists Facebook Group. This supportive community boasts nearly 10,000 members at the time of this article’s latest update. Here are some of the travel companies I see mentioned regularly.
Just let Nomadicare do all of the vetting for you!
As much as I’ve gushed over the benefits of travel, it CAN be a bit scary at the beginning. The industry is known to be somewhat shady, and some recruiters see you as a cash cow, rather than a human being who deserves to be placed in roles that won’t suck you dry.
I am so grateful to know Laura Latimer, OTR/L, who has been working for years to improve the transparency of the travel industry. She created Nomadicare, an organization that matches travelers with carefully vetted recruiters.
Find non-traditional OTA jobs
There’s no law saying that you need to treat patients until you retire. OTAs have several options for working in the healthcare space without the physical burden of direct patient care.
If you’re interested in what else you can do with your OTA background, check out my post, Your Guide to Non-Traditional OT Jobs.
One thing to keep in mind about non-traditional OTA jobs is that they can be a little elusive, and some of them do require a bachelor’s degree. You might need to do some digging to locate the ones that are right for you. That said, here are a few non-clinical job titles that frequently go to OTAs. To narrow your results, I strongly recommend you include “COTA” or “OTA” in your search queries when you look for these jobs!
Director of Rehabilitation
DME Sales Representative
Clinical Support Coordinator
OTAs can also teach at the assistant level in the occupational therapy world. There are varying regulations per state, so definitely check with your state board for your own state’s requirements. However, generally speaking, a bachelor’s degree (master’s preferred), NBCOT registration, state licensure, and 3-5 years of clinical experience are the minimum to become an instructor at the OTA level.
If you’re serious about finding non-clinical work, I also recommend exploring The Non-Clinical PT, which contains tons of great info to help rehab professionals (including OTAs) transition out of patient care and into non-traditional roles.
The Non-Clinical PT also runs these free Facebook Groups:
Non-Clinical Networking for Rehab Professionals welcomes PT, OT, and SLP professionals (including assistants) to join and connect, collaborate, and help each other “go non-clinical.”
Non-Clinical Job Postings for Rehab Professionals publishes three non-clinical healthcare jobs every weekday, and also welcomes therapy professionals (yes, including assistants) to join the group.
Find telehealth/teletherapy OTA jobs
Whether you have health issues, live in a saturated market, or simply are intrigued by the idea of telehealth, remote occupational therapy (also called telehealth OT) is gaining traction these days.
You can either serve clients in remote portions of your state, or apply for a license in a state where there is a need, but you do need to be licensed where you live and where you are providing therapy.
You may also need to have experience in pediatrics, though adult teletherapy is on the rise.
You may also need to have experience in pediatrics, though adult teletherapy is on the rise. While some companies only hire OTs, quite a few do hire OTAs to perform teletherapy.
Here are some of the teletherapy companies that hire OTAs:
Creating the perfect OTA resume and cover letter for the job
I would also like to caution you against using the same exact OTA resume for every job you pursue. It’s always wise to tailor your resume to the job at hand, so you can illustrate specifically how you’re a great match for the role.
If you’re already squirming inside because you know your resume could use some work, don’t worry; I’ve got you covered! I created this article on How to Make Your OT Resume Stand Out to provide some pointers on how to create a stellar occupational therapy resume.
You might also want to check out the website DIY Career Docs, which was created by a PT who also has extensive training in resume writing.
I’ve also included my occupational therapy resume below, as well as a sample OT cover letter and sample reference list.
Interviewing for OTA jobs
I am always so nervous before job interviews, and that’s why I created the article Nail Your Occupational Therapy Job Interview; it has plenty of great tips that will help OTs and OTAs alike!
Negotiating Your OTA Salary
I am a firm believer that you should always try to negotiate your salary. Most employers expect you to do a little negotiation, and they will often offer you a salary that they expect to bump up a bit.
It’s important to note that your location, experience, setting/patient population will definitely affect the salary you’re offered. When you receive your job offer, do some digging to explore whether the salary is in line with what you’d expect for someone with a similar level of experience in your location.
This article is quite comprehensive, but I realize that the OTA job market is always in flux, which is why I plan to update this article on a regular basis.
In the meantime, please drop me a message by using the chat box in the lower right corner of this article if you see anything that needs attention!
Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of ZipRecruiter and Nomdicare. When you utilize these links, you are supporting the creation of more content that is carefully crafted to empower occupational therapy practitioners!