(This blog post is part 1 of 4 in a short mini-series about Occupational Therapist)
While there are some differences between an Occupational Therapist (OT) and a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) there are much more similarities. OT’s and COTA’s work together as a team to make sure that a patient receives the best possible care and is provided with the tools to help them meet their goals and engage in meaningful occupations. OT’s are required to have a Master’s Degree, and COTA’s are required to have an Associate’s Degree. OT’s are involved in the process of evaluating a patient, establishing a plan of care, and setting goals for a patient. COTA’s take the information the OT gathered from the evaluation then plan and implement the patient’s treatment sessions in addition to working with patients on achieving their goals. OT’s and COTA’s work as a team to make sure every patient gets the help they need. Both OT’s & COTA’s are extensively trained and able to work with patients with all types of diagnoses and from different backgrounds.
It is important to note that:
- Both OT’s & COTA’s have attended a college, university, or institute and have received a degree as an OT or COTA.
- Both OT’s & COTA’s are trained and have received an education in working with the pediatric population.
- Both OT’s & COTA’s are trained and have received an education in working with diagnoses specific to the pediatric population.
- Both OT’s & COTA’s have had to take and pass a board exam regulated by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
- Both OT’s & COTA’s have to be licensed as an OT or COTA by the state they are working in (verifying they have graduated from an accredited program, have passed their board exam, and are in good legal standing).
- Both OT’s & COTA’s are required to attend continuing education classes to continue to learn about the pediatric population and to maintain their licensure.
Michael Jankowski, MS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapy Director