OT Technician: Pathways, Salary, Skills, Opportunities

Occupational Therapy Technician Career Guide

1. Career Path for OT Technicians: A Step-by-Step Guide

Occupational therapy (OT) technicians assist occupational therapists in providing rehabilitative services to patients with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities. The typical career path involves the following steps:

OT Technician:  A healthcare professional who assists in surgical operations by preparing and maintaining the operating room and ensuring the availability of equipment and supplies.

  1. Earn a high school diploma or GED.
  2. Complete a certificate or associate's degree program in occupational therapy assisting or a related field.
  3. Obtain the necessary certification or licensure required in your state to practice as an OT technician or assistant.
  4. Gain hands-on experience through internships or entry-level positions in healthcare facilities, rehabilitation centers, or occupational therapy clinics.
  5. Explore opportunities for career advancement, such as becoming a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) or pursuing additional education to become an occupational therapist.
  6. Consider specializing in a particular area of occupational therapy, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or mental health.

2. Qualifications for Becoming an OT Technician: Education and Skills Required


  • High school diploma or GED
  • Certificate or associate's degree in occupational therapy assisting or a related field

Essential Skills:

  • Knowledge of occupational therapy principles and practices
  • Proficiency in using assistive devices and adaptive equipment
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Patience and empathy when working with patients
  • Attention to detail and ability to follow instructions
  • Physical stamina for assisting patients with exercises and activities
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills

3. OT Technician Salary Trends: What to Expect in This Career

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for occupational therapy assistants, which includes OT technicians, was $61,880 in 2021. However, salaries can vary based on factors such as experience, education, industry, and geographic location. Generally, OT technicians working in hospitals, nursing homes, or specialized facilities tend to earn higher salaries.

4. Top Books for Aspiring OT Technicians: Resources to Get Started

  1. "Introduction to Occupational Therapy" by Jane Clifford O'Brien and Gail Solomon (Link)
  2. "Occupational Therapy Toolkit: Treatment Guides and Handouts" by Cheryl Hall McGuire and Christian Zundel (Link)
  3. "The Occupational Therapy Assistant's Manual for Treatment of the Physically Disabled" by Mindy L. Sheldon (Link)
  4. "Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process" by the American Occupational Therapy Association (Link)

5. Essential Syllabus and Topics for OT Technicians: What You Need to Learn

A typical occupational therapy assistant or technician program may cover the following topics:

  • Principles and foundations of occupational therapy
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Therapeutic interventions and techniques
  • Assistive technology and adaptive equipment
  • Patient assessment and documentation
  • Ethics and professional standards
  • Therapeutic communication and interpersonal skills
  • Clinical practice and fieldwork experience

6. How to Become an OT Technician: A Comprehensive Guide

For detailed information on becoming an OT technician, you can refer to the following resources:

7. Best OT Technician Programs, Certifications, and Colleges: Where to Study

  • Certificate and associate's degree programs in occupational therapy assisting are offered at community colleges and technical schools, such as St. Louis Community College (Link) and Southern Maine Community College (Link).
  • The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) offers the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) certification (Link).
  • Some states require OT technicians or assistants to obtain a license or certification from the state board or regulatory agency.

8. Applying for Jobs as an OT Technician: Tips and Strategies to Get Hired

  • Highlight your occupational therapy education, certifications, and any relevant clinical experience in your resume.
  • Obtain the necessary certifications or licenses required in your state to practice as an OT technician or assistant.
  • Develop a strong network within the healthcare industry by attending job fairs, joining professional organizations like AOTA, and connecting with professionals on LinkedIn.
  • Tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job requirements and emphasize your patient care skills, attention to detail, and ability to work as part of a healthcare team.
  • Be prepared to undergo background checks and drug screenings, as many healthcare facilities have strict hiring policies.
  • Consider starting in entry-level positions or internships to gain practical experience before pursuing more advanced roles.

By following these steps and utilizing the provided resources, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to pursue a rewarding career as an occupational therapy technician.