ota vs pta similarities and differences

Physical therapy and occupational therapy are just two of the many healthcare professions that allow you to work directly with patients; are you thinking about pursuing training as a PTA or OTA, but unsure which one to pick? Both assist patients in recovering from injuries and regaining or maintaining their independence, but despite some similarities, the objectives and exercises can differ between these two fields.

Knowing the differences will be essential in assisting you in making the best decision if you believe physical therapy or occupational therapy might be the right career choice for you. Learn more about what it entails to work as a PTA or an OTA by reading on.

Occupational therapy exercises place the emphasis on ensuring patients can carry out daily tasks, in contrast to physical therapy, which helps patients regain their mobility after accidents or injuries.

For instance, after an accident, physical therapist assistants can assist a person in regaining their ability to walk. The activities’ main goals are to facilitate the patient’s movement and reduce pain. Occupational therapy assistants, on the other hand, are more likely to focus on fine motor skills, assisting in making sure a patient can dress, eat, and engage in necessary daily activities.

While their objectives and methods may vary, PTAs and OTAs also carry out some similar tasks. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, work responsibilities for both roles include:

OTAs frequently work with children who have developmental or learning disabilities, while PTAs primarily assist those who are recovering from accidents or injuries. OTAs guide kids in games that encourage coordination and socialization. 2 These are intended to assist them in acquiring abilities they’ll need in daily life.

Training to become an occupational therapy assistant could be a rewarding and fulfilling career path if you enjoy working with children.

Both occupational and physical therapy are admirable professions to choose. Which one is best for you depends on what you would find most fulfilling personally. Online articles on the requirements for training as an assistant in occupational therapy or physical therapy are available.

Ontario Campus: Winner of the Readers’ Choice Award for Best Trade School in the 2022 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

OC Campus received the San Gabriel Valley Tribune Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite Career College in 2022.

They use different methods of treatment.

PTAs help patients regain muscle strength, range of motion, joint mobility and flexibility. OTAs help patients with therapy interventions, which includes activities of daily life (ADLs) or plans for patients to help them learn how to live a more independent life with confidence.

What’s the difference between an Occupational Therapy Assistant and a Physical Therapist Assistant?


PTAs and OTAs benefit from having the following skills:

Work environment

OTAs and PTAs share a similar work environment. Typically, they are employed by medical practices, nursing homes, hospitals, and facilities for home healthcare. Additionally, they both collaborate with other medical professionals like doctors, nurses, therapists, and others on a daily basis.


OTAs perform a variety of duties on a daily basis. Some of their responsibilities include:

Duties of a PTA include some of the following tasks:

OTAs and PTAs focus on different types of movement.

While OTAs and PTAs both assist patients with stretching and exercise, the goals of those exercises differ greatly.

Physical therapy aims to aid patients in recovering from ailments or injuries that have restricted their mobility. PTAs concentrate on assisting patients in regaining balance and coordination, increasing strength and flexibility in the body’s injured areas, and reducing pain.

The goal of occupational therapy is to teach patients how to carry out tasks necessary for independent living or performing job duties. This may be a result of an illness or injury that necessitates long-term or permanent adaptations. Additionally, it may result from a long-term physical, mental, or developmental disability

OTAs and PTAs perform different duties

The duties of PTAs and OTAs also differ. The day-to-day activities of a PTA and an OTA are very dissimilar from one another.

PTAs consult with patients and lead them through various exercises recommended and planned by the physical therapist to whom they are responsible. Additionally, they will teach the patient to live with more long-term solutions like wheelchairs or prosthetics or introduce them to adaptive equipment like crutches to assist them in moving while they recover.

PTAs can also suggest additional treatments for their patients and give them hands-on care, like massage therapy.

OTAs, on the other hand, assist patients in carrying out routine tasks. Similar to a PTA, an overseeing occupational therapist will communicate these plans, which are then carried out by the OTA.

While OT focuses on boosting confidence to carry out tasks in a manageable and long-lasting manner, PT is more concerned with regaining strength or recovering. OTAs may assist individuals in adjusting to long-term injuries, such as determining more comfortable methods for an arthritis patient to perform an activity like tying their shoelaces or assisting children with developmental issues to develop social skills.

Some tasks in the two professions may be similar, such as providing patients with a clean, safe, and comfortable environment and educating them so they understand the reasoning behind the goals they are pursuing.

ota vs pta similarities and differences

Read up on the key distinctions between occupational and physical therapy if you’re interested in learning more about the broad factors that separate the two fields.

Occupational therapy is a holistic discipline that addresses the whole person. The objective is to assist patients of all ages and mental, developmental, and physical abilities live more independent and fulfilling lives by concentrating on a person’s quality of life. Occupational therapists are in charge of occupational therapy assistants (OTAs). OTAs assist patients who have undergone injury, surgery, or illness to recover from or adapt to physical or mental changes and limitations through individualized and group treatments. OTAs employ a variety of techniques for developmental disorders like autism to maximize their functional independence.

To promote their patients’ health and wellness, OTAs frequently combine exercises, stretching techniques, and equipment with therapeutic activities, such as arts and crafts, cooking, games, socialization, self-care tasks, and simulations. They also emphasize environmental modifications, coping mechanisms, and functional cognition retraining to assist patients and enable them to perform daily activities and self-care tasks like bathing and using the restroom. The areas of feeding, low vision, sensory integration, driving, home modification, hand therapy, aquatics, and animal therapy are among the specialties available to OTAs.

PTAs assist physical therapists in carrying out patient-specific care plans using exercises and specialized equipment to promote patients’ health and wellbeing. Patients may also be supported by the use of ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction, and compression wrapping. PTAs may choose to specialize in fields and methods like wound care, neurologic, orthopedics, pediatrics, aquatics, manual therapy techniques, and more. They can work with patients of all ages.

Hospitals, assisted living facilities, private practices, home health, and educational institutions all employ PTAs and OTAs. While some OTAs work in mental health facilities, forensic and juvenile justice centers, and various community-based settings, PTAs may also work in outpatient clinics.

People who want to work as PTAs or OTAs must finish an associate degree program before pursuing state certification or licensure. Request information now to learn more about South University’s PTA and OTA programs and how we can help you get ready to pursue a rewarding healthcare career through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on learning opportunities.


What is the difference between PTA and PT?

PTs are primarily focused on diagnosing patients and creating a customized rehabilitation plan based on the patient’s prognosis. PTAs, on the other hand, are more concerned with getting patients ready for diagnosis and helping to carry out the treatment plan.

What is the difference between an OTA and a COTA?

An OTA performs all the tasks of a COTA, or Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, but has gone above and beyond to earn their certification. More specifically, they applied for certification with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and passed the required test.

Who makes more OTA or PTA?

No, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are paid within the same range. The median salary for established OTAs is more than $60,000. The median wage for established PTAs is $58,040.

What is the difference in OT and OTA education?

The level of education required to become an OT versus an OTA is the main distinction. An OT needs a master’s degree, which takes more time and money to complete. An occupational therapy assistant requires only an associate’s degree.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *