What Is a COTA? (The Pros and Cons of This Career)

What is COTA?

What does a COTA do?

A COTA is responsible for the following duties:

What is a COTA?

A COTA is a certified occupational therapist assistant. They give occupational therapists the help they need to treat patients effectively. They might provide assistance with creating and carrying out treatment plans, managing activity programs, and keeping track of patients’ advancement. People in this position assist patients in achieving their health objectives and leading more relaxed, active lives. While an occupational therapist is in charge of a patient’s entire treatment plan, a COTA gives occupational therapists the assistance they require to make sure patients are receiving the best care.

What skills does a COTA need?

You must possess the following abilities to work as a COTA:


Being a successful COTA requires having excellent communication skills. You communicate frequently with patients and occupational therapists while working. Your ability to communicate will ensure that you are adhering to the occupational therapist’s instructions. They are useful for teaching patients a specific exercise or providing them with treatment plan advice. It’s important to be an effective communicator because some of your patients may have limited communication skills.


Many of your patients are battling a mobility issue or other health issue. Empathy and compassion can enable you to establish lasting relationships with them and deliver better care. While it’s crucial to set some boundaries between your personal life and your work, you also need to demonstrate to patients that you are aware of their difficulties. Being a compassionate person can make patients more at ease with their treatment and inspired to achieve their goals.

Physical stamina

You’ll spend the majority of the day on your feet when working as a COTA. It’s crucial to realize that this job requires you to be active. Physical endurance makes sure you can perform your duties effectively all day. You may need to move around or massage patients as part of various treatments, which requires physical stamina when working long hours.


Some patients might present to you with odd symptoms or illnesses. Together with the occupational therapist, you must use your problem-solving abilities to develop an effective treatment strategy. A battery of physical and verbal tests can reveal a lot about a patient’s difficulties. With problem-solving, you can help patients start living more comfortably.


Since you will be interacting with patients frequently, it is crucial that you act professionally at all times. This entails speaking politely to other staff members, using appropriate language with patients and their caregivers, and making sure you are obeying orders. Maintaining the confidentiality of your patients’ information is another aspect of professionalism. Being covert about the services you are offering guarantees that you are abiding by crucial healthcare regulations.


This job requires a great deal of collaboration and teamwork. You will need to get used to working with the occupational therapist every day since you will be helping them. Working together can help you both determine what is best for the patient. It can also assist you and your team in determining how to effectively assign tasks to one another.


You’ll interact with a variety of patients during the course of a workday. Having good time management abilities can help you make sure that every patient receives the attention they require. You and the occupational therapist you are assisting can create a better schedule by keeping track of how long treatment may last.

Pros and cons of becoming a COTA

Becoming a COTA can be a rewarding career. This is especially true if you like to help people and want to work with patients directly. Knowing a career path’s benefits and drawbacks is crucial before choosing it. This way, you can make a more informed decision. Find out the benefits and drawbacks of becoming a COTA:


Here are the benefits of becoming a COTA:

You get to interact with patients every day while working as a COTA. If you enjoy interacting with people, this may be a good career choice for you. You might even spend more time with patients than an occupational therapist because they handle most of the patient paperwork and assessments. Keep in mind that you must speak with the occupational therapist before making any decisions when a patient requests additional care or asks other questions.

The majority of healthcare facilities demand at least an associate’s degree for COTAs. This is significantly less schooling than becoming an occupational therapist. You can start your career sooner in addition to saving money on college expenses and tuition. You have more time to determine if this is the right career path for you with less education. After a few years of employment, you might even decide that you want to pursue a career as a certified occupational therapist.

When looking at the U. S. You can see from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that the job outlook for COTAs is expanding much more quickly than the job outlook for occupational therapists. The BLS anticipates a 32% increase in COTA employment between 2019 and 2029, which is significantly faster than the average for all occupations. Looking at the occupational therapist job outlook for the same time period, the growth rate is 16%. Although this is still faster than average, there is a much greater demand for COTAs.


Here are the challenges of becoming a COTA:

There are few opportunities for career advancement for COTAs unless they choose to return to school to pursue an occupational therapy degree. You are prepared to begin working as a COTA once you have finished your two-year OT assistant program. Typically, this is the only position in an OT setting for which you are qualified with this degree.

A COTA’s schedule is based on their occupational therapist and their patients rather than having set hours each day. This implies that you might have to work on weekends, late nights, and early mornings. This could pose a problem if you value consistency in your schedule. Working as a COTA at a nursing home, hospital, or school may allow you to find a more regular schedule.

As a COTA, you report to an occupational therapist, who has final say in all decisions. You must obtain the occupational therapist’s approval before placing an order for a test, completing an assessment, or providing the patient with advice. Although you might enjoy having fewer obligations, this profession presents the challenge of having little authority.


What does Cota do?

A COTA is a certified occupational therapist assistant. They give occupational therapists the help they need to treat patients effectively. They might provide assistance with creating and carrying out treatment plans, managing activity programs, and keeping track of patients’ advancement.

Where do Cota make the most money?

Best-Paying States for Occupational Therapy Assistants California ($73,930), Nevada ($73,930), New Jersey ($71,680), Texas ($69,420), and Connecticut ($68,780) are the states and districts with the highest mean salaries for Occupational Therapy Assistants.

What is the difference in Ota and Cota?

A COTA and an OTA are different in that a COTA is certified in their particular field. To become certified, an OTA must apply with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and pass the necessary test.

Is becoming a COTA worth it?

Con: OTRs Earn About $41 Per Hour Across the Nation, Per BLS Data for 2018 Median Income COTAs Earn Less A COTA makes about $28 per hour, according to BLS data on median income for 2018. Looking at that, it might appear that working as an OTR is the best option for generating income.

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