Research Summary. Here are some key points about hiring certified occupational therapist assistants in the United States:

  • There are a total of 119,657 certified occupational therapist assistants in the US, and there are currently 105,405 job openings in this field.
  • The median cost to hire a certified occupational therapist assistant is $1,633.
  • Small businesses spend $1,105 per certified occupational therapist assistant on training each year, while large companies spend $658.
  • It takes between 36 and 42 days to fill the average role in the US.
  • It takes approximately 12 weeks for a new employee to reach full productivity levels.
  • HR departments typically allocate 15% of their budget towards recruitment efforts.
  • Onaga, KS, has the highest demand for certified occupational therapist assistants, with 9 job openings.

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How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant

Before you start to hire certified occupational therapist assistants, it pays to consider both the one-off costs like recruitment, job promotion, and onboarding, as well as the ongoing costs of an employee's salary and benefits. While most companies that hire certified occupational therapist assistants pay close attention to the initial cost of hiring, ongoing costs are much more significant in the long run.

The median annual salary for certified occupational therapist assistants is $53,296 in the US. However, the cost of certified occupational therapist assistant hiring can vary a lot depending on location. Additionally, hiring a certified occupational therapist assistant for contract work or on a per-project basis typically costs between $19 and $33 an hour.

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How to hire a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant, step by step

To hire a certified occupational therapist assistant, you should clearly understand the skills and experience you are looking for in a candidate, and allocate a budget for the position. You will also need to post and promote the job opening to reach potential candidates. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to hire a certified occupational therapist assistant:

  • Step 1: Identify your needs
  • Step 2: Create an ideal candidate profile
  • Step 3: Make a budget
  • Step 4: Writing a certified occupational therapist assistant job description
  • Step 5: Post the job
  • Step 6: Interview process
  • Step 7: Send a job offer and onboard your new certified occupational therapist assistant
  • Step 8: Go through the checklist for the hiring process

Identify Your Needs

The first step to find certified occupational therapist assistants for hire is determining what type of worker you actually need. Certain roles might require a full-time employee, whereas others can be done by part-time workers or contractors.

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A certified occupational therapist assistant's background is also an important factor in determining whether they'll be a good fit for the position. For example, certified occupational therapist assistants from different industries or fields will have radically different experiences and will bring different viewpoints to the role. You also need to consider the candidate's previous level of experience to make sure they'll be comfortable with the job's level of seniority.

Here's a comparison of the average salaries of common certified occupational therapist assistant roles:

Type Of Certified Occupational Therapist AssistantDescriptionHourly Rate
Certified Occupational Therapist AssistantOccupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in providing therapy to patients; occupational therapy aides typically perform support activities... Show More$19-33
TherapistA therapist is responsible for improving the patients' health conditions by evaluating their needs and providing physical and mental support. Therapists are licensed, medical professionals who specialize in different areas to perform treatments and bring relief to patients... Show More$18-38
Physical TherapistPhysical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and treat patients with health conditions and limited ability to move and perform daily activities. They help in restoring physical function and mobility and teach how to properly use therapeutic exercise techniques... Show More$26-45

Create An Ideal Candidate Profile

Before you start to recruit certified occupational therapist assistants, imagine the ideal employee for this position and begin creating a profile and job description. What skills do they have, and what responsibilities do they have to be proficient in?

Certified occupational therapist assistants typically have the following skills:

Common Skills:
  • Patients
  • Home Health
  • Patient Care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Acute Care
  • Quality Care
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Body Mechanics
  • Healthcare Professionals
  • Adaptive
  • Compassion
  • Adaptive Equipment
  • Physical Therapy
  • SNF
Check All Skills

Here is a list of common responsibilities that certified occupational therapist assistants may be expected to fulfill:

  • Manage wheelchair room and walkers; recommend and implement improvements to organization and ease of use.
  • Provide occupational therapy services to rehabilitation, acute care, and outpatients in a hospital setting.
  • Provide patient and family education concerning energy conservation techniques, precautions, and proper use of adaptive equipment.
  • Educate patient on energy conservation techniques and adaptive equipment use.
  • Provide patient with different types of splints.
  • Train residents and health care provider in applying orthotics and prosthetics.
Check all Duties

Beyond the basics, you should also consider how well a candidate fits into your company culture. In other words, you should think about how your ideal certified occupational therapist assistant will live by the company's mission statement and contribute to the team dynamic you already have in place.

Most Common States For Certified Occupational Therapist Assistants In The US

Rank #State# Of Jobs% of PopulationAvg. Salary
4New Jersey2,21725%$48,180

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Make A Budget

Including a salary range in your job description is a great way to entice the best and brightest candidates. A certified occupational therapist assistant salary can vary based on several factors:

  • Location. For example, certified occupational therapist assistants' average salary in louisiana is 40% less than in hawaii.
  • Seniority. Entry-level certified occupational therapist assistants earn 43% less than senior-level certified occupational therapist assistants.
  • Certifications. A certified occupational therapist assistant with a few certifications under their belt will likely demand a higher salary.
  • Company. Working for a prestigious company or an exciting start-up can make a huge difference in a certified occupational therapist assistant's salary.

Updated March 16, 2023

Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant Salary Estimate


$25.62 hourly

Entry level Salary
$40,000 yearly

Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant Average Salary By Location

RankStateAvg. SalaryHourly RateJob Count
2New York$56,788$277

Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant Average Salary By Company

Writing a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant Job Description

A certified occupational therapist assistant job description should include a summary of the role, required skills, and a list of responsibilities. It's also good to include a salary range and the first name of the hiring manager. Below, you can find an example of a certified occupational therapist assistant job description:

Example of Full Job Description

Must possess the ability to read, write and speak the English language, communicate resident condition to others and make independent decisions as needed; must have common working knowledge of all rules, laws and regulations as defined by the state as it relates to occupational therapy; must be patient, friendly, courteous and respectful to residents in any situation, including difficult ones; must be able to move frequently throughout the workday; must be able to handle sensitive situations related to the emotional well-being of the residents with patience, dignity and respect; must be able to lift 40 lbs floor to waist; lift 10 lbs waist to shoulder; lift and carry 40 lbs; and push/pull 40 lbs.


Licensed COTA within the state of practice; one year experience in long-term care environment preferred.

Working Conditions

Works specifically in the rehabilitation department, resident rooms, etc.; bends, lifts, sits, stands and moves frequently throughout the shift; deals with frequent interruptions and possibly upset residents and family members; works regularly scheduled shifts with possible weekends, holidays and other hours based on resident needs; primary responsibility is care of residents but also deals with visitors, government personnel, etc.; participates in required continuing education programs; subject to odors, falls, burns and exposure to infectious diseases, waste, etc., including AIDS and Hepatitis B viruses.

Competencies of Position

Professionalism: Reports to work on time and as scheduled; keeps open communication with direct supervisors to ensure quality care of the residents; promotes teamwork, takes part in problem solving and displays a positive, caring attitude; consistently attends staff meetings, required in-services and other committees as assigned by the facility.

Resident Rights: Promptly reports resident grievances to the rehabilitation supervisors; treats all resident care information with confidentiality; continuously monitors assigned areas to ensure residents are treated fairly and with dignity and respect at all times; conducts rehabilitation care in privacy, including knocking on the door prior to entering a resident’s room; honors resident refusal of treatments and reports to rehabilitation supervisors.

Safety Awareness: Follows safety program guidelines; immediately reports accidents and incidents to supervisors; identifies unsafe working areas and promptly reports to supervisors; promotes safety by working as safely and efficiently as possible; monitors resident rooms to ensure it is clean and neat at all times; consistently follows infection control and universal precautions and other guidelines; identifies and corrects or reports hazardous conditions to supervisors; understands facility emergency and evacuation protocols.

Organizational and Communication Skills: Handles multiple residents simultaneously; completes assignments in an organized fashion by the end of scheduled shifts; operates with flexibility and shows attention to detail when recording information in resident charts; possesses effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills and is an attentive listener.

Customer Service: Treats all residents, families, co-workers and supervisors with dignity and respect and takes initiative to exceed customer expectations; professional represents the facility, self and position to visitors and residents; demonstrates a positive attitude and willingness to help to all visitors and residents; remains sensitive to all needs through listening, observing and responding appropriately for the position held.

Essential Job Duties

1. Assists with assessing residents’ functional levels and capabilities.

2. Follows resident care plan and provides occupational therapy treatments under the direction of a licensed OT.

3. Makes recommendations related to resident therapy treatments.

4. Participates in the discharge planning process for residents.

5. Thoroughly documents treatment progress in resident charts in an accurate and timely manner.

6. Maintains a positive working relationship with residents and families.

7. Assists the OT in supervision of rehabilitation aides.

8. Documents appropriately and timely in accordance with all laws, regulations and Facility guidelines.

9. Completes required Facility forms and documents to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.

10. Assists with scheduling appointments, taking calls, reordering supplies and completing insurance forms.

Other Job Duties

1. Provides training and education to family, residents and staff for occupational therapy.

2. Assists with transporting residents from room to therapy gym, etc.

3. Attends meetings and communicates information in a productive fashion.

Post A Job

There are various strategies that you can use to find the right certified occupational therapist assistant for your business:

  • Consider promoting from within or recruiting from your existing workforce.
  • Ask for referrals from friends, family members, and current employees.
  • Attend job fairs at local colleges to find candidates who meet your education requirements.
  • Use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to reach potential job candidates.

To find certified occupational therapist assistant candidates, you can consider the following options:

  • Post your job opening on Zippia or other job search websites.
  • Use niche websites that focus on engineering and technology jobs, such as healthcarejobsite, health jobs nationwide, hospitalcareers,
  • Post your job on free job posting websites.

Interview Process

During your first interview to recruit certified occupational therapist assistants, engage with candidates to learn about their interest in the role and their experience in the field. During the next interview, you can go into more detail about the company, the role, and the responsibilities.

You should also ask about candidates' special skills and talents to see if they match with the ideal candidate profile you came up with earlier. Candidates who are good enough for the next step can then move on to the technical interview.

The right interview questions can help you assess a candidate's hard skills, behavioral intelligence, and soft skills.

Send A Job Offer And Onboard Your New Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant

Once you've selected the best certified occupational therapist assistant candidate for the job, it's time to write an offer letter. In addition to salary, this letter should include details about the benefits and perks that you're offering the candidate. It's essential to ensure that your offer is competitive, as qualified candidates may be considering other job opportunities. The candidate may wish to negotiate the terms of the offer, and it's important to be open to discussion. After you reach an agreement, the final step is formalizing the agreement with a contract.

You should also follow up with applicants who don't get the job with an email letting them know that you've filled the position.

Once that's done, you can draft an onboarding schedule for the new certified occupational therapist assistant. Human Resources should complete Employee Action Forms and ensure that onboarding paperwork is completed, including I-9s, benefits enrollment, federal and state tax forms, etc. They should also ensure that new employee files are created for internal recordkeeping.

Go Through The Checklist For The Hiring Process

  • Determine employee type (full-time, part-time, contractor, etc.)
  • Submit a job requisition form to the HR department
  • Define job responsibilities and requirements
  • Establish budget and timeline
  • Determine hiring decision makers for the role
  • Write job description
  • Post job on job boards, company website, etc.
  • Promote the job internally
  • Process applications through applicant tracking system
  • Review resumes and cover letters
  • Shortlist candidates for screening
  • Hold phone/virtual interview screening with first round of candidates
  • Conduct in-person interviews with top candidates from first round
  • Score candidates based on weighted criteria (e.g., experience, education, background, cultural fit, skill set, etc.)
  • Conduct background checks on top candidates
  • Check references of top candidates
  • Consult with HR and hiring decision makers on job offer specifics
  • Extend offer to top candidate(s)
  • Receive formal job offer acceptance and signed employment contract
  • Inform other candidates that the position has been filled
  • Set and communicate onboarding schedule to new hire(s)
  • Complete new hire paperwork (i9, benefits enrollment, tax forms, etc.)
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Hiring Certified Occupational Therapist Assistants FAQs

How Much Does A Good Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant Cost?

A good certified occupational therapist assistant costs $25.62 an hour in the US. However, it can vary based on factors such as the certified occupational therapist assistant experience, abilities, industry, and the specific requirements of your business.

What Are The Duties Of A Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant?

The duties of a certified occupational therapist assistant are:
  • Manage wheelchair room and walkers; recommend and implement improvements to organization and ease of use.
  • Provide occupational therapy services to rehabilitation, acute care, and outpatients in a hospital setting.
  • Provide patient and family education concerning energy conservation techniques, precautions, and proper use of adaptive equipment.

Should I Hire A Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant With No Experience?

Yes, you should hire a certified occupational therapist assistant with no experience. Hiring an entry-level certified occupational therapist assistant with no experience offers versatility for your team. They may lack some qualifications, but are adaptable and have not yet formed problematic habits. However, more training may be required compared to experienced.

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