Occupational therapy assistants typically have an interest in the Doer and Helper interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Doer interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Helper interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counselling, or teaching other people.
If you are not sure whether you have a Doer or Helper interest which might fit with a career as an occupational therapy assistant, you can take a career test to measure your interests.
Occupational therapy assistants should also possess the following specific qualities:
Compassion. Occupational therapy assistants and aides frequently work with patients who struggle with many of life’s basic activities. As a result, they should be compassionate and caring and have the ability to encourage others.
Detail oriented. Occupational therapy assistants and aides must be able to quickly and accurately follow the instructions, both written and spoken, of an occupational therapist.
Flexibility. Assistants must be flexible when treating patients. Because not every type of therapy will work for each patient, assistants may need to be creative when working with occupational therapists to determine the best type of therapy to use for achieving a patient’s goals.
Interpersonal skills. Occupational therapy assistants and aides spend much of their time interacting with patients. They should be friendly and courteous, and they should be able to communicate with patients to the extent of their ability and training.
Physical strength. Assistants and aides need to have a moderate degree of strength because of the physical exertion required to assist patients. Constant kneeling, stooping, and standing for long periods also are part of the job.