With baby boomers continuing to stay active well into their senior years and with health care accessibility expanding, the occupational therapy field is expanding at a far greater pace than other careers. Jobs for occupational therapists will grow nearly 30 percent over the next 10 years, and occupational therapy assistant jobs will expand by 41 percent. To join the ranks of Los Angeles’ 2,210 occupational therapists and 310 occupational therapy assistants, though, prospective students will need to find an occupational therapy program approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.
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Occupational therapy licenses for therapists and assistants are issued by the State of California’s Board of Occupational Therapy. To qualify for the licenses, students must complete occupational therapy classes and earn a master’s degree at an accredited occupational therapy college. They must also complete all occupational therapy training fieldwork and pass the occupational therapy test administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, or NBCOT. Occupational therapists who complete those requirements and maintain membership in NBCOT may use the Occupational Therapist Registered, or OTR, designation. Students who complete all the assistant occupational therapy courses, earn an associate’s degree, pass the NBCOT exam and maintain organizational membership may use the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, or COTA, designation.
Salaries for Occupational Therapy Jobs in Los Angeles
These professionals work in a variety of settings, including health care offices, hospitals, schools and nursing homes. Others provide home health services. In the Los Angeles area, therapists earn $92,400, slightly higher than the statewide mean of $89,620. Occupational therapy assistants in Los Angeles earn a salary of $67,100, also slightly higher than the state mean of $66,020.
List of Occupational Therapy Masters Programs in California
Accredited master’s degree occupational therapy programs are operated throughout the state. Occupational therapy degree programs in the Los Angeles area include public California State University at Dominguez Hills and private occupational therapy colleges Loma Linda University, University of Southern California and University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, California Campus. Northern California also offers two private accredited occupational therapy courses towards a master’s degree: Dominican University and Samuel Merritt University. Occupational therapy schools for assistants include the public community colleges Grossmont, Sacramento City and Santa Ana colleges and the private occupational therapy certification program at Stanbridge College.