Professional Standards

Professional standards are considered the minimum expectation of skills to be performed by an occupational therapy assistant. The list below was compiled with input from the Academic Fieldwork Educators (clinical preceptors), members of the OTA Program Advisory Board, and job requirements per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational therapy assistants must be able to perform the following:

I. Communication

  1. Write concisely, and fluently for readability, in English.
  2. Read fluently in English.
  3. Speak in fluent English to report patient information and oral presentations. 
  4. Communicate clearly with the patient, family, and significant others in English.
  5. Use medical terminology and abbreviations appropriately.
  6. Understand, follow and give directions in English.
  7. Accurately hear information verbally communicated by the patient, family members, and other health care staff.

II. Physical Demands

  1. Perform patient care that requires lifting, turning, transferring, and ambulating patients. 
  2. Perform common procedures that require large motor skills such as stooping. kneeling, bending, squatting, and reaching. 
  3. Perform procedures that require fine motor skills such as vital sign measurements, standard tests, etc. 
  4. Be mobile to access the clinical space, equipment, and/or patient rooms. 
  5. Working on one’s feet for up to 8-12 hours.

III. Clinical Performance

  1. Assist in the development of patient/client profiles (including vital signs, measuring range of motion, manual muscle testing, and other standard tests). 
  2. Observe and analyze patient/client performance (physical, physiological, and psychological response to treatment) and adjust treatment plan as necessary. 
  3. Provide patient/client/family/caregiver with education, training, and community resources. 

IV. Interpersonal Skills/professional behaviors

  1. Able to work with patients across the lifespan. 
  2. Able to establish rapport with the patient, family and/or significant others. 
  3. Use therapeutic self to engage patient in therapy process. 
  4. Acknowledge and be sensitive of the multi-cultural issues in healthcare. 
  5. Accept and understand supervision/direction. 
  6. Work as a member of the healthcare team and be aware of the chain of command. 
  7. Work with a culturally diverse group of patients and health care professionals. 
  8. Observe, interpret, and respond appropriately to verbal and non-verbal communication from patient.

V. Safety

  1. Adhere to the written/oral safety precautions. 
  2. Follow routine precautions at the health care facility.
  3. Takes initiative to respond to emergency situations. 
  4. Be aware of potential safety issues with a variety of materials.