COTA Schools and Jobs
As the number of schools increase that teach the OTA program, are the graduates able to find jobs? One source I follow says no, but others say they are finding job offers. The one common thread I am finding though is some COTAs are completing three or more interviews before landing a job.
I do see changes in Medicare happening, which require more input and supervision from an OTR. At one out-patient job I held in the mid-2000s the OTR had to be present for me to do a treatment with any Medicare patients. If you think about that, why pay the COTA if the OTR has to be there too? Only a large caseload would justify having two people working in a clinic at the same time.
There has been a big increase in the number of schools out there teaching the OTA program. Maybe ten years ago that would have supplemented the shortage, but it appears that today there are too many OTAs graduating. With many long term care facilities seeing a decrease in patients, that can only mean fewer jobs, and fewer hours.
Florida and Texas have always been the two states where a COTA could find a job easily. In one forum I follow there are several COTAs complaining of no jobs in their part of the state. There are others saying their hours have been cut and they are now working two jobs, one full-time (or as many hours as they get) and a PRN job. With some COTAs picking up on extra work that also spells fewer opportunities for others.
As mentioned, I see some COTAs with years of experience say they have to complete several interviews before landing a job. In years past I've had jobs end suddenly because of a contract dispute, and within days had a new position. One time I had a job within hours of being told we were out. I know different areas of the country will have more jobs, but from what I'm finding there seems to be more competition for every job.
I know lots of people enter the profession for the pay. It does pay well, once you have some experience behind you. New grads seem to be starting out around $18-22 hour, experienced COTAs report earning anywhere from $25 to $40 an hour depending on their field. However, the ones who say they are earning $40 an hour are probably in home health, and you'll have to consider expenses. Vehicle maintenance and gas will most assuredly cut into that, as well as the time spent completing notes and other paperwork.
Whatever you do before searching a position, have a good resume with all your experience listed. Keep it concise but make yourself stand out from the competition. Ask about hours, benefits, and all the other things you need to know before signing on the dotted line. My last thought is to beware of sign on bonuses, if you find you don't like the place and leave before the agreed upon period that bonus has to be returned.
Until next time, hope all your "Thoughts" are Good-