A Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Job Description

A Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Job Description. GettyImages

Are you looking to learn more about the role of a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA)? Or are you seeking to craft a job description to attract the perfect match for a COTA opening?

Below is a sample of a COTA job description for you to use as a starting point in your venture. The role of a COTA varies from state to state, based on the state’s practice act. Please check your state’s regulations (likely found on your state’s Department of Health and Human Services website) for details about a COTA’s scope of practice in your state.

Sample Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Job Description

Title: Full-time Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

This position is supervised by an occupational therapist and reports to the Director of Rehabilitation.

Job Summary

The COTA is responsible for empowering patients to participate more fully in daily activities, following a health incident, through the use of occupation-based treatment. The COTA will work under the supervision and collaboration of an occupational therapist, but the work demands that the applicant is a self-starter, creative, timely, and independent.

The occupational therapy process is medically prescribed and involves evaluation, treatment, and discharge. The COTA will be the most involved in the treatment portion, but collaboration with an OT can be vital throughout the entire process.

Two years of relevant work experience is preferred, as is registration with the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy.

A qualified candidate should be licensed to work as a certified occupational therapy assistant in the state of employment.

Job Duties

Collaboration in Evaluation, Re-evaluation, and Discharge

Assists in gathering data for these milestones and may be asked to perform related standardized assessments or observations, in which competence has been demonstrated.

Ultimately, the OT is responsible for the evaluation and treatment plan, but the COTA’s input may be invaluable.


Delivers treatment as set forth in the treatment plan and supervised by the occupational therapist. Treatments must be delivered in accordance with the state practice act. The scope of treatment may depend on the COTAS demonstrated areas of competence. Treatment should be evidence-based and targeted at helping patients participate more fully in their daily lives. This may range from self-care, cognitive skills, sensory integration, wheelchair management and wound care. If licensed by the state, COTAs may also provide modalities such as ultrasound, biofeedback, whirlpools, and electrical stimulation.

Contribution to the Health care Team

Contributes to the health care team through effective communication and advocacy for the patient. As COTAs often spend a bulk of their time in the front lines working with patients, they may have special insight in the progress of patients making their communication with team members highly valuable.

Supports the integrity of the team by keeping patient information confidential, maintaining the safety of the work environment, and adhering to safety and infection control policies.

Support the Growth of the OT Department

Supports the growth of the entire department by annually gaining new knowledge and skills through continuing education, as necessitated through licensure. Develops department by participating in projects that increase the effectiveness of care. Participates in projects to review best practices.



  • Administer assessments under supervision
  • Deliver evidence-based treatment under supervision
  • Document services in compliance with state, federal, and facility standards
  • Administer modalities (if licensed)


  • Teamwork
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Patient advocacy
  • Commitment to best practices
  • Dedication to compliance
  • Active participation in the supervisory process
  • Ability to manage a productive personal schedule
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment

Further Resources

The NBCOT Professional Practice Standards are another helpful resource in understanding the role of a COTA and finding words to describe the position in a job description. The American Occupational Therapy Association gives this handy breakdown of the supervision requirements by state. They also supply these guidelines for supervision. 

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