How To Get A Job In Assistive Technology As A PT/OT/PTA/COTA/OTA/SLP

assistive technology occupational therapist assistant occupational therapy physical therapist assistant physical therapy speech therapy Jul 19, 2022
How To Get A Job In  Assistive Technology As A PT/OT/PTA/COTA/OTA/SLP

How To Get A Job In Assistive Technology As A PT/OT/PTA/COTA/OTA/SLP

 

If you are looking for a remote job that you can do as physical, occupational, speech therapist or physical/occupational therapy assistant then look no further than a job in assistive technology! In this article we’ll highlight how to transition from a rehabilitation career into a stay at home position in assistive technology.

 

What is a assistive technology professional?

 An assistive technology professional is a healthcare professional who helps people with disabilities use adaptive equipment to better live their lives. You can work with all ages and all types of cognitive, physical, and sensory disabilities. 

 

 
 
Examples include:
  • magnifiers
  • talking devices
  • Braille displays
  • screen reading software
  • text-to-speech systems using Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
  • large print materials
  • phones with large tactile buttons
  • wheelchairs, cushions, ramps
  • Walking devices
  • Car devices/adaptations

and many more!

 

Why do I love assistive technology as a remote career idea for physical, occupational or speech therapy professionals and assistants?

  1.  You can work from home (although this may not always be a fully remote role)
  2.  No to minor physical labor
  3.  You continue to get to help people in a significant way
  4.  You continue to get to use your medical degree
  5.  It may be really fun to work in growing technology and there may be new ideas you can contribute or upward/lateral growth you may be able to do

 

Top pros of working in assistive technology:

  • Assistive technology roles are rewarding. You are helping people, just like you would in healthcare.
  • They are often remote roles, hybrid, or in person roles. It may be more common to find in person that fully remote roles but usually all roles have a hybrid nature. 
  • Just the ATP certification which is very easy to get and often many companies will pay for this certification
  • You get paid similarly to your clinical salary
  • Easy transition

 

Top cons of working in assistive technology:

  • You’ll have to be very comfortable with technology, working remotely or hybrid, and solving technology issues or device issues
  • This may not always be a salaried role. This could be a salary plus commission role - which means sometimes you may make more than your clinical salary but it could also mean risk to earn less.  Please see each individual company as this can vary. 
  • This is a bit of a sales type of role, which some people may not like. 

 

What is the average pay of assistive technology professionals?

According to Zip Recruiting, https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Assistive-Technology-Specialist-Salary#:~:text=How%20much%20does%20an%20Assistive,States%20is%20%2466%2C455%20a%20year., the average salary could be $66,4550. As these positions are sometimes commission based, if you work hard you could earn much more!

 

Who is best fit for a role in assistive technology?

I think this role is great for someone who really loves patient care and wants to continue patient care, but perhaps can’t lift any more or wants to be more at home.

This is also for someone who can be creative and is eager to learn new technology and skills.

This role could span beyond just being a treating clinician. Within these companies, perhaps you can work instead as health writer, social media manager, affiliate manager, clinical educator, and more!

 

Best course to help you get a job in assistive technology? 

I've created a remote careers course, that has step by step video guides, resume template, cover letter template, interview questions and answers for assistive technology, virtual reality, and its bundled with other remote careers including recruiting, sales, technology/marketing, and ergonomic careers. 

Learn more here: https://www.alternativehealthcarecareers.com/remote-jobs-course 

 

Example day in the life of a assistive technology professional:

You may have a variety of tasks and this can really vary based on the role you have - if you are employed more by a healthcare device company or more by a school. 

But common duties include assessing patients and seeing what their needs may be and educating family, patients, therapy and medical team as to what you would recommend. You may then size and order the device for the patient or provide an invoice to to the company that would get the equipment. 

You may be providing the equipment to demo and make sure it helps the patient or providing the final product and making sure it fits and works well and helps the patient achieve their goals. 

You'll be doing documentation, emails, phone calls, and other administrative tasks to check in with patients or providers or family members. 

 

You may do in-services with staff, medical teams, or companies on assistive device ideas for their company or on a particular product a well. 

And much more!

 

 

What are the requirements to become a virtual reality therapist or assistant?

Many companies want the ATP certification. You do not always need this before applying as many many pay for you to get this certification. 

The ATP credential stands for a national certification from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America - a professional organization promotes the health and well-being of people with disabilities through technology.

As an ATP, you can practice nationally and is a general certification that covers seating, cognitive, computers, communication, recreation, sensation, transportation, learning, and transpiration issues. 

ATP certification requires passing an exam. "To take the exam, a candidate must meet an education requirement and a corresponding number of work hours in a relevant field, in one of the following areas:

  • Master's degree or higher in special education or rehabilitation science and 1,000 hours of work over the course of six years in the field.
  • Bachelor's degree in special education or rehabilitation science and 1,500 hours of work in six years.
  • Bachelor's degree in a non-rehabilitation science with 10 hours of assistive technology-related training and 2,000 hours of work over the course of six years.
  • Associate degree in rehabilitation science and 3,000 hours of work over the course of six years.
  • Associate degree in a non-rehabilitation science with 20 hours of assistive technology-related training and 4,000 hours of work over the course of six years.
  • High school diploma or GED with 30 hours of assistive technology-related training and 6,000 hours of work over the course of 10 years." https://www.thoughtco.com/assistive-technology-professional-198921 

 

As a physical, occupational, or speech therapist or assistant, you have plenty of experience to meet the criteria above. So become an ATP is as simple as studying and taking the 4 hour, 200 question choice test which costs only about $500. 

 

How to find assistive technology jobs:

Step 1.

Look up a list of common healthcare companies that you have worked with before. Often you've spoken to the Permobile vendor or maybe LiteGait. 

If not, google local companies around your area or devices you've maybe heard of and thought would be helpful for patients and also you would enjoy working with. 

Step 2.

Apply to these companies directly and try to set up job auto notifications if possible to alert you if new jobs post.

Step 3.

I would personally email or call too if you can, as there may not be positions but they may be getting ready to hire. This can sometimes bring you to the top of the pack.

Step 4.

Connect with recruiters from these companies and message them for free by hitting “connect” and sending a message/note with your connection.

Step 5.

Also set up alerts on Indeed and LinkedIn for these companies and jobs

Step 6.

Use multiple titles while you are searching. Get creative! Try different search terms!

 

How to get these assistive technology jobs as therapist or assistant?

Getting a assistive technology job should be pretty easy as you are the medical expert often in that disease or technology. You often know how to use the device already from your clinical career and can easily relate to other therapists and assistants for the sales portion and to patients for the implementation side. 

But common mistakes we've seen is not updating and tailoring your resume to a assistive technology position, not including a cover letter, not preparing for an interview, and not sending a thank you email shortly after. 

Highlight any experience you've had with the device or with diagnosis that the device or assistive technology treats. Highlight how the clinical world involves customer service, communication, sales, education just as assistive technology does. 

There is a great assistive technology preparation certificate inside Medbridge and physicaltherapy.com (as well as occupationaltherapy.com) has an ATP prep series as well.  (use code ALTERNATIVE to save 40% off of Medbridge). 

 

Summary:

I really hope this article has helped outline another amazing remote career that you as a physical, occupational, or speech therapist or assistant can do!

Here are some more remote career guides:

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