COTA to Injury Prevention Specialist

cota ergonomics ot pt pta Feb 07, 2024
COTA to Injury Prevention Specialist

COTA to Injury Prevention Specialist

 With Christina COTA/L

In this article, we hope to inspire assistants, whether it be physical or occupational therapy assistants to find their non clinical careers - and today we discuss ergonomics or injury prevention. This is also a great route for therapists (PTs or OTs) as well, but as there are often fewer routes for assistants, we are really excited to share this story!

 What is your profession and background?

I’ve been a COTA working in the SNF, ALF, and short term rehab settings for about 7 years.


What inspired you to find an alternative healthcare career and why choose injury prevention? 

Unfortunately, witnessing the deteriorating quality of care that was occurring in the SNF setting
was my biggest motivator to secure an alternative career. Injury prevention appealed to me
because I knew it would help me grow my skill set beyond anything I had done before and also
allow me to assist people without the constraints of insurance and productivity.


How do you enjoy working in injury prevention? Any pros/cons? 

I have been working in injury prevention for 6 months and have certainly enjoyed the switch! The biggest
change for me has been the improvement in work life balance. I would leave previous jobs
feeling drained, however in the industrial setting the people that I help are motivated and
appreciative of your knowledge and skills which is a refreshing change!


How did you find your current role? 

I found my current position on Indeed. I had been job searching for an array of alternate career
paths for about 2 years until landing in my current role.

During my interview process, I completed the certification for industrial ergonomics course ( that was offered through the alternative healthcare careers website so that I had a better knowledge of industrial ergonomics and to show my overall enthusiasm for the position.

I also requested to shadow an entire day to ensure that it was the right fit for myself.


Can you share some duties and a day in the life of your new role as injury prevention specialist?

I currently work for Select Physical Therapy as a “WorkStrategies Specialist” – which is a national
program that provides onsite early symptom intervention and various assessments/analyses to
help employees/employers reduce their risk for injury. I enjoy being salaried and having the
ability to create my own work schedule. I did take an initial pay cut from my previous hourly SNF
salary, however with the added benefit of mileage reimbursement I have not felt a reduction in
my overall take home pay.

Company benefits such as annual pay increases and quarterly/annual
bonuses have been a nice change as well.


What is one of your biggest pieces of advice to those looking into injury prevention and a career change?

My tip to people wanting to secure a role like this is to complete an ergonomics certification
course to make yourself more marketable and leverage your plethora of skills as a therapist to
your advantage.

And mostly, to not give up the search! It took me a lot of time, energy, and
sometimes frustration until I landed something that was just the right fit for me. It is possible!


We hope you found this article helpful! If you are interested in pursuing a career in ergonomics/injury prevention and have questions, please join our Facebook group and also email us at [email protected] 

We have several amazing ergonomics programs to help you:

1. Office Ergonomics: 

2. Industrial Ergonomics: 

3. Remote Ergonomics: 

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