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Interview Questions for an Occupational Therapy Assistant

by Ashley Miller

A career as an occupational therapy assistant can help you make a meaningful difference in your patients' lives. Under the supervision of occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants provide a range of therapeutic rehabilitation services to patients with different physical injuries, illnesses and disabilities. Occupational therapy assistants need to have the right personality and skill set for the job. To demonstrate that you're the most qualified and suitable candidate, it's important to be well-prepared for specific OT assistant interview questions.

Why Did You Choose This Career Path?

Occupational therapy assistants have a wide range of personal and professional reasons for entering the field. Many have a desire to help others overcome physical and mental obstacles to well-being and independent living, while others may have had positive experiences with occupational therapists in their private lives. The answer you provide to this question can give the interviewer insight about your personality, motivation and dedication to the profession. Think carefully about the reasons that you wanted to become an occupational therapy assistant. There's nothing wrong with sharing some personal information and history, if applicable, but you should also take care that you don't go overboard.

How Do You Handle Resistant or Difficult Patients?

Some occupational therapy patients might not be thrilled to be receiving your services, no matter how dedicated or devoted you are to providing the best possible treatment and care. You might be the nicest or friendliest therapy assistant, yet for some reason, certain patients will resist your efforts to help. Your interviewer might directly ask you how you handle difficult or resistant patients, or he may give you a case example and ask how you would work with a specific type of patient. You should be prepared to explain how you would handle a resistant patient, such as trying to gain insight into why the patient is refusing services or seeking guidance from your supervising OT.

Why Should We Hire You?

Even if you believe you are the best-qualified applicant for the job, you may have trouble articulating the exact reasons that you feel this way. Be prepared to provide specific examples of why you are more qualified than any other occupational therapy assistant applying for the position. You need to have a better answer than, "I am a hard worker," or "I'm a good fit for the position," advises MAS Medical Staffing. You might be a good fit for the position, but you should be able to explain why. Provide examples of your expertise in working with specific populations or disorders, or emphasize your unique personality traits, such as compassion and patience, that support your work as an occupational therapy assistant.

Do You Have Any Questions?

It's never a good idea to answer "no" when an interviewer asks if you have any questions. Asking questions shows you are interested and enthusiastic about the position. Thoroughly research the agency or institution before your interview, and ask targeted questions that show you've done your homework. The American Occupational Therapy Association's OTJobLink advises asking questions in specific areas, such as possible caseloads, supervision, the types of team members you'll be working with or continuing education opportunities.

About the Author

Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.