By Josephine Reid

Before I decided to pursue nursing, I did a few days of job shadowing in the local rehab hospital with a few OTs (Occupational Therapists. I actually cold called a handful of OT's and facilities before someone called me back. I would definitely job shadow a few OT's to see if it would be a good fit for you! My first-hand experience was priceless. -- EinGeidi explains on
Getting some hands-on insight could be the best way to decide between nursing or occupational therapy. Be sure to show up in your professional medical uniform.

Overall the two are similar, yet very different, career paths will have you making a difference in your patients’ lives.

Neither profession, nursing or OTA, typically keep regular hours. Depending on the job environment you find yourself in, you could work long hours on weekends or evenings. You may end up with a 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday schedule if you find work in a school system, but it’s more likely that you’ll end up in a hospital or home-care setting where you could be needed at all hours.

Both careers have a high demand.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted high growth and a high demand for both nursing and OTA professionals within the next 10 years. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 19 percent and employment of certified OTAs is expected to grow by 43 percent by 2022. The career outlook for occupational therapy assistant is great. It is one of the professions listed among the fastest-growing occupations in the United States that require an associate’s degree.

Degree Requirements

You can become an RN with an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), however, more and more employers are looking for nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Many current ADN nurses are being asked by their employers to go back to school to earn their BSN.

As an occupational therapy assistant, you can enter the workforce with just an associate’s degree.This means less time in school, fewer student loans, and more people you could be helping sooner. St. Catherine University’s online OTA program could have you graduating with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in just 16 months.

Each profession has their own distinct licensing and certification process.

OTA requires less of an investment in higher education, and are certified by the National Board Of Occupational Therapy while helping patients who can’t be helped by modern medicine.

I'm Josephine Reid and I work at headquarters in Los Angeles. I have a B.S. in Retail Merchandising and Business from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. I like to keep a beautiful balance of a creativity and business mindset.