During a call with AOTA volunteers in early January, AOTA announced a major overhaul of its membership structure and website. This rebranding was started by a new logo and colors which was released in March of 2020. They have now released the details of their new membership tiers and their website and I’m excited to share them with you! These changes take effect on January 20, 2022!
AOTA has around 65k members 30k students, 30k OTs, 3,500 OTAs. These numbers were shocking given that there are over 140k estimated OTs in the US and approximately 40k OTAs. This means that only 20% of OTs and only 8% of OTAs are members… That has to change and it starts with us. AOTA represents us on a national and international stage and it is important we have all voices represented. The only way we can do that is through membership.
The changes to membership were made based on results from an AOTA survey sent out earlier in the year. They found that some members were willing to trade certain benefits in order to receive a lower cost per year. Personally, I think these new tiers will help improve membership through new price points and new benefits.
AOTA Membership Gets a Big Overhaul
The largest change announced in this meeting was the change in membership tiers. Although there were different types of membership based on your credentials and if you are a student, everyone received access to the same resources.
Some of the AOTA Membership Benefits before 2022
AOTA membership tiers consisted of the following with the only difference being cost. Most plans offer a monthly payment plan as opposed to a one-time payment.
|Type of Membership:||OT||OTA|
|1st Year New Practitioner||$119/yr||$95/yr|
|2nd Year New Practitioner||$175/yr||$120/yr|
|Post-Professional Masters||$300 for 2 years|
|Post-Professional Doctorate||$600 for 4 years|
New Membership Tiers
Through the member feedback survey, AOTA identified that the main barrier to membership is cost. (If you are an AOTA member, you are able to participate in surveys like this and it is important that you do!) Based on this feedback, they developed be membership tiers below.
|Membership Type||Occupational Therapist||Occupational Therapy Assistant|
|Basic*||$150/yr or $14/month||$125/yr or $12/month|
|Plus+||$220/yr or $20/month||$195/yr or $18/month|
|Premium||$675/yr or $59/month||$650/yr or $56/month|
What is currently included in each level based on member feedback.
|Current Best Practice||x||x||x|
|Unlimited access to >190 CEUs||x||x|
|Full access to AOTA’s Salary and Workforce Survey||x||x|
|Custom Report Builder||x||x|
|Full access to AOTA INSPIRE Annual Conference & Expo||x|
As you can see the basic membership plans while less expensive does not contain as many benefits as more expensive plans. The Plus+ membership is largely similar in both price and benefits to the current membership for OTs. For OTAs, there is a small change in the price for basic membership and a about $60 increase to the Plus+ membership as compared to prior benefits. Student memberships remain unchanged in the new tiers both in price and in benefits.
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What happens to your membership on January 20, 2022?
So what happens if you aren’t yet up for renewal by the time these options are available?
All existing members except for students, associates, and retired members, will be automatically granted access to Plus+ benefits starting January 20th through the end of their membership term.
So, for example, my membership is due in August. I will be automatically categorized as a Plus+ member on January 20th and then I have the option to either stay Plus+, go down to Basic, or move up to Premium. If you’re a student, nothing changes.
New Website! A much-needed change
Membership isn’t the only major update! AOTA announced a BRAND NEW WEBSITE!
AOTA’s website has always had fabulous resources, but finding them… was a bit of a nightmare. This update is MUCH needed and should really bring value to members. I can attest that AOTA staff have been hard at work updating resources, archiving old resources, and improving navigation and flow.
Goals for the new website
- Welcoming and user friendly
- Focused on your needs
- New navigation system and enhanced search functions
- Improved access for all regardless of abilities
- Working towards level 2A of website accessibility guidelines
- Improved access for members and non-members
- Non-members will be able to preview member-only resources
AOTA has renamed and reorganized their headings
- Practice – essential resources to stay current on best practices
- Community – new
This website brings a new and improved organizational layout and a new look. Making the website more user-friendly should help practitioners and students gain access to updated resources needed to be successful in their careers. The home page looks cleaner and seems easier to navigate overall. The new website will also debut on January 20, 2022.
I think these membership changes are overall a good thing. Everyone still maintains access to the advocacy and work AOTA is engaging in on our behalf and as well as access to AOTPAC which is one of the main reasons I am a member. I anticipate that many of the resources listed above will continue to be available to all memberships, and the table may only include the main differences.
I think the Basic plan is a good option for individuals who choose to use a separate service for their CEUs. The $70 can go towards a CEU subscription. However, most CEU subscriptions are $100-200/year.
For me, the incentive to upgrade to Plus+ is unlimited access to free CUEs. I have yet to have a bad experience with CEUs on AOTA’s website and I appreciate the CEUs produced by staff as I know they are accurate and are written with the OT profession in mind.
The Premium membership holds some good options and is something I’m considering. I like that I can pay for my AOTA INSPIRE Fees throughout the year instead of trying to save up for each spring. However, I’m not sure how it will be handled if I would be unable to attend INSPIRE or if they continue to have speaker discounts.
AOTA wants to hear from you!
What do you think of these membership changes? AOTA wants your feedback and what you think could be improved or what you like about these changes. You can provide feedback on these membership options at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m curious to know what you think as well! Do you think these changes will help increase membership? Did they change your opinion on if you do or do not want to be a member? If you’re not yet convinced, check out this article on 10 Reasons AOTA Membership makes you the ultimate OT Advocate!
You can access the recording for AOTA Volunteer Info Session HERE