Occupational Therapy Assistant
Occupational Therapy Assistants help clients across the life span reach functional goals related to play, work, education and self- care. For example, you may help an individual who has had a stroke re-learn to dress him/herself, or may help a child with cerebral palsy learn to operate a computer with adapted equipment. You could work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, schools and community centers. This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
- Estimated Length of Program: 2 years
- Credential Awarded: Associate in Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant
Occupational therapy practitioners help clients across the life span reach functional goals related to play, work, education and self care. The roles and skills which underlie these goals are in essence one's occupation and occupational tools. For example, a certified occupational therapy assistant may help an individual who has had a stroke re-learn to dress him/herself, or may help a child with cerebral palsy learn to operate a computer with adapted equipment. Occupational therapy serves those with psychosocial as well as physical health problems in a variety of settings such as hospitals and clinics, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, extended care facilities, sheltered workshops, schools, camps, private homes and community centers.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. AOTA's phone number is (301) 652-AOTA. Information regarding accreditation can be found at www.acoteonline.org. For certification, graduates of the program will be able to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapy Assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.
The Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant will be able to provide direct service to the client under the supervision of the Registered Occupational Therapist. The level of supervision is dependent on the specific service provided and the competency of the occupational therapy assistant.
The occupational therapy assistant curriculum is competency-based. It prepares the graduate to participate in a comprehensive care plan for the client. A three-fold program is utilized: prevention, remediation, and compensation for occupational life tasks and activities lost to illness, injury or delay. The student must complete one semester in supervised practice, Level II fieldwork, which will require travel and related expenses. It must be completed within 20 months of the didactic coursework.
Clinical rotations are an integral part of the occupational therapy assistant program curriculum. The clinical component is based on contracts negotiated with area health care and educational facilities. It should be noted that all students may not have clinical placements confirmed prior to graduation. Some students may need to attend clinical during the evening, weekend or summer. Please note some clinical affiliates require drug testing and further background investigation at additional cost to the student.
Upon successful completion of the requirements, the degree of Associate in Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant will be awarded.