The Occupational Therapy Assistant program prepares graduates to function as members of the health care team. Working under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist, the occupational therapy assistant helps disabled people of all ages acquire, improve, or regain the ability to do all activities that have meaning, value or purpose. The graduate Occupational Therapy Assistant will be responsible for assisting with evaluating clients and determining treatment goals, providing treatment, evaluating treatment effectiveness, maintaining appropriate records, and assisting with department upkeep.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program consists of eight full-time quarters of academic work and clinical experience (called fieldwork). The curriculum combines basic biological and behavioral sciences with specific courses in theories of occupational therapy and occupational therapy treatment modalities. Students will have both on campus laboratory experiences and off campus clinical laboratory experiences. Fieldwork portions of the program must be completed within 18 months of the completion of academic preparation.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), c/o Accreditation Department of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, suite 200, Bethesda, MD, 20824-3449. ACOTE’s phone number, c/o AOTA, is 301-652-AOTA and its website is www.acoteonline.org. 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) located at 800 S. Fredrick Avenue, Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877-4150. NBCOT’s phone number is 301-990-7979. 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. A felony conviction may limit an individual’s ability to be certified or licensed. Individuals with a felony record should contact the NBCOT to determine eligibility before applying to the program.
The 2014 Occupational Outlook Handbook of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor stated that employment of occupational therapy assistants is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2020. Employment can be found in medical centers, nursing and rehabilitation facilities, schools, community-based programs, vocational/industrial programs, hospitals and physician’s offices. Job titles include, but are not limited to, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, activity director, patient advocate, rehabilitation specialist, case manager, and workshop specialist.
Admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant program is selective. A complete list of admission criteria may be obtained from the program director.