When you earn an occupational therapy assistant degree, you get hands-on training to work with patients of all ages — helping them develop fine-motor skills, improve hand-eye coordination and enhance their social skills. Support your patients as they work on the skills they need to become more independent in day-to-day tasks.
Looking for the right occupational therapy assistant school? ACC’s 20-month Occupational Therapy Assistant program helps prepare you through classroom, lab and real-world experience. Train to help patients with physical impairments, mental illness, or developmental challenges. Gain knowledge that helps prepare you to work with children with sensory processing disorders, learning challenges and more.
Find an Occupational Therapy Assistant program near you. Our program is available at our Orange County campus in Anaheim.
This program is taught in a blended format combining online classes with in-person instruction.
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Create environmental and task-related adaptations to improve patients’ ability to perform daily activities such as dressing and bathing.
Practice measuring and recording patient heart rates.
Record patients’ progress, report to occupational therapists and carry out other administrative tasks.
Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs), work closely with occupational therapists to lead patients through exercises and therapies. OTAs are an important part of a team that’s dedicated to helping patients develop skills for day-to-day living.
They can work with adults who have been through accidents or illnesses, helping ensure they can do daily tasks like buttoning their shirts or making breakfast. They also work with individuals who have mental illness, cognitive impairments, psychosocial dysfunction or developmental challenges. Additionally, OTAs can also work with children who have sensory processing disorders or learning challenges, helping them develop fine-motor skills, hand-eye coordination, social skills and more.1
Here are some things occupational therapy assistants do:
1Occupational Therapy (for Parents) - Nemours Kids Health, Finlan , kidshealth.org/en/parents/occupational-therapy.html
3Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides : Occupational Outlook Handbook www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm#tab-2
If you want a hands-on career that has you working with people one-on-one to help improve patients’ quality of life and independence, you might enjoy occupational therapy.
Here are some of the top skills and attributes that make for a great occupational therapy assistant:
Active listening – A good occupational therapy assistant can actively listen to their patients and understand their unique needs and goals.
Communication – Because occupational therapy assistants work directly with patients, they must be able to communicate effectively with them, explaining exercises, adaptive devices, and more.
Social perceptiveness - Being aware of and understanding patients’ reactions helps occupational therapy assistants provide patient-centered service.
Service orientation – A great occupational therapy assistant has a passion for helping patients and for providing the best care possible.
Instructing – Occupational therapy assistants must be able to lead patients through exercises and teach them how to properly use any assistive devices.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant (Associate of Occupational Science) program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) (ACOTE 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929; Phone: 301-652-AOTA / www.acoteonline.org).
Graduates of the accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant program are eligible to take the national certification examination for the occupation therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate‘s ability to perform fieldwork, take the NBCOT certification examination, and attain state licensure.
ACOTE® accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs satisfy the states’ educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Students graduating from an ACOTE® accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational program are eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification exam and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, please refer to the AOTA State Licensure webpage.
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Occupational therapy assistants can work in a variety of settings, including:
Our philosophical belief is that humans are active beings—and the Occupational Therapy Assistant class curriculum encourages students to become active in their own process of learning. The class curriculum follows a human developmental model (biological and psychological) as the conceptual framework and the three domains of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains.
The human developmental model is used to guide college students in developing their clinical skills, and in understanding the impact of challenges on occupational performance during the life span of individuals. The three domains of Bloom’s taxonomy (knowledge, skills and attitude) are applied throughout the class curriculum.
The class curriculum has been developed to promote the development and shaping of intellectual skills. Students will recognize facts, procedural patterns and concepts. The acquisition of skills pertinent to the profession, such as practice of hands-on activities, is of utmost importance and is used extensively throughout the school's program.
Through a combination of classroom instruction and fieldwork experience, you’ll gain skills that will help prepare you to work with a diverse range of patients, including adults with mental illness, children with disabilities, people recovering from accidents/injuries and more.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is 99 quarter credits to be completed in 20 months. The last four months of the school's program are dedicated to full-time fieldwork experience (clinical education under the supervision of an OTA or OT professional).
General Education Courses:
Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology – Lab
Written Communications I
College Mathematics I
Introduction to Psychology
Core Occupational Therapy Assistant and Other Courses:
Anatomy and Physiology for Rehab Professionals
Principles of OT
Conditions in Occupational Therapy I
Therapeutic Use of Occupations
Conditions in Occupational Therapy II
Human Structure and Function in Occupational Therapy
Professional Communication for Health Professionals
Group Dynamics and Leadership
Introduction to Fieldwork
Occupational Performance from Birth and Adolescence
Level I Field Work
Occupational Therapy Services in Psychosocial Settings
Occupational Performance in Adulthood
Inter-professional Collaborative Practice and Cultural Competence in Healthcare
Occupational Performance in the Elderly
OTA Clinical Competency
Business Concepts in Healthcare
Level II Fieldwork A
Level II Fieldwork B
For a complete description of coursework in these modules, please refer to the ACC Catalog.
Students can earn their occupational therapy assistant associate degree in as little as 20 months.
Our admissions advisors and financial aid advisors are here to support you. They can help you figure out the occuptational therapy assistant school cost and help you explore financial aid options.
To learn more about ACC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program cost, access our tuition info.
Yes, financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.
Yes! ACC's Occupational Therapy Assistant program includes over 700 hours of field work which gives students the opportunity to demonstrate and reinforce the knowledge and skills they acquired learning hands-on throughout the training program.
Our Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program gives you an education modeled after real-life situations, allowing you to make a real impact on people's lives in a rewarding and growing career.
Dr. Vicky Vu has been a pediatric occupational therapist for 27 years with clinical expertise in developmental movement assessment, neurodevelopmental treatment, feeding and swallowing, and infant massage. She started her career at California Children Services servicing children with neuromuscular diseases in an outpatient setting, consulting in the home and school. She transitioned to academia for 5 years serving OTA students. For the past 9 years, she became a neonatal therapist in the NICU at Children’s Hospital of Orange County promoting OT practice in palliative care. In addition, she created the Brachial Plexus Palsy clinic with Dr. Amber Leis. She is now the Program Director for the OTA program at American Career College. She has always been dedicated to the growth and empowerment of children of all disabilities in their journey to independence.
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