Discover a rewarding career that’s in demand! Employment of Occupational Therapy Assistants is projected to grow 31.6 percent from 2014 to 2024 (California Employment Development Department).
American Career College offers a 20-month certified Occupational Therapy Assistants associate degree program - uniquely blending classroom, clinical, and laboratory learning—so you may quickly and effectively prepare you to succeed in this challenging yet rewarding field.
Throughout the curriculum, OTA program students are exposed to traditional areas of practice where occupational therapy professionals deliver their services. These areas of practice include, but are not limited to the following:
The students will also have direct exposure to emerging practice areas, specifically to the driver rehabilitation program.
The OTA program teaches students to implement occupational therapy treatment care plans, train and educate clients and their caregivers, be sensitive to clients’ different cultural backgrounds, embrace occupation-based practice as “the means and the end” of the OT practice, and to collaborate with other health care professionals to provide excellent, occupation-based and client-centered care under the appropriate supervision of a licensed occupational therapist.
Personal attitude is very important in the delivery of health care. As such, OTA students’ awareness of their own behavioral strengths and weaknesses and how that affects their attitude is strongly emphasized from day one of the occupational therapy assistant program. This is accomplished through self-assessment of behavior using a modified form of the Generic Abilities Assessment tool.
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 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449; 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.
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Upon successful completion of the ACC Occupational Therapy Assistant program, you will be able to sit for the National Certification Exam. Upon passing the exam, you will become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
As a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, you will have the opportunity to work as an entry-level therapist in settings such as:
Employment of Occupational Therapy Assistants is projected to grow 43.8 percent from 2012 to 2022 (California Employment Development Department). Demand for occupational therapy is expected to rise significantly over the coming decade in response to the health needs of the aging baby-boom generation and a growing elderly population. Older adults are more prone than younger people to conditions and ailments such as arthritis and stroke. These conditions can affect the ability to perform a variety of everyday activities. Occupational therapy assistants will be needed to help occupational therapists in caring for these people. Occupational therapy will also continue to be used for treating children and young adults with developmental disabilities like autism.
*Administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice and licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.
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.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is 98 quarter credits to be completed in twenty months. The last four months of the school's program are dedicated to a full time Fieldwork experience (clinical education under the supervision of an OTA or OT professional).
General Education Courses:
Core Occupational Therapy Assistant and Other Courses:
Occupational therapy assistants help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in providing therapy to patients, while occupational therapy assistants typically perform support activities. Assistants work under the direction of Occupational Therapists.
Occupational therapy assistants typically do the following:
Occupational therapy assistants collaborate with occupational therapists to develop and carry out a treatment plan for each patient. Treatment plans range from teaching the proper way for patients to move from a bed into a wheelchair to the best way to stretch their muscles. For example, an occupational therapy assistant might support injured workers’ return to the workforce by teaching them how to work around lost motor skills.
These professionals may also work with people with learning disabilities to teach them skills that allow them to be more independent.
Assistants monitor activities to make sure patients are doing them correctly. They also encourage the patients. They record the patient’s progress so the therapist can change the treatment plan if the patient is not getting the desired results.
For more information on a career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, please visit the American Occupational Therapy Association's website at http://www.aota.org.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition
Jeni Dulek, OTD, OTR/L, CHEP
Dr. Jeni Dulek graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy in 2000, and in 2015 obtained a Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) with an emphasis in Education from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, Utah.
She previously served as Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Instructor, and Assistant Program Director of American Career College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, where she was a founding member. She has devoted her 17-year clinical practice to working with people with mental illness, in long-term and short-term inpatient and outpatient settings.
In addition to her clinical work, she has been an adjunct faculty member of several occupational therapy programs in New York City, published research in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, and presented original projects at national and regional conferences.