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Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

Occupational Therapy Assistant | Los Angeles, OC & Ontario, CA

Get hands-on training for a career where you can help patients become more independent and achieve better quality of life.

American Career College offers a 20-month certified Occupational Therapy Assistant associate degree program—uniquely blending classroom, clinical, and laboratory learning—so you may quickly and effectively prepare to succeed in this challenging yet rewarding field.

This program is taught in a blended format combining online classes and in-person instruction.

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"From financial aid down to the reps here, they really care about the students."

- Anthony R. Occupational Therapy Assistant Graduate
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Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Overview

The OTA curriculum exposes students to traditional areas of practice where occupational therapy professionals deliver their services. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Working with children and youth in clinical inpatient and clinical outpatient services, as well as in schools
  • Working with adults in clinical inpatient and clinical outpatient services, as well as in work hardening programs
  • Working with older adults in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and in day care centers
  • Working with adults with mental health and behavioral challenges who receive OT services in behavioral clinics, acute care community hospitals and state hospitals

The students will also have direct exposure to emerging practice areas, specifically to the driver rehabilitation program.

Through the OTA program, students have the opportunity to learn how to implement care plans, educate patients and caregivers, be sensitive to patients’ different cultural backgrounds, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide the best possible care.

Personal attitude is very important in the delivery of healthcare. 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 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. Program performance data can be accessed via the following link: www.nbcot.org/en/Educators/Home#SchoolPerformance. 

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.

 

Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
2018 50/36 72%
2019 32/23 72%
2020 52/40 77%
TOTAL 159/111 74%

For a breakdown of the program’s tuition and fees, please click here.

 

 

Careers After I Graduate

Once you successfully complete the ACC Occupational Therapy Assistant program, you will be able to sit for the national certification exam to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).

COTAs work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Offices of other health practitioners
  • Nursing care facilities
  • General medical and surgical hospitals1

OTAs can work with a range of ages—from young kids working to develop fine-motor skills to older adults recovering from injury or illness.

A Career That Grows with You

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.2

*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.

1California Employment Development Department Occupation Profile

2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides

What Will I Learn?

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 or injuries, and more.

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:

  • 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:

  • Principles of Occupational Therapy
  • 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
  • Level I Field Work
  • Occupational Performance from Birth and Adolescence
  • 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
  • Introduction to Fieldwork

What Will I Do as a Occupational Therapy Assistant?

Occupational therapy assistants 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 shirts or making breakfast. They also work with individuals who have mental illness, cognitive impairments, psychosocial dysfunction, or developmental challenges. OTAs can also work with children who have sensory processing disorders or learning problems, helping them develop fine-motor skills, hand-eye coordination, social skills, and more.1

Here are some things you may do:

  • Select therapy activities to fit patients’ needs and capacities
  • Help patients do therapeutic activities, such as stretches
  • Lead children who have developmental disabilities in play activities that promote coordination and socialization
  • Lead children who have developmental disabilities in play activities that promote coordination and socialization
  • Instruct patients and families in the use of adaptive equipment
  • Observe and record progress
  • Implement plans designed to help patients function independently1, 2

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.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides

2California Employment Development Department Occupation Profile

Meet the Program Director

Mary Kay Wolfe has been an occupational therapy (OT) practitioner for almost 20 years. With a specialization in mental health, she was the director of rehabilitation at an acute psychiatric hospital in LA before going into teaching full time.

She is very excited to be part of the ACC Occupational Therapy Assistant program where she can put her knowledge and skills to use and guide OTA students to be the best professionals they can be.

FAQs

What will I be trained to do as an occupational therapy assistant?

Occupational therapy assistants help a wide range of patients — from children with disabilities to accident survivors — develop or recover skills for daily living and working. Students in our occupational assistant therapy program will be trained to do the following:

  • Select therapy activities to fit patients’ needs and capacities
  • Observe and record progress
  • Instruct patients and families in basic living skills or the use of adaptive equipment
  • Implement plans designed to help patients function independently1

1California Employment Development Department Occupation Profile, Occupational Therapy Assistants

How long will it take to get my degree as an occupational therapy assistant?

Students can earn their degree to become an occupational therapy assistant in as little as 20 months.

Is financial aid available for the occupational therapy assistant program?

Yes, financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.

Where can I work as an occupational therapy assistant?

Occupational therapy assistans can work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Offices of other health practitioners
  • Nursing care facilities
  • General medical and surgical hospitals1

1California Employment Development Department Occupation Profile, Occupational Therapy Assistants

Will I get real-world training?

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.

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