Occupational Therapy Assistant

Associate Degree

Program Overview

Our Occupational Therapy Assistant associate program prepares you to assist people of all ages, with varying abilities and disabilities, to become independent in their day-to-day activities. Learn how to carry out treatment plans as a member of the rehabilitation team. Apply classroom training to real-life situations through fieldwork, and become eligible to sit for the national certification exam.

Career Possibilities

  • Occupational Therapy Assistant

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High School Graduation Year

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Associate in Science Degree

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) associate degree program prepares students to help a variety of people in many different environments. OTAs assist people of all ages, with varying abilities or handicaps[SJC1] , to gain independence in their day-to-day activities. The primary focus of occupational therapy practice is to enhance participation in meaningful occupations for all people of all ages, regardless of the type of limitation which interferes with participation in life activities. Occupational therapy is a hands-on career, which literally involves working to change people’s lives for the better. Because every client has a unique set of circumstances, OTAs help to develop and carry out an individualized plan of care for each client. 

Graduates of the OTA Associate in Science Degree program work not only in traditional medical environments but also work in community-based settings, work environments, schools and other agencies addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities. In the field, the OTA works cooperatively with a [CD2] registered occupational therapist (OTR) who is responsible for all aspects of occupational therapy care. Most of the time, however, the OTA works independently with individual clients or groups. In the associate degree program, students learn to act as part of the rehabilitation team, collecting data needed for the client’s initial evaluation, carrying out treatment plans, using technology to help people overcome disabilities, and designing activities to help people reach their goals.

The OTA program is offered in both day and evening sessions for courses in Quarters I through IV.  In Quarter V of the program, all courses are offered only during the day.

After completion of all classroom training on campus and Level I Fieldwork off campus, students enter the community for Level II Fieldwork. The two Level II Fieldwork experiences give students many opportunities to apply classroom training to real life situations. Upon successful completion of all degree requirements, students will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for Occupational Therapy Assistants. Employment is available in a wide variety of settings in the areas of physical disabilities, pediatrics, and geriatrics, as well as in mental health and wellness programs.  In addition, after completing certain prerequisites, graduates of this program are eligible to continue on for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management or apply for entry to the Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy.

ACCREDITATION STATUS

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. ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA, is 301-652-AOTA and its web address is  www.acoteonline.org .

The total number of graduates from the program during the three year period of 2012-2014 was 148 with an overall graduation rate of 71%.

Year Students Entered/Graduated Graduation Rate
2012 67/47 70%
2013 72/49 68%
2014 69/52 75%
Total 208/148 71%

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).  Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Most states, including Rhode Island, require licensure in order to practice. State licensure is usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. To access NBCOT examination data please use this link provided:  https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx. 

Associate in Science Degree

Program Mission, Goals and Outcomes

Program Mission:
The mission of the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program is to provide a specialized associate degree program to prepare students to become Occupational Therapy Assistants working in partnership with the Occupational Therapist. Through a combination of didactic, laboratory and fieldwork experiences, the program emphasizes application of knowledge to the provision of occupational therapy services to individuals who strive to live a productive life.

Program Goals:

  1. The OTA program will provide appropriate learning opportunities for students to acquire the theoretical knowledge, applicable skills and attitude necessary to function as an entry-level occupational therapy assistant.
  2. The OTA program will prepare students to sit for the national certification examination.
  3. The OTA program will endeavor to instill in the student a sense of commitment to the occupational therapy profession’s core values and ethics.

Program Outcomes:
Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Respect all people and cultures and render occupational therapy services to clients in various environments; for all populations, groups and individuals seeking services.
  2. Function as an advocate and partner in the health care team including the development of professional relationships with recipients of service and professional and non-professional care givers.
  3. Communicate through a variety of methods all material, information, services and documentation required as directed by practice guidelines and the law.
  4. Act in an ethically responsible way with regard to legal obligations applicable in all practice settings while adhering to the core values of occupational therapy practice.
  5. Follow and select all activities pertinent to meeting the objectives of the treatment plan and recognize the need for adaptation, adjustments and restructuring of the plan within the recognized role delineation of the occupational therapy assistant.
  6. Practice occupational therapy services using the most current evidence-based methods to ensure the highest quality of care.

Associate in Science Degree

  • OTA 110 Foundations of Occupational Therapy Assistant Practice
  • OTA 111 Foundations of Occupational Therapy Assistant Practice Lab
  • BIO 100 Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIO 101 Anatomy and Physiology I Lab
  • HS 120 Medical Terminology I
  • OTA 122 Development of Human Occupation Across the Lifespan
  • OTA 136 Level I Fieldwork – Mental Health
  • OTA 137 Mental Health Populations and Practice for Occupational Therapy
  • BIO 120 Anatomy and Physiology II
  • BIO 121 Anatomy and Physiology II Lab
  • HS 123 Medical Terminology II
  • OTA 123 Functional Kinesiology
  • OTA 132 Pediatric Populations
  • OTA 133 Pediatric Practice for Occupational Therapy
  • OTA 236 Level I Fieldwork – Adult Rehab
  • OTA 242 Adult Populations
  • OTA 243 Adult Practice for Occupational Therapy
  • OTA 250 Gerontology Practice for Occupational Therapy
  • OTA 255 Practice Issues for the Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • OTA 258 Level II Fieldwork l
  • OTA 263 Senior Capstone and Practice Development Seminar
  • OTA 268 Level II Fieldwork II
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