Program Overview

Occupational Therapist Assistant

Are you interested in a career where you will have a profound impact on the quality of life of individuals from birth to geriatric? Certified occupational therapy assistants are an integral part of the healthcare team. We see people holistically, meaning a focus on the person, not just their diagnosis. Occupational therapy looks at the person’s ability to engage in meaningful, everyday tasks, including in their work settings. The hands-on learning environment connects students in an intimate, supportive atmosphere allowing students the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills taught by experienced practitioners and educators.

This program is recognized by the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).  Additionally, the program meets all the requirements for graduates of the program to sit for the National Certification Examination given by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Eligible candidates must be free of a felony charge which may impact the ability to sit for the NBCOT exam. Graduate outcomes show that our students are highly successful in program.

Rehabilitation Science Bachelor’s Degree

Occupational Therapy Master’s Degree

Another exciting opportunity exists for those considering a career in Occupational Therapy!  NEIT also offers a bridge program to become a master’s degree level registered occupational therapist.  You can earn this degree in 2 1/2 years!

Occupational Therapy Post-Professional Doctorate

Our programs also include a post professional doctorate in occupational therapy (insert program link here) which is an extraordinary way to advance your practice by using evidence to guide you through a comprehensive and student-centered research project to advance your professional career.

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Full Description

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) associate degree program prepares students to help a variety people in many different environments. It is the job of an occupational therapy assistant to assist people of all ages, with varying abilities or handicaps, to gain independence in their day-to-day activities.

The primary focus of an occupational therapy assistant is to enhance participation in meaningful occupations for people of all ages, regardless of the type of limitation that interferes with their daily life activities. Being an occupational therapy assistant is a hands-on career, which involves working to change people’s lives for the better. As every client has a unique set of circumstances, OTAs help develop and carry out an individualized care plan for each client.

Graduates of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate degree program work in traditional medical environments and work in community-based settings, work environments, schools, and other agencies addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities.

In the field, the occupational therapy assistant works cooperatively with a registered occupational therapist (OTR) 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
  • collect data needed for the client’s initial evaluation
  • carry out treatment plans
  • use technology to help people overcome disabilities
  • design activities to help people reach their goals

After completing all classroom training on campus and Level I Fieldwork off-campus, students of the occupational therapy assistant program 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 completing all degree requirements, associate degree students will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for Occupational Therapy Assistants. Only after passing this exam will a student qualify as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).

Employment for a certified occupational therapy assistant is available in various settings in physical disabilities, pediatrics, geriatrics, and mental health and wellness programs. Besides, graduates of this associate degree program are eligible to continue with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Sciences 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 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and the 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). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Most states, including Rhode Island, require licensure in order to practice. State licensure is usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or 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.

 

FAQ

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 applying knowledge to the provision of occupational therapy services to individuals who strive to live a productive life.

Program Goals

  1. The OTA associate degree 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 Occupation Therapy Assistant program will prepare students to sit for the national certification examination.
  3. The Occupation Therapy Assistant associate degree 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 the Occupation Therapy Assistant 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 healthcare team, including developing professional relationships with recipients of service and professional and non-professional caregivers.
  3. Communicate through various 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.

Courses Offered

Courses in the Occupation Therapy Assistant program offer each student all the requisite tools needed to become a competent, successful, and certified occupational therapy assistant. The course structure ensures that the occupational therapy assistant program graduate has all the knowledge and skill to assist a registered occupational therapist.

Courses offered in the occupational therapy assistant program include the following:

  • Foundations of Occupational Therapy Assistant Practice and Foundations of Occupational Therapy Assistant Practice Lab
  • Development of Human Occupation Across the Lifespan
  • Functional Kinesiology
  • Pediatric Practice for Occupational Therapy
  • Mental Health Populations and Practice for Occupational Therapy
  • Adult Practice for Occupational Therapy
  • Gerontology Practice for Occupational Therapy
  • Practice Issues for the Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Anatomy and Physiology and Anatomy and Physiology Labs
  • Healthcare Communications
  • Medical Terminology

These are just some of the main courses offered within our Occupational Therapy Assistant program.

For the latest listing of courses offered, please review our University Catalog here.