Occupational
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Occupational therapy professionals work with clients who are injured, disabled or ill to help them understand and overcome any limitations on their abilities. The field offers three career choices, each requiring a different level of education: occupational therapist, occupational therapy assistant and occupational therapy aide. To help you choose the program that best suits your goals, this guide provides information about educational and employment requirements and insight from those working in the field.

Best Occupational Therapy Schools: 2016-2017

A degree in occupational therapy is a popular choice for students looking to enter a fulfilling career that improves clients’ quality of life. Since most professions in this field require some level of degree completion, it may be beneficial for students to enroll in one of the top programs in this field. To help students find the best schools, we have ranked all of the occupational therapy programs in the nation based on factors such as cost, student-to-teacher ratio and graduation rates. Discover the top occupational therapy programs for 2016-2017 below.

Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
1 Houston Community College
99.79 3% 2 22:1 11%

Houston Community College has a two-year Occupational Therapy Assistant program, in which students will earn an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. There are very specific requirements for admission to the program, such as documented observation hours, letters of recommendation, and pre-requisite classes. Curriculum includes classroom time along with field experience during the practicum and capstone courses. Upon completion, graduates can work as Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTA), which work directly under the supervision of Registered Occupational Therapists, typically in schools, hospitals and clinic settings. Certification for OTAs can be obtained by passing The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy examination.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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2 Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus
99.70 5% 1 14:1 20%

The occupational therapy assistant program at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell (ENMU-R), is an accredited two-year program, with an additional 16 weeks spent in clinical affiliation. Upon completion, students will earn an Associate in Science (AAS) degree, and are prepared to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy examination to become certified, and can then obtain state licensure. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) typically work in areas such as schools, clinics, hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, and work under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist. ENMU-R students can train at the Rehabilitation Center, one of only a few working hospitals in the U.S. located on a community college campus.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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3 South Arkansas Community College
99.17 4% 1 14:1 10%

South Arkansas Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree program for Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs). Only 17 students are admitted each year, and during the program must keep a "C" grade or above. Classes are full-time during the day, with possible weekend hours during the fieldwork portion of the program. The curriculum prepares students to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam which is needed to become a COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant), and once certified, state licensure can be obtained. Students in the OTA program can join Omega Theta Alpha (OTA), a club for students of the OTA Program.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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4 Cape Fear Community College
99.07 9% 1 13:1 14%

In addition to prerequisites, The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) takes five semesters to complete, with fieldwork beginning in the second semester. Graduates of the program will earn an AAS degree, and are qualified to take the national certification exam to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs). A COTA must then obtain North Carolina licensure to practice occupational therapy. Graduates typically work in hospital, clinic or school settings, working with all types of people, including children and the elderly. OTA students have several opportunities for involvement, including the CFCC Student Occupational Therapy Assistant Club, and as graduates can join several professional organizations.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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5 Itawamba Community College
99.02 52% 1 19:1 26%

Itawamba Community College (ICC) has a couple options for those interested in a career in occupational therapy. ICC offers a university transfer program for students planning to become occupational therapists, and an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program for those planning to work as OTAs. The OTA program curriculum is a combination of classes, lab time and fieldwork, and takes about two-years to complete. OTA students will receive an AAS degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant Technology upon completion. OTA graduates are prepared to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) after passing the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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6 Augusta Technical College
98.94 20% 1 14:1 20%

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program at Augusta Technical College is designed to prepare students to work as Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) under supervision of a registered occupational therapist in a healthcare setting. The OTA program is a two-year program that combines academic courses with clinical experiences, and upon graduation, students are prepared to take the NBCOT exam. Passing the NBCOT exam provides OTA program graduates with professional certification and the title of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Students of the OTA program at Augusta may be eligible for scholarships funded by the Augusta Technical Institute Foundation, in addition to external scholarships.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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7 Sinclair College
98.82 28% 1 15:1 17%

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at Sinclair College is an accredited, full-time, two-year program that prepares students to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs). To become certified, graduates of the program must sit for the NBCOT exam and can then obtain state licensure to work under supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist. The OTA students at Sinclair College will receive extensive clinical training throughout the program, with specific fieldwork requirements in order to graduate. The curriculum combines technical courses with biological and behavioral sciences, and some transfer courses may be excepted. Upon graduation, students will be eligible to receive an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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8 Central Community College
98.55 34% 1 14:1 25%

Central Community College (CCC) offers Nebraska's only two-year Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program, and admittance is capped at 18 students per year. There are very specific requirements once admitted, which include maintaining a "C" grade or above, CPR certification and mandatory American Occupational Therapy Association membership. Upon graduation, students will receive an AAS degree and are prepared to take the national certification examination to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs). Once certified, COTAs can obtain state licensure and begin working under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist in a healthcare setting, typically helping with rehabilitation and life skills.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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9 East Arkansas Community College
98.38 15% 1 16:1 12%

Students at East Arkansas Community College (EACC) can earn an Associate in Applied Science degree in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program. This program is six semesters, in addition to prerequisite classes, and requires a minimum of 40 hours of commitment from students. The curriculum is a combination of academic courses and fieldwork, and prepares students to take the NBCOT exam for assistants. Upon passing the exam, OTA program graduates become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs). Graduates work with people with physical and social challenges, often in clinics, schools, rehabilitation centers and hospitals, under supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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10 Pitt Community College
98.34 11% 1 17:1 13%

Pitt Community College offers a full-time Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, with classes and clinical time during the day only. The program is six semesters, with a spring semester start, in addition to prerequisite class time, and has specific admission requirements along with the general college admission requirements. Clinical time and fieldwork are a large part of the program, and will take place in both North and South Carolina, requiring students to travel. Upon graduation, students earn an Associate in Applied Science degree and qualify to sit for the NBCOT exam, which is required to obtain Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) credentials.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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11 State Fair Community College
98.31 14% 1 17:1 21%

The Missouri Health Professions Consortium (MHPC) Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at State Fair Community College (SFCC) is one of five Missouri schools chosen by MHPC to offer the program. Students who complete the program earn an Associate in Applied Science degree, which can be turned into a Bachelor of Science in Allied Health degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia. A graduate of the OTA program is qualified to take the NBCOT exam to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Once COTA credentials are received, the graduate can obtain Missouri licensure and can begin work as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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12 Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
98.17 11% 1 15:1 16%

Cincinnati State offers over 100 degree and certificate programs, including the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program, which is a two-year Associate in Applied Science degree program. The OTA program is located in the Eileen Berke Occupational Therapy Center, a donated house across the street from the campus, which will also soon serve as a state-of-the-art demonstration facility for home care and a training center, while also providing outreach services and creating awareness of occupational therapy. The OTA Program is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions as Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) after passing the national certification exam.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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13 Murray State College
98.15 30% 1 16:1 18%

Students planning a career as an occupational therapy assistant can earn an AAS degree through the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at Murray State College. The curriculum is a combination of classroom time, lab and clinical experience, with the first year classes being pre-requisites and the second year being the "specialized year" with only OTA classes and fieldwork, which usually takes place during weekdays. Graduates of the OTA Program can earn their Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) credentials by taking the NBCOT exam, which leads to state licensure, both of which are required to work as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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14 Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas
98.05 16% 1 16:1 22%

Cossatot Community College, part of the University of Arkansas, offers an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program, which takes two and a half years to complete. Graduates will earn an AAS degree and can sit for the national certification exam to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs), along with state licensure. About 15 students are accepted to the OTA Program per year, which is determined by a student's ranking based on specific criteria, such as test scores, submitted essay and recommendations. The program is split into pre-requisite and technical portions, with fieldwork in latter, plus an online course designed to help students with the transition from student to clinician.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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15 North Central State College
97.99 9% 1 15:1 13%

North Central State College offers several degree and certificate programs, with the Health and Public Services programs being the most popular, which includes the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program. The curriculum consists of general foundation courses with a portion dedicated to OTA specific courses along with clinical time, resulting in an Associate in Applied Science degree. Upon graduation, students can become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) by passing the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam for assistants and must also obtain Ohio state licensure. COTAs work under supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist often in schools, hospitals, clinics and rehabilitation facilities.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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16 Jefferson College
97.85 12% 1 19:1 24%

Jefferson College of Health Sciences offers certificates, associate, bachelor's and graduate degrees, including the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program. This program was established in 1992, making it the oldest OTA program in Virginia. The program has a selective admission process, which includes submission of a portfolio of achievements, an essay and an on-campus interview. The curriculum mixes classroom and lab time with extensive fieldwork, with possible travel required. Graduates can sit for the national certification examination to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants and apply for Virginia State licensure. Once these credentials are obtained, graduates of the OTA Program can work under supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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17 Owens Community College
97.78 12% 1 16:1 7%

Owen Community College's Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program is located on the Toledo campus. The program takes six semesters to complete, including a pre-OTA semester and fieldwork, with some of the general education courses transferable to an Ohio university. A graduate of the OTA program will earn an Associate in Applied Science degree and is prepared to take the national certification exam to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. OTA students at OCC have several opportunities for involvement through school clubs and organizations, such as the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA), which provides opportunities for community service and participation in local and national occupational therapy events.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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18 Delaware Technical Community College-Owens
97.76 15% 1 13:1 20%

Delaware Technical Community College (DTCC) has over 200 programs that will transfer to four-year universities via the Connected Degree Program, including the Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA) Program. A graduate of the OTA Program will receive an associate degree and can transfer to Wilmington University as a junior into the Behavioral Science or Allied Heath bachelor's degree programs. Although this is a great option for some students, the OTA Program at DTCC is career-oriented and designed to prepare students for work as entry-level Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs). After passing the national certification board exam, COTAs often work in schools, rehabilitation facilities, clinics and hospitals.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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19 Roane State Community College
97.43 7% 1 16:1 17%

Roane State's Occupational Therapy Assistant Program takes four semesters to complete, in addition to prerequisite semesters. Three semesters are dedicated to academic prep and one semester consists of full-time fieldwork. Along with clinical time, the curriculum is made up of hybrid and online courses plus lab time, which requires students to travel to the Oak Ridge campus once a week, although students are typically on campus two days a week. Upon completion of the program, graduates receive an Associate in Applied Science degree and can sit for the national certification exam to receive their Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) credential.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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20 Wallace State Community College - Hanceville
97.41 21% 1 16:1 20%

Wallace State Community College (WSCC) has the widest variety of community college health programs in Alabama, which includes the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program. The OTA Program is made up of two pre-requisite semesters and three program semesters. Graduates of the program earn an Associate of Applied Science degree and can obtain Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) status after passing the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam. COTAs work under supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist in a variety of clinical settings with a wide range of people, including children and the elderly.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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21 Del Mar College
97.25 18% 1 14:1 10%

Students planning a career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) can earn an AAS degree at Del Mar College (DMC) in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. Admission to the program is based on a ranking point system, with requirements such as letters of recommendation and at least 10 hours of observation in an occupational therapy setting. Graduates must pass the national certification exam in order to work as Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, and can also transfer their AAS degree to certain Texas four-year colleges to obtain a BAAS (Bachelor's of Applied Arts and Sciences). DMC also has an informational web page dedicated to the OTA program.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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22 Lorain County Community College
97.23 25% 1 20:1 10%

Lorain County Community College (LCCC) offers the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program in partnership with the EHOVE Career Center. In addition, LCCC is the only community college in Ohio with the University Partnership program, which allows students to pursue bachelor's and master's degrees from the LCCC campus. The OTA Program at LCCC takes six semesters to complete, in addition to pre-admission courses, with fieldwork throughout most of the program, and an AAS degree awarded to students upon completion. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to take the national certification examination to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs).

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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23 Kennebec Valley Community College
97.18 38% 1 18:1 42%

Kennebec Valley Community College offers a two-year Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program, which is the only OTA program in the state of Maine. This program takes five semesters to complete, including a summer session, with the last semester dedicated to fieldwork. The program is designed to prepare students for entry-level work in the Occupational Therapy field under supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist in a variety of clinical settings. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy examination to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants and upon passing, can obtain state licensure.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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24 Weatherford College
97.15 16% 1 18:1 17%

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Weatherford college is a two-year program resulting in an Associate in Applied Science degree. Once the prerequisite class requirements have been met, the program takes about 20 months to complete. The program curriculum combines lecture and classroom time with lab and clinical experience/fieldwork, preparing students for work as Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs), providing occupational therapy services under direct supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist. Certification is achieved by passing the national certification examination, and once certified, graduates of the OTA program can apply for a state license, which is required to work as a COTA in Texas.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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25 Delaware Technical Community College-Stanton/Wilmington
97.00 7% 1 13:1 9%

College-bound students interested in becoming a certified occupational therapy assistant may gain the necessary skills to enter the field through Delaware Technical Community College's associate degree program. Students will learn from experienced professionals such as teachers, doctors, physical therapists, and speech therapists to learn the best ways to improve the quality of life for patients. Graduates of the program may be qualified to take the National Certification Exam for Occupational Therapy Assistants, of which the school boasts a passing rate of over 92 percent in previous years. Graduates may also work through the Connected Degree program to continue their education at a four-year institution.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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26 Southwest Virginia Community College
96.85 58% 1 24:1 32%

Southwest Virginia Community College offers a two-year Occupational Therapy Assistant program, with an additional accredited site at Virginia Highlands Community College. The program is five semesters in length, with 40 hours a week clinical time required during the last semester, with possible travel. The curriculum contains both on-site and online lectures, lab time and practical experience obtained during fieldwork. Students who are residents of certain counties will be given priority for admission to the program. Graduates are considered qualified to take the national certification exam to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, which is required to work in the occupational therapy field.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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27 East Central College
96.81 6% 1 19:1 17%

East Central College (ECC) offers an Associate in Applied Science program for the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA). ECC is one of five Missouri Health Professions Consortium Schools that offers an OTA program coordinated through the University of Missouri School of Health Professions. The curriculum contains a mix of general education, classroom time, lab work and clinical fieldwork. The professional level coursework is specific to OTA training, and students will access these classes through an interactive t.v. and internet program, which comes from a University of Missouri classroom. Upon completion of the program, graduates obtain Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant credentials by passing the national certification exam.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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28 North Dakota State College of Science
96.80 31% 1 12:1 47%

The North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program is a two-year program, with a three-year option, depending on the student's needs. The two-year program consists of three semesters of academic courses and one semester of full-time fieldwork. Admission to the program includes specific requirements such as 20 hours of community service or occupational therapy observation and a series of departmental interviews. The program prepares students for work in the occupational therapy field under supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist in varying health care settings. OTA graduates must be Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, which they get by passing the national certification exam.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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29 Zane State College
96.80 28% 1 16:1 26%

Zane State College offers over 40 degree and certificate programs, including the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. This program is 8 full-time quarters in length, and is made up of academic courses and fieldwork, with a mix of lab, lecture and hands-on clinical experience. Graduates receive an Associate in Applied Science degree and are prepared to sit for the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy exam. Passing this exam enables graduates to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, which is required to work in the field, along with state licensure. OTA students at Zane State College can apply for several external and internal scholarships, such as the Foundation Scholarship.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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30 Rhodes State College
96.76 15% 1 14:1 19%

Rhodes State College offers a two-year Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program which results in an Associate in Applied Science degree. The program is designed to prepare students for the national board exam to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) and Ohio State licensure, which is required to work as an OTA. Once a graduate of the Rhodes State College OTA Program has worked as a COTA for a year, he/she has the option to pursue a master's degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Findlay, Ohio. The master program is designed specifically for those who have an AAS degree in OTA.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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31 Casper College
96.70 42% 1 12:1 30%

The Casper College Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program is a two-year, accredited Associate in Applied Science degree program. Admission to the program is selective, allowing for a low student-to-teacher ratio. The program is six semesters in length, including a summer session, and includes two 8-week fieldwork sessions during the last semester. Graduates of this program are prepared to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) by taking the required National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam. OTA students also have several opportunities to take part in specialized certification programs, which include Assistive Technology, Gerontology and Equine Assisted Therapy.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
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32 Western Technical College
96.66 16% 1 11:1 33%

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at Western Technical College is a two-year, 70 credit Associate in Applied Science degree program, located in the Health Science Center near the main campus. This program is one of five standardized OTA programs in the Wisconsin Technical College System, with a curriculum composed of lab activities, classroom time and clinical/fieldwork. The program prepares students for entry-level jobs in Occupational Therapy, in addition to preparation for the national certification exam. Once certified, graduates are considered Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) and can work in a variety of settings, such as schools, rehabilitation facilities, clinics and hospitals.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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33 Lone Star College
96.65 13% 1 18:1 11%

Lone Star College is the largest higher education institution in Houston, with an enrollment of 95,000 and several campuses across the area, with the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program offered at two different campuses. This is a two-year program with the last semester dedicated to full-time fieldwork. Admission to this program is competitive and uses a ranking system based on several criteria. Graduates will receive an Associate in Applied Science degree and are qualified to sit for the national certification examination. Upon passing the exam, graduates of the OTA Program become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, which qualifies them to work in occupation therapy under supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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34 Jefferson Community and Technical College
96.49 1% 1 16:1 11%

The Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC) Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program is a two-year Associate in Applied Science degree program with the last semester being dedicated to full-time fieldwork. Also in the last semester is the Clinical Seminar, in which students discuss clinical experience with instructors along with fellow classmates. This course also serves as a preparation course for the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy assistants exam, which a graduate must take in order to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). While enrolled in the OTA program at JCTC, students can become active or associate members of the Student Occupational Therapy Assistant Club.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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35 Spokane Falls Community College
96.46 14% 1 18:1 23%

Offered as a career or technical program from Spokane Falls Community College, the occupational therapy assistant program provides an avenue for students to enter highly skilled occupations or transfer to a university-level program. This associate in applied science degree prepares the students to work for the health and rehabilitation industry by helping individuals who suffer from mental, emotional, developmental, and physical disabilities. This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). The program is open to all students for the Fall 2016 season and students are required to complete 92 credit units which can be completed within a maximum of six terms.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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36 Delgado Community College
96.35 2% 1 19:1 10%

As a comprehensive community college, the Delgado Community College provides the occupational therapy assistant course as one of their associate degree programs. This two-year course trains students to learn skills on how to help people suffering from different types of disabilities. Students will work under the supervision of registered therapists and should complete 33 credit units. After graduating, they will be eligible to take the licensure exam given by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Students can become caregivers, assistant occupational therapists, or they can pursue higher education from a four-year university. Admission to the program is highly selective.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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37 Indian Hills Community College
96.29 7% 1 17:1 21%

Indian Hills Community College offers an associate of applied science degree in occupational therapy assisting. It is a seven-term program that provides students with the skills to become proficient occupational therapists so that they can support the daily activities of their patients. Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association, the program is open to students who want pursue careers in the healthcare industry or higher education at the university level. The program is available for the fall term. Students need to complete 80 credit units to qualify for the national certification exam.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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38 Manchester Community College
96.18 39% 1 17:1 18%

Completing an associate's degree in occupational therapy assisting teaches students how to take care of patients suffering from different impairments and disabilities. After learning necessary medical, professional, and interpersonal skills, the students can pursue careers in hospitals, hospices, or independent occupational therapy clinics. Manchester Community College has affiliations with some Connecticut State Universities so that students can transfer for higher education if they desire. Students are required to complete 61 to 62 credit units over 18 months of clinical training and academic work before they are eligible to take the national certification exam. All lessons are given on-campus or in other training institutions.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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39 Hawkeye Community College
96.15 12% 1 15:1 43%

Hawkeye Community College's occupational therapy assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. By completing this associate degree, students are eligible to take the national board to become certified occupational therapist assistants. In this program, students are taught important skills to prepare them for entry-level jobs under the healthcare industry under the supervision of an occupational therapist. Students can also opt to continue their education by transferring to a four-year university. To complete this two-year program, students need to finish 82 credit units. Students can enroll as part- or full-time, offering convenience to working students.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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40 Fox Valley Technical College
95.91 12% 1 12:1 38%

Studying to become an occupational therapy assistant can help students find jobs as adult service supervisors, case managers, and occupational therapy assistants. Fox Valley Technical College trains students to become competent occupational therapy assistants. Students are trained on being familiar with medical terminologies and perform treatment interventions under supervision. This associate degree totals 70 credit units which most students can complete within two years. Upon completion of the program, students can either continue their education by taking a bachelor's degree in an accredited university or taking the national certification exam. Classes are available for the fall season through the school's web delivery system.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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41 Nashville State Community College
95.89 1% 1 19:1 12%

Occupational therapist assistants help people suffering from different maladies to live independent and productive lives. The Nashville State Community College offers an associate in applied science degree in occupational therapy assisting. Students receive classroom and clinical training to prepare for work under a registered occupational therapist. The program is two years in length and is available only for the spring and fall semesters. Students are required to take three semesters of on-campus coursework, some of which can be completed online, and one semester in an internship. The school can provide assistance in finding an internship.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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42 Marion Technical College
95.78 10% 1 16:1 20%

Working as an occupational therapy assistant requires that you take the national certification exam. The OTCA associate's degree from Marion Technical College helps prepare students to pass the certification exam and become certified occupational therapy assistants so that they can start entry-level work in various care facilities. The curriculum of this program begins in the fall and is designed to be completed within five semesters. Students are required to take on-campus coursework and will be given the opportunity to travel to affiliated hospitals, clinics, and private practices to complete their internship.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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43 Stark State College
95.66 7% 1 22:1 9%

Stark State College in Ohio offers the associate in applied science degree in occupational therapy assisting to students who wish to obtain work in the healthcare industry. Students will have the opportunity to practice under the supervision of registered occupational therapists, helping patients accomplish daily tasks. In this program, students are required to complete 70 credit units within two years or four semesters. Upon completion, graduates can sit for the national certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Graduates from the program can pursue careers in healthcare or a higher education at a four-year university.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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44 Harcum College
95.60 94% 1 15:1 25%

Harcum College provides the necessary training to students who want to find a fulfilling position in the field of healthcare. The occupational therapy assistant program is one of the associate's degree programs offered by the school. Students are trained to learn skills that prepare them to help people of all ages deal with various disabilities and lead independent lives. This is a two-year course that is open for full- and part-time students, requiring 71 credits of coursework from full-time students and a minimum of 30 units from part-time students. Students are required complete supervised clinical training in their final semester. Upon graduation, they are eligible to take the national certification exam.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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45 Pueblo Community College
95.58 6% 1 17:1 24%

As a two-year associate's degree from Pueblo Community College, the occupational therapy assistant program teaches students the necessary skills for a career in occupational therapy. Students are required to complete five semesters, including four semesters of general coursework offered on-campus during the day, and one semester of clinical training. Graduates can seek careers in health care or apply for higher education from other institutions. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The OTA program is only offered in the fall semester.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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46 Milwaukee Area Technical College
95.43 N/A 1 12:1 13%

Milwaukee Area Technical College's occupational therapy assistant program trains students to become skilled occupational therapy assistants so that they can work in healthcare settings like hospice, hospitals, and nursing homes. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. Students admitted to the program are expected to complete the coursework and clinical training within 18 months. Upon completion, they receive an associate's degree and are eligible for the National Certification Examination given to occupational therapy assistants. Moreover, students can apply for state licensure in the state in which they want to work.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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47 Sacramento City College
95.40 N/A 1 28:1 25%

Students who enter the occupational therapy assistant program at Sacramento City College are trained to work with people of different ages suffering from all forms of disabilities and impairments. Between 71 to 73 credit units comprising of coursework in general education, science, and allied health, as well as supervised clinical training must be completed to attain the associate's degree. Courses are offered Monday through Thursday in the evening as well as on Saturdays. Clinical training is scheduled during business hours on weekdays. Graduates are eligible to take the National Certification Exam for occupational therapy assistants and may pursue careers or higher education in their field.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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48 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
95.22 8% 1 9:1 50%

With its three-year record of 100% passing rate on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College strives for excellence in transforming students into highly skilled occupational therapy assistants that can work in any healthcare setting. The occupational therapy assistant program offered by the school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Students are expected to complete 18 months of coursework (or 70 credit units) and supervised clinical training. The program is available for the fall semester and is designed for full-time students.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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49 Lake Area Technical Institute
95.20 30% 1 13:1 65%

Prospective students searching to study occupational therapy may consider attending Lake Area Technical Institute's Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Occupational therapy assistants help individuals lead a healthy lifestyle by helping them return to a normal, functioning quality of life after trauma. This program Is typically completed in 20 months and is comprised of hands-on lab and off-site work, lectures and discussions, as well as lead demonstrations by experienced faculty members. Graduates of the program may be equipped with the necessary skills to pass a certification exam which is required for employment by the National Board of Certification of Occupational Therapy.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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50 River Valley Community College
95.19 5% 1 6:1 24%

Prospective students looking to gain valuable skills that improve the quality of life of others may benefit from enrolling in River Valley Community College's Occupational Therapy Assistant program. This program is designed to teach students basic principles of physical and mental daily living throughout the course of two years. Graduates of the program should be able to demonstrate occupational competence and prepared to take the national certification examination for the occupational therapist. Students can also receive academic support thorough RVCC's Student Success Center which provides alternative testing, computers, tutoring services and career assistance.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
1 Daytona State College
99.69 24% 1 18:1 N/A

The Daytona State College is dedicated to training occupational therapy assistants as competent healthcare workers in their industry. The occupational therapy assistant program is an associates degree that requires students to complete 70 credit hours within 22 months. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The school is also accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges. Students can either seek entry-level careers as occupational therapy assistants, or pursue higher learning. Classes are only conducted during the day (9:00am to 4:00 pm) on alternating weekdays.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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2 State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota
99.50 11% 1 22:1 N/A

Preparing students to become skilled members of the healthcare industry is a major goal of the State College of Florida. Students attending school at the Manatee and Sarasota campuses are taught the necessary skills that they need to perform their tasks professionally. The occupational therapy assistant program is an associate in science degree which requires the completion of 70 units of coursework and clinical training. Students are encouraged to complete the prerequisite courses including anatomy, physiology, math, and general psychology. Upon graduation, students can pursue a career in occupational therapy or transfer to a university to pursue a bachelor's degree. The school is accepting enrollees for the 2017 Fall semester.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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3 Southwestern Oklahoma State University
99.48 63% 1 18:1 35%

Graduates of the occupational therapy assistant program from Southwestern Oklahoma State University have promising employment prospects. Work opportunities are available in clinics, healthcare facilities, and other therapy settings to help people suffering from different forms of impairment. This associate in science degree program is offered at the Weatherford Campus and is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education Graduates. Graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination. Students are required to complete 18 hours of general education, 18 hours of technical occupational support courses and 42 hours of specialty courses which include the clinical fieldwork conducted in an accredited facility.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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4 Florida State College at Jacksonville
99.35 15% 1 22:1 N/A

Taking the associate's program in occupational therapy assistant at Florida State College Jacksonville Campus prepares the students to become entry-level healthcare practitioners. Students are required to complete 70 credits consisting of lecture and laboratory coursework plus clinical practice through an affiliated learning facility. During this time, students will be able to learn important theories and skills that will enable them to perform effectively as OT assistants. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Successful completion of the coursework makes graduates eligible for the National Certification Examination.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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5 Lake Washington Institute of Technology
99.32 7% 1 15:1 N/A

Lake Washington Institute of Technology provides a hands-on teaching approach to students taking the associate in applied science transfer degree program for occupational therapy assistants. Students receive classroom, laboratory, and clinical instruction, giving them the knowledge and skills to pursue careers in occupational therapy assistance. The program offered by LWIT is a full-time curriculum that require students to attend morning and afternoon sessions. Students must finish the program in seven quarters or terms and should complete a total of 90 credit units. Upon completion, students can take National Certification Examination to become licensed occupational therapy assistants, or they can pursue higher learning by achieving a bachelor's degree at a university.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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6 Arkansas Tech University
99.17 56% 1 20:1 41%

Arkansas Tech University has designed its OTA program to equip students to become successful occupational therapy assistants and aid patients suffering from different disabilities. This associate of applied science degree is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Students are required to complete a total of 71 semester hours which include coursework in general education, allied health and science. The program can be completed within five semesters. In the last semester, students will be required to take Level II Fieldwork, which gives students the opportunity to gain experience in different clinical settings under supervision of a certified occupational therapy assistant.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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7 Cabarrus College of Health Sciences
99.04 72% 1 6:1 0%

With its goal to prepare students to become competent occupational therapy assistants, Cabarrus College of Health Sciences is dedicated to designing curriculums that are relevant to students. Pupils enrolled in the associate in science degree program in OTA are taught patient interaction skills in addition to the standard coursework. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Students must accomplish a total of 73 credit hours consisting of 52 major credits and 21 credits of general education. Most of the classes for this program are conducted during the day, but classes can also be scheduled during early evening or on Saturday to accommodate the student's' schedule.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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8 Goodwin College
99.01 91% 1 10:1 N/A

Since last year, the Goodwin College has had a high graduation rate of 75% for its occupational therapy assistant program. This two-year associate's degree program trains students to become skilled in providing assistance to people who are living with various of disabilities. Students get hands-on experience as they learn in classrooms and laboratories and receive supervised clinical training. The program is very flexible admitting both fulltime and part-time students. Full-time students can complete the program within 18 months while part-time students can finish it within 36 months. For added convenience, the program also offers evening and weekend classes.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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9 Shawnee State University
98.85 34% 1 16:1 20%

With a 100% passing rate for its master's of occupational therapy, Shawnee State University teaches students coursework that focus on relevant theories and applications, as well as professional leadership skills. The MOT program has a total of 77 credit units for the academic coursework. As part of the fieldwork segment, the program requires students to complete six to nine months of full-time internship, meaning 40 hours per week serving in healthcare facilities. The internship must be completed within 24 months of academic preparation and two months before taking the National Certification Exam. The program is highly selective, accepting only 24-30 students per year.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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10 Middle Georgia State University
98.70 17% 1 21:1 20%

Middle Georgia State University aims to provide a challenging program to occupational therapy students to prepare them for diverse workplace scenarios. Students are taught skills and knowledge that can help them develop the professional competence and attitude necessary to function as occupational therapy assistants. This associate degree program requires students to complete a total of 31 credit units of academic coursework. Students are also required to complete the Level II Fieldwork conducted in various affiliated healthcare facilities like hospitals, clinics, private practices, and other settings. Upon completion, students are eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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11 University of Southern Indiana
98.57 41% 1 17:1 36%

University of Southern Indiana has designed its master's of science in occupational therapy (MSOT) for students who have finished a baccalaureate degree and want to advance their career prospects in the profession of occupational therapy. The 75-unit curriculum is designed for full-time students, so courses are only offered during the day. This two-year program is offered every fall semester, with select courses available during the summer. In their final semester, students must complete Professional Fieldwork II and receive hands-on training from a certified occupational therapist. Once the program is completed, students can sit for the National Certification Exam. USI has a 100% passing rate for students taking the NBCOT exam.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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12 University of Charleston
98.55 90% 1 15:1 41%

Offered at University of Charleston Beckley Campus, the associate's degree in occupational therapy assistance is designed to teach students the right knowledge and skills for helping people with disabilities. The school's passing rate for the National Certification Exam for occupational therapy assistants is about 90 percent, resulting in a promising job outlook for graduates. The OTA program is accredited by the American Council on Occupational Therapy Accreditation. The students are required to complete a total of 81 credit units comprised of 68 units of pre-clinical training and 13 units of fieldwork. Students must also accomplish at least 20 volunteer hours under the supervision of a certified OTA.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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13 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale
98.49 77% 1 12:1 60%

Earning an associate of science degree in occupational therapy assistance from Keiser University at the Fort Lauderdale Campus can help increase students' opportunities in the field of health care. The program prepares the students to work as occupational therapy assistants. The program also allows students to transfer and receive a bachelor's degree from an affiliated university. Students must earn a total of 83 credit hours consisting of 57 major units and 26 general education units. Students are also required to complete 12 units of Level II Fieldwork after completing the academic coursework. For scheduling convenience, Keiser University offers day, evening and online classes.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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14 St Catherine University
98.44 99% 1 11:1 59%

By studying to become an occupational therapy assistant, students can help patients suffering from impairment by assisting them in accomplishing daily tasks. Saint Catherine University was the first university in the country to offer the associate's degree in occupational therapy assistance. The program's academic coursework can be taken both on-campus and online. Courses are available at the Minneapolis campus, and online classes are available from the California and Virginia campuses. Students are required to complete a total of 71 credit units which can be completed within four semesters. After the classroom curriculum is completed, students are required to take the clinical training.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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15 Newman University
98.34 99% 1 14:1 43%

Newman University bridges the demand gap in occupational therapy by offering an associate's degree in occupational therapy assistance. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Students are required to complete 71 credit units within two years, not including the prerequisites. All courses are offered on campus. Students also have the opportunity to practice in different healthcare facilities under licensed occupational therapists. Upon completion of academic coursework and clinical training, the students are eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Classes begin in the fall semester, and some classes are available in the summer.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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16 Polk State College
98.29 7% 1 26:1 N/A

To meet the high demand for certified occupational therapy assistants, Polk State College provides training to students who want to pursue a career in occupational therapy. The associate's degree in occupational therapy assistance is a 70-credit-hour program that trains students with the needed skills and knowledge to perform competently as OTAs. Credits are comprised of 59 hours of academic coursework and 14 hours of clinical field work. Students will receive training in different affiliated learning facilities such as outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes, where they receive well-rounded preparation for real-life scenarios. The program is available for the fall semester.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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17 New England Institute of Technology
97.97 73% 1 13:1 N/A

To meet the job market's need for skilled healthcare practitioners, New England Institute of Technology offers the associate's degree in occupational therapy assistance to students who want to become certified OTAs. In this program, students are prepared to help people suffering from various impairments in different environments. Day and evening classes for courses are available from the first through fourth quarters of study. During the fifth quarter, only daytime courses are available. After that, students must take both Level I and II Fieldworks. Upon completion of the academic coursework and clinical fieldwork, students can take the National Certification Exam to become certified OTAs.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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18 Touro College
97.97 63% 1 16:1 50%

Occupational therapy assistants work alongside healthcare professionals to help patients live more independent lives. The Touro College offers a three-year program in which students earn both a bachelor's and a master's degree in occupational therapy. Curriculum is designed to help students learn the concepts effectively and be prepared for careers immediately after graduation. Students must complete 167 credit units within three years. During the first year students dedicate their time studying the theories, and spend the second year in clinical practice. In the third year, students learn advanced theories and practices in occupational therapy.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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19 Mercy College
97.89 88% 1 19:1 34%

Students who receive the associate's degree in occupational therapy from Mercy College can work in different facilities like rehab hospitals, pre-schools, nursing homes, and home care, providing assistance to patients with various limitations. In 2013, 75% of the graduates from Mercy College found positions as OTAs within three months of graduation. The program is available for part- and full-time students, with evening classes during the week. Students are required to complete the academic coursework before they can proceed to the clinical fieldwork. Upon completion, they are eligible to take the National Certification Examination.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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20 Maria College
97.76 7% 1 8:1 N/A

One of the missions of Maria College is to provide a quality education in the fields of health and science. The associate's program in occupational therapy assistance equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary to work in different healthcare settings helping people function with disabilities. Students are required to complete a total of 66 credits, comprised of 54 credits of academic coursework and 12 credits of clinical fieldwork. The courses are offered during the week and on weekends. Students receive a combination of lecture and hands-on experience from certified instructors. General courses are available online for added convenience, but students must take laboratory courses and exams on campus.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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21 Baker College of Muskegon
97.63 80% 1 33:1 18%

Occupational therapists work with people who have mental and physical challenges to improve the patient's' abilities to perform daily tasks. Baker College of Muskegon offers a bachelor's degree program in pre-occupational therapy. The program is designed to prepare students to pursue higher education and become licensed occupational therapists. Under this program, students must earn a total of 124 credit hours for the major requirement and 60 credit hours for the general education requirement. After completion of the coursework, students are required to complete the clinical training. Some courses are available online as part of the Baker Online Curriculum. Classes start every fall semester.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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22 Pennsylvania College of Technology
97.26 9% 1 18:1 40%

To meet the high demands for occupational therapy assistants, the Pennsylvania College of Technology offers an associate's degree in occupational therapy assistance to students who wish to pursue entry-level careers in occupational therapy. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Students are required to complete a total of 59 credit units within five semesters. In the final semester, students are required to complete six credits of clinical fieldwork. Upon completion of the courses, students are eligible for graduation and for the National Certification Exam. PCT prides itself on a 100% passing rate for the National Certification Examination.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
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23 Washburn University
88.72 58% 1 14:1 34%

Washburn University has a 92% graduation rate for its associate's degree in occupational therapy assistance. The program starts during the summer semester, and students are required to complete a total of 71 credit units which includes 9 units of clinical field work. Upon completion of the courses, students can sit for the National Certification Examination to become certified OTAs. Graduates can also pursue higher learning opportunities. The program requires students to complete certain prerequisites. Those who have not taken the prerequisite courses can join the bridge program which allows students to complete general education requirements and transition seamlessly into the major.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
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24 University of Louisiana at Monroe
87.28 56% 1 21:1 37%

Students in the OT program at University of Louisiana at Monroe are taught skills needed to become certified occupational therapists and work in different healthcare environments. The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers the OTA program for five academic semesters. Students must complete academic coursework, which typically takes around two years, as well as the Level II fieldwork for a minimum of 16 weeks in an affiliated institution. Upon the completion of the coursework and clinical training, graduates are eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Graduates can also take the state licensure in the state where they want to practice.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
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25 Rutgers University-New Brunswick
87.02 47% 1 16:1 79%

Established in 2012, the occupational therapy assistant program offered by Rutgers University in New Brunswick aims to provide an excellent job outlook to students pursuing careers in the occupational therapy service. This program requires students to complete 74 credits (32 credits of general education and 42 credits of professional coursework). Students also need to complete both Level I and II Fieldwork. The entire curriculum is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. Graduates receive an associate of science degree and can take National Certification Examination to become certified OTAs.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
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26 Kent State University at Ashtabula
86.52 53% 1 22:1 20%

The regional college of Kent State University at Ashtabula offers the associate of applied science degree in occupational therapy assistant technology to prepare students for providing rehabilitative services to people with disabilities. The program requires the students to complete a minimum of 65 credit hours which includes academic coursework and clinical training. Students also need to accumulate at least 40 hours of volunteer time to an accredited healthcare facility. Upon completion of the entire coursework, students are eligible to take the National Certification Examination for occupational therapy assistants. Many graduates also pursue higher education by enrolling in a bachelor's program.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
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27 South Texas College
86.19 1% 1 27:1 0%

Offered by the South Texas College as a two-year program, the associate's degree in occupational therapy assistance helps prepare students for careers in healthcare. Many graduates have acquired jobs shortly after their graduation from South Texas College. The OTA program is a 60-credit program wherein students earn 51 credits of general education and major courses in four semesters, and complete the remaining 9 credits of practicum at an affiliated institution. The program is designed for full-time students able to take daytime classes beginning in the fall. Once all courses have been completed, students can take the National Certification Examination to become certified OTAs.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
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28 Remington College-Heathrow Campus
86.16 2% 1 7:1 N/A

Recently established, the associate's program in occupational therapy assistance from Remington College's Heathrow Campus aims to provide the job market with a qualified workforce that can meet the demands of the community. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and requires the students to meet two requirements - the academic coursework and the fieldwork. The program is flexible and convenient, with some courses available online. However laboratory exercises must be done on-campus during the duration of the program. Once students complete the coursework, they are eligible to take the National Certification Exam to receive OTA certification.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
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29 Kent State University at East Liverpool
86.00 15% 1 27:1 33%

With its 96.6% graduation rate, the Kent State University in East Liverpool, Ohio offers comprehensive training in occupational therapy assistance. Students are trained by certified occupational therapists, learning and practicing theories and skills that will help them succeed once they find work in the industry. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Students are required to complete both academic coursework and the clinical fieldwork. Students must earn 67 credits within three years. Some courses are available through online instruction. Once the credit units are completed, students are qualified to sit for the certification exam.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
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Occupational Therapist Schools and Programs

The goal of occupational therapy is to provide rehabilitative and support services to clients who have lost certain abilities, for example, through an injury. Occupational therapists also help clients who have a developmental disability or a permanent condition, such as cerebral palsy, learn or re-learn how to perform daily tasks. Industry standards have shifted over the years, making a master’s degree all but required to be an entry-level practicing therapist. Pursuing an associates or bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy is sufficient for a career as an occupational therapist assistant.

Occupational
Therapy Aide

Occupational therapy aides provide support to licensed occupational therapists by cleaning and preparing treatment areas and equipment. Aides may also perform clerical tasks such as scheduling appointments, answering telephones, and help with billing and insurance forms. As of March 2016, aides are not eligible for licensure.

Vocational Schools

Technical institutes and vocational schools offer training for high school graduates who want to study for a limited period of time and then enter the workforce. These programs may offer a certificate or diploma for occupational therapy aides, which can be completed in a matter of months. Such training can help individuals pursue a career as an occupational therapy aide or gain experience before enrolling in a degree program. Vocational schools offer targeted coursework in professional practices, instead of requiring other subjects such as English, math and history.

Community Colleges

Community colleges with occupational therapy programs usually offer either a certificate or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. Students thinking about earning a certificate in occupational therapy should investigate whether they can apply those credits toward an associate degree program. Public colleges may provide non-credit certificates, such as Carroll Community College’s continuing education program for physical and occupational therapy aides.

The AAS degree could pave the way for entry-level employment as an occupational therapy assistant. Compared to vocational schools, community colleges embrace a more well-rounded approach, and students are required to take more classes outside the major in academic subjects like math and history. At some occupational therapist assistant schools, all students have to take program prerequisites including classes as such as composition and reading, introduction to cell biology and medical terminology.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Often referred to as OTA, occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in providing care to patients. Assistants help patients with therapeutic activities, such as stretches and other exercises. Those who work with children with disabilities use playtime as a time to teach coordination and socialization. In other areas, OTAs teach patients with disabling diseases how to use devices that make eating easier. Required to work under the supervision of an occupational therapist, assistants are required to complete an associate’s degree at minimum and go through the licensure process.

Community Colleges

People of all ages and abilities may need to seek the help of an occupational therapist (OT) someday. Therapists develop treatment plans, identify specific goals and activities to help a patient, and evaluate patients home and/or office space to identify potential improvements to aid a patient’s progress. OTs help kids improve their cognitive, sensory, and motor skills. For adults facing injury or illness, OTs help them with day-to-day tasks like learning how to dress themselves again. To become an entry-level occupational therapist, prospective students must obtain a minimum of a master’s degree in the field from an accredited graduate school.

Community colleges with occupational therapy programs usually offer either a certificate or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. Students thinking about earning a certificate in occupational therapy should investigate whether they can apply those credits toward an associate degree program. Public colleges may provide non-credit certificates, such as Carroll Community College’s continuing education program for physical and occupational therapy aides.

Four-year Schools

Graduates from a four-year school have two options: graduate and become a licensed occupational therapy assistant or pursue a master’s degree and become an entry-level OT. For aspiring OTAS, occupational therapist assistant schools have two main purposes. First, they can provide a competitive edge for graduates in the workplace. Secondly, such programs build a solid foundation for students who plan to continue their education at the graduate level in order to become occupational therapists.

Four-year programs focus on delivering an education that combines a broad knowledge of academic topics with a specialization in occupational therapy. As a result, students may spend the first two years taking classes in English, math and physical sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities, along with occupational therapy classes. The final two years, on the other hand, could be devoted entirely to the pre-professional program.

Aspiring occupational therapists can take advantage of their four-year degree to get a well-rounded education. Many graduates pursue degrees in the sciences. For example, a degree in biology helps students understand the human circulatory, nervous, and organ systems work together. As of February 2016, there are no accredited occupational therapy associates or bachelor’s degree programs.

Occupational Therapist

People of all ages and abilities may need to seek the help of an occupational therapist (OT) someday. Therapists develop treatment plans, identify specific goals and activities to help a patient, and evaluate patients home and/or office space to identify potential improvements to aid a patient’s progress. OTs help kids improve their cognitive, sensory, and motor skills. For adults facing injury or illness, OTs help them with day-to-day tasks like learning how to dress themselves again. To become an entry-level occupational therapist, prospective students must obtain a minimum of a master’s degree in the field from an accredited graduate school.

Graduate Schools

Graduate programs award a master’s or doctoral degree in occupational therapy. Master’s degrees are designed for those planning a career as a practicing occupational therapist, while doctorates can serve a broader range of opportunities, from research to management to education. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree to enter master’s degree programs, and either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree to enter doctoral programs. Experience is often a prerequisite for admission to graduate programs. For example, an online post-professional doctorate from Boston University requires two years of clinical practice.

Occupational Therapists,
Assistants and Aides: What’s the Difference?

Different roles in the profession come with varying levels of qualifications and responsibilities, as shown here.

Occupational Therapists Occupational Therapy Assistants Occupational Therapy Aides
Education Master’s degree or doctoral degree in occupational therapy Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy High school diploma, with optional career certificate or diploma
Certification/Exams Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) Exam Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Exam None required
Salary (as of May 2014) Mean annual wage of $78,810 Mean annual wage of $56,950 Mean annual wage of $26,050
Role Lead therapist and supervisor Assist with occupational therapy Aid with pre- and post-treatment tasks
Duties Observe clients to discover their functioning level, develop treatment plans and goals, demonstrate exercises, provide advice to family members, evaluate progress Help clients to perform such therapeutic activities as stretching and bending, teach clients how to operate special equipment Set up therapy equipment, transport patients, help patients fill out paperwork, schedule appointments, file medical records, answer phones

A related question concerns the distinction between occupational and physical therapy. Occupational therapy includes some aspects of counseling, such as helping clients understand their current limitations and develop strategies to overcome them, while physical therapy emphasizes rehabilitation and provision of allied health services. The field of occupational therapy encompasses a greater range of non-medical settings such as the home, school or workplace.

Must-Have List for Occupational Therapy Schools

While occupational therapy programs vary from school to school, certain common traits are desirable. These guidelines can help ensure that students are making the best possible use of their time, money and efforts.

1. Accreditation.

Accreditation for occupational therapy programs is only available to graduate programs. When considering accredited programs, students can look to reputable organizations like the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) for guidance. Programs have to meet certain educational qualifications to be accredited, so this official endorsement is critically important when selecting a program. If the school is not accredited, those students will not be able to apply for federal student loans and other types of federal financial aid. In addition, earned credits may not transfer to another school.

2. Credit Transfer.

Just because a program is accredited does not automatically mean that credits transfer to another occupational therapist school. For example, certificate programs may award continuing education rather than academic credits. Transfer scenarios vary widely — perhaps you are working on an associate degree at one college and want to transfer to another institution to complete this degree. Or, you may have a bachelor’s degree from an occupational therapist assistant school and now you wish to earn a master’s degree at a different university. To be on the safe side, always find out in advance if credits will transfer to another school before you enroll.

3. Quality of Faculty.

Another important factor to consider when choosing an occupational therapy program is the quality of the instructors. The vast majority of the teachers should be professors, adjunct professors and instructors who are occupational therapists and have themselves graduated from programs that are accredited by organizations like ACOTE. The institution should also have an evaluation program that regularly critiques the performance of instructors.

4. Coursework and Fieldwork.

An occupational therapist school should offer relevant courses that provide the type of knowledge and skills necessary. Students should learn such information as the history, practice and philosophy of occupational therapy and the therapeutic process. Other key topics include differences in therapy for pediatric, adult, geriatric and other segments of the population as well as the role of mental health in occupational therapy. Occupational therapist assistant schools build additional skills in areas such as critical thinking and decision making, and programs should incorporate internships or other opportunities for students to gain experience in professional settings.

5. Career Services.

It’s important for the program to have career placement services that can help students look for and find a job when they graduate from occupational therapist school. Some programs even place students before they graduate. Most good programs have forged relationships with employers at physical and occupational therapy facilities, as well as hospitals, nursing and resident care facilities, and other organizations. Additional services provided by career placement programs include helping students with writing cover letters and resumes, mock interviews and so on.

Advice From an Occupational Therapist

In order to be an occupational therapist, you have to be passionate about others and helping them problem solve to learn to be independent in daily life.

Joy D. Doll, OTD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Creighton University

Occupational Therapy Degrees and Certificates

This profession involves several levels of education. Entry-level programs offer certificates or diplomas for occupational therapy aides. A typical occupational therapist assistant school grants an associate or bachelor’s degree based on academic studies and at least 16 weeks of fieldwork. These undergraduate degrees can lead to an occupational therapy assistant position or serve as a basis for further education.

Professional studies for occupational therapists at the graduate level include a master’s degree or doctorate. The master’s degree targets students aiming to work as occupational therapists. The Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree can involve specialized research projects and prepare occupational therapists seeking advanced roles as educators, managers or clinicians.

Occupational Therapy Aide

While the minimum requirement is a high school education, occupational therapy aides can earn a certificate in the field, or sometimes a certificate in physical and occupational therapy. These certificates and diplomas are usually offered at vocational or technical schools and community colleges. Courses are designed to provide a brief overview that prepares students for entry-level positions. Aides work under the supervision of occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants.

Introduction to Occupational Therapy

Overview of the history, practice and philosophy of occupational therapy.

Documentation Guidelines

Focus on the correct procedures for documenting and reporting occupational therapy services.

Occupational Therapy for Adults

Analysis of factors such as injuries, work duties, aging and disease that can result in occupational therapy.

Practicing Therapeutic Interventions

Course offers knowledge regarding best practices in the therapeutic process, in addition to an understanding of the structure of physician offices and clinics.

Occupational Therapy Associate Degrees

Although requirements may vary by school, the Associate of Applied Science degree in occupational therapy generally requires 62 credit hours and takes about two years to complete. Occupational therapist assistant school can prepare students to find entry-level positions or continue on the path to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Students in the associate degree program gain more in-depth knowledge of occupational therapy than in a certificate program, and learn how to provide treatment and procedures to clients. In addition to general education requirements such as English and social sciences, courses in associate degree programs could include the following.

Physical Dysfunction

Course discusses how to treat clients who are physically and cognitively challenged.

Therapeutic Interventions

Studies focus on how to help clients enhance functional ability to perform daily tasks.

Applied Neurology

Class explores human anatomy, the nervous system and occupation-related considerations.

Occupational Therapy Bachelor’s Degrees

Baccalaureate programs are offered at four-year colleges and universities. These degrees can serve two goals: building a foundation for occupational therapy assistant careers, or preparing students to continue on to the master’s degree program for occupational therapists.

Students in the bachelor’s degree program gain extensive knowledge in physiology and neurology. They also study how the body works, experiences injury and can be repaired. Standard core requirements for college include courses to enhance communication skills such as English. Fieldwork is also a vital part of the program. It can take four years of full-time study to complete a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, or approximately 120 credit hours.

Human Physiology

Students learn about the body’s physical, mechanical and biochemical functions.

Biomechanics

Course focuses on the body’s musculoskeletal anatomy and mechanics of movement and structure.

Neuroscience

Class explore the body’s nervous system, including cognitive development and neurological disorders.

Occupational Therapist Bachelor’s/Master’s Combined Degrees

Occupational therapist school options include combined bachelor’s/master’s degree programs. Students enter as college freshmen and take about five years to complete the program, although it may be less depending on the applicant’s prior experience. These students are awarded both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in occupational therapy.

Another choice is the bridge program for occupational therapy assistants moving to occupational therapist status. Prerequisites for admission vary, but usually include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited occupational therapist assistant school. For most students, the program takes two to three years to complete and culminates in a master’s degree.

Anatomy & Kinesiology

Students study how to the nervous system affects human movement as well as the cardiorespiratory system that pumps blood to nourish the bones and muscles.

Neurological Rehabilitation

Students learn the latest research and clinically relevant information in the areas of neural plasticity, motor learning, behavioral sciences and cognition

Physical Rehabilitation

The course focuses on teaching students strategies and interventions to improve motor function.

Occupational Therapist Master’s Degrees

The master’s degree in occupational therapy generally requires two or two and a half years, or 97 credit hours. This level of education is required for practicing occupational therapists. The degree can also serve individuals who wish to move into more advanced clinical or managerial roles. The program includes two semesters of fieldwork. Subjects cover topics such as systems theory and ethics as well as emerging research and trends relating to professional practice. In most programs, applicants must have a degree in one of the sciences, psychology, sociology or a related field for admittance.

Theoretical Foundations of Occupational Therapy

Students learn to analyze theories, along with concepts of application and evaluation.

Meaningful Living Through Occupation

Class focuses on understanding the value of occupation in the context of time, daily activities and performance.

Adult Learners

This course examines the trends for teaching adult clients and possible learning difficulties.

Occupational Therapy Doctorate Degrees

The occupational therapy doctoral program typically lasts two to three years. This advanced practice degree is for occupational therapists that want to pursue roles in clinical research, education and management. A doctorate is required for teaching and research at the university level. Students have the option of two tracks: Clinical (OTD/Dr OT) and Research (PhD/SciD) doctorate programs.

Admission criteria for some programs specify a master’s degree in occupational therapy, while others accept a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, science, psychology, sociology or a related field. In some programs, additional prerequisites may include classes in anatomy and physiology, abnormal psychology, sociology, physics, statistics, and human growth and development. The total credit hours range from about 42 hours for students who enter with a master’s degree to 60 hours for those who enter with a bachelor’s degree.

Clinical (OTD/Dr OT) Programs

Clinical doctorate programs prepare graduates to be expert clinicians in specialty or emerging practice areas. Students are given the opportunity to specialize in a specific area when working with clients. From mental health to cardiac rehabilitation, to hand therapy, students build their knowledge with evidence-based literature and assessments.

Hand Therapy and Physical Agent Modalities

Students learn the role of physical agent modalities such as therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and light therapy.

Therapeutic Communication

Students explore the principles and practice of a variety of therapeutic communication skills to include motivational interviewing, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Ergonomics

Focusing on the interaction between the worker, work tasks, and work environments, students learn how these relationships can be used to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders and improve occupational performance.

Research (PhD/SciD) Programs

Doctorate programs with an emphasis in research typically emphasize in occupational science and research methodologies. Students are trained to implement evidence-based studies in clinical settings and collect data. This education prepares students to better bridge research projects and clinical implementation upon graduation.

Qualitative and Quantitative Design in Mixed Methods Research

Beginning with an overview of qualitative research traditions, students get a basis for integrating qualitative and quantitative design components in a mixed methods study. Students gain experience with procedures for data collection, analysis, and strategies.

Foundations in Team Science and Clinical and Translational Science

This type of course teaches students how to successfully work in a team science setting. They learn to pursue complex science questions and produce high impact research outcomes that results in helping society.

Epidemiology for Clinical Research

Epidemiology studies the patterns, causes, and effects of health and diseases in society. OT students study how to improve the health of populations with research tactics.

Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Explained

Similar to fellowships and internships in other industries, fieldwork is where occupational therapy students observe and then apply the theoretical apply theoretical and scientific principles learned in the classroom to address actual client needs. It is a chance for students to develop a professional identity as an occupational therapy practitioner. Divided into Level I and Level II, the number of hours spent in the field prior to licensure varies on one’s goals, their academic institution and state requirements. This is true for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. Discover the differences between level I and level II fieldwork.

Level I

Level I fieldwork is an introduction to occupational therapy in the real world where students meet with clients for the first time. During this time, students spend time observing and participating in select aspects of the process. While this level is not intended to allow students to work independently with clients, students have the opportunity to work in day care centers, schools, hospice, and homeless shelters among others. They may also have exposure to services management and administrative experiences while working with the disabled or well; age-specific or diagnosis-specific clients.

Geared for new students, participants are not required to have prior fieldwork experience. The length of time spent observing is determined by the academic program.

Level II

One of the key differences between level I and level II fieldwork is the required prerequisite time. To take part in level II, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) occupational therapy students must have completed the equivalent a minimum of 24 weeks full-time experience. For prospective occupational therapy assistants, they must have completed the equivalent of 16 full-time weeks. While students can complete level II fieldwork on a full-time or part-time basis, the AOTA dictates that it cannot be less than half-time.

In level II, students apply what they learned in classes as well as their previous field experience. This is an opportunity to strengthen their clinical reasoning practice and gain confidence in dealing with clients.

Occupational Therapy Checklist/Toolbox

  • While on the occupational therapy path, students should learn how to do the following:

    Assist and care for others

    Make decisions and solve problems

    Work well with others on the team and with clients

    Obtain document information

    Organize and plan work

  • Skills essential to success in occupational therapy include empathy, physical endurance and flexibility. Others include:

    Patience: to be tolerant when dealing with clients who may be frustrated with their progress

    Critical Thinking: to evaluate if the treatment plan is working or needs to be revised

    Interpersonal skills: to communicate with clients and family members from a variety of backgrounds, and also motivate and engage clients

  • Broad-ranging knowledge is needed by occupational therapy students:

    Psychology: to understand behavior, performance, learning and motivation

    Therapy and Counseling: to diagnose and provide treatment

    Education and Training: to teach and instruct clients and subordinates

    Customer and Personal Service: to understand the client’s needs and provide satisfactory service

    Public Safety and Security: to know safety policies and procedures, along with proper equipment usage, to ensure the protection of clients and information

Tools of the Trade

Since occupational therapy aides are involved in administrative services, they work with such tools as billing applications, data entry software and electronic medical records. Occupational therapy assistants and occupational therapists use such tools and equipment as arm braces and slings, gait and transfer belts, electric wheelchairs and exercise balls. Assistants and therapists also employ word prediction and writing support software – and other language arts and special educational software. In addition, they rely on a variety of customized software applications created for healthcare service providers.

Certification/Licensing

All states require a license for occupational therapists, and most have a licensing requirement for occupational therapist assistants. Professional recognition through the National Board of Certification for Occupational Therapy is a key prerequisite for earning a license.

The Certified Occupational Therapy (COTA) exam is intended for graduates with an Associate of Applied Science degree in the field. The Occupational Therapy Registered (OTR) exam is designed for those with a master’s or a doctoral degree in this discipline.

Occupational therapy assistants and occupational therapists take certification exams in order to be licensed or registered professionals, and some states have additional requirements. Aides, however, are not required to obtain a license or pass certification exams.

Continuing Education

Occupational therapy assistants and occupational therapists take continuing education courses to apply toward maintaining their respective certifications and keeping their skills sharp. They accrue these professional development units through a number of ways, including attending workshops and taking courses, presenting information, providing field supervision, publishing articles and volunteering their services.

Occupational Therapy Specializations

There are various specializations in occupational therapy. For example, the American Occupational Therapy Association offers specializations such as the following:

  • Pediatric Rehabilitation

    Explores developmental theories and how illnesses and injuries affect growth and development in children.

  • Geriatric Specialization

    Focuses on aging individuals, with ways to reduce or prevent falls and encourage continued mobility as long as possible.

  • Mental Health

    Examines assessments and treatment options in a mental health setting.

  • Physical Rehabilitation

    Analyzes physical performance in relation to rehabilitation.

In addition, some graduate schools offer advanced practice certificates in areas such as the following, with programs that usually consist of 12 credit hours:

  • Leadership in Autism Practice and Research

    Examines autism spectrum disorders and skills needed to work with clients.

  • Teaching OT in the Digital Age

    Provides the fundamental knowledge and technological expertise needed to teach occupational therapy curricula.

  • Neuroscience — Advanced Concepts for Evidence-Based Practice

    Delves deeper into neuroscience and neuro-based strategies for rehabilitation.

  • Neurocognitive Disorders and Innovative Practice

    Allows students to gain advanced knowledge regarding the new research and practice trends in treating neurocognitive disorders.

The Pros Weigh In:
Interviews with Occupational Therapists

This advice on careers and education comes straight from two experts in the field. Joy D. Doll holds a doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD) and is a registered/licensed therapist (OTR/L) and Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Creighton University. Cara Koscinski has a master’s degree in occupational therapy (MOT) as well as the OTR/L credential, and is author of The Pocket Occupational Therapist.

Why is occupational therapy a strong career choice?

Doll: Occupational therapy is a good career choice for two main reasons: 1) The opportunity to be creative and cater every intervention to the patient, and 2) the chance to really get to know clients by working closely with them on their recovery.

Koscinski: Occupational therapy is a great career choice since the population of “baby boomers” is now aging and needing more assistance to live independently. Teaching them about fall risk, ways to manage energy and how to be proactive in protecting their joints is of critical importance. In the pediatric arena, autism is becoming more and more common. Occupational therapy is critical as we provide interventions in fine and gross motor, handwriting, sensory processing skills, organization, visual perceptual skills and so many more services. OT is unique as we have the ability and training to work in many areas such as school, home and outpatient clinics.

What are the benefits of being an occupational therapist, OT assistant or OT aide?

Doll: The best part is working closely with clients to help them gain independence in doing their daily life activities.

Koscinski: The best part about being in OT is that we have the opportunity to make a real difference in someone’s independence. No one wants to be dependent or need help, and we can teach skills for living not only independently but also emphasize leisure activities as well. When someone comes in for OT and they aren’t able to complete a task, they are frustrated. But, as we work with the patient, they are extremely happy when they learn the skill and they are so pleased. The fact that OT makes a real difference in someone’s life is very, very rewarding!

Is there an interesting fact that most people don’t know about the occupational therapy profession?

Doll: Most people do not realize that occupation refers not just to people’s jobs but anything they do every day, and occupational therapists, assistants and aides get to help people be independent and live their lives to the fullest the way they want to live.

Koscinski: A little known fact about OT is that we can take our clients on trips into the community to provide on-the-spot training in critical skills. The work we do in the community is very important. There are even occupational therapists who work to ensure a company’s working environment is safe and functional for employees.

After Occupational Therapy School: What’s Next

The main goal of any graduate is to find a rewarding job. Good news–among the fastest growing occupations in the country, occupational therapy assistant ranks as No. 8, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The national average growth rate for all U.S. occupations is projected at 14 percent for the 2012-2022 period. Growth of employment opportunities in OT should far outpace the norm, at 43 percent for occupational therapy assistants, 36 percent for occupational therapy aides and 29 percent for occupational therapists.

But what does it take to enter this expanding field? The first step is education, followed by certification for occupational therapists and most occupational therapy assistants. Related fieldwork or volunteer experience can be helpful for job applicants. Those interested in occupational therapy aide positions can explore the qualifications required at places where they would like to work.

Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants and aides can find openings in a variety of locations. The BLS notes that there were 8,570 occupational therapy aides as of 2014, and they earned an annual median income of $26,550. The employers with the most occupational therapy aides are as follows:

  • 33%: Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists or audiologists

  • 32%: Hospitals (state, local and private)

  • 13%: Nursing and residential care facilities

  • 5%: Social assistance

  • 4%: Educational services (state, local and private)

There were 32,230 occupational therapy assistant jobs in 2014, and they earned an annual median income of $56,950 at that time. These professionals found the most employment in these areas:

  • 35%: Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists or audiologists

  • 22%: Nursing and residential care facilities

  • 21%: Hospitals (state, local and private)

  • 6%: Educational services (state, local and private)

  • 4%: Home healthcare services

The 110,520 occupational therapists in the U.S. in 2014 earned a national median income of $78,810 as of 2014. The highest employment rates for OTs were in the following settings:

  • 28%: Hospitals (state, local and private)

  • 22%: Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists or audiologists

  • 12%: Elementary and secondary schools (state, local and private)

  • 9%: Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities)

  • 9%: Home health services