It’s never been a better time to enter the growing health care field. And there are fewer health care careers as in-demand right now as occupational therapist assistants. Now you can become one in as little as two years through Mercyhurst North East’s occupational therapy assistant associate degree program.
Occupational therapy assistants help people of all ages regain, develop, or master everyday skills in order to live independent, productive, and satisfying lives. Whether it’s an infant with developmental problems, and elderly person facing health challenges, or a person who is living with disabilities, OTAs help patients with rehabilitative activities and exercises and monitor their progress.
At Mercyhurst North East, you’ll get both classroom instruction and fieldwork in actual OT settings, providing you with the knowledge and hands-on skills to succeed in this growing field. The integrated two-year curriculum consists of a balance of liberal studies, science and technical courses. Course topics include abnormal psychology, psychosocial disabilities, physical disabilities, pediatrics and aging populations.
Graduates of this program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of the NBCOT examination, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
What can I do with this degree?
Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) work under the direction of occupational therapists to provide rehabilitative services to persons with mental, physical, emotional, or developmental disabilities. OTAs help clients with rehabilitative activities and exercises outlined in a treatment plan developed in collaboration with an occupational therapist. Activities can range from teaching the proper method of moving from a bed into a wheelchair to the best way to stretch muscles. Assistants monitor an individual’s activities to make sure that they are performed correctly, provide encouragement and record their client’s progress. OTAs also work with the therapists to assess progress and make appropriate treatment changes.
OTAs work in a variety of job settings, including:
- Mental health centers
- Nursing homes
- Home health agencies
MNE alum may also go on to earn a master’s degree in occupational therapy to practice as an occupational therapist.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of occupational therapist assistants is expected to grow an astounding 41 percent between 2012 and 2022, much faster than average for all occupations.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD, 20814-3449. AOTA’s phone number is 301-652-2682. Visit them online at www.acoteonline.org. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, individual states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.