Occupational Therapy Assistant
Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant
The Associate of Science Occupational Therapy Assistant program at South University West Palm Beach prepares qualified students to become occupational therapy practitioners. The program prepares students with knowledge and skills for competent entry-level practice in a variety of contexts for an ever-changing world. Occupational Therapy (OT) is a profession that promotes the health and well-being of people across their lifespan and aims to 'treat the whole person' to help individuals perform meaningful and purposeful daily activities. Occupational therapy assistants work with people of all ages who have physical, psychological, or developmental conditions to help them gain or regain skills lost due to injury or illness to regain or accommodate the loss of motion, strength, coordination, sensation, perception, cognition, or balance. The Occupational Therapy Assistant program further seeks to lead the profession and community through its contributions in educational leadership, community and professional service, learning, and scholarship.
Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program at South University, West Palm Beach is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA. http://www.acoteonline.org.
Graduates of the program will be 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, most states require licensure 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.
Effective April 1, 2017, ACOTE changed the accreditation status of the Associate of Science degree offered by the OTA Program on the South University-West Palm Beach campus to Probationary Accreditation for noncompliance with ACOTE Standard A.5.6 (Certification exam pass rate). The program remains accredited; ACOTE has requested that the OTA Program submit a Progress Report based on the Plan of Correction to return the program to full compliance with ACOTE Standard A.5.6 within the mandated period for correction. ACOTE voted to grant the request to extend the period for compliance with Standard A.5.6 until March 2020.
Admission RequirementsPlease see the South University academic catalog for program specific admissions requirements.
Areas of practice for OTA's include pediatrics, mental health, physical disabilities, and geriatrics, working with people who have cancer, cardiopulmonary, metabolic, musculoskeletal, neurologic, neuromuscular, orthopedic, sensory conditions, and more.
Practice settings include but are not limited to acute care hospitals, rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, public and private school systems, and private practice.
If you are interested in pursuing a career as an occupational therapy assistant, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent and an associate’s degree from an accredited program offering the occupational therapy assistant curriculum. Individuals graduating from the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at South University will graduate with an Associate of Science degree.
Once all academic and fieldwork requirements are completed, students apply to take a national certification exam that is administered online by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Program performance data on the NBCOT certification examination is available for public viewing by state and program level: https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx.
Upon successful completion of this exam, individuals may use the designation COTA following their name. NBCOT re-certifies occupational therapy practitioners every three years and has set continuing education requirements as part of that process.
The practice of occupational therapy is regulated in all 50 states; different states have various types of regulation that range from licensure, the strongest form of regulation, to title protection or trademark law, the weakest form of regulation.
Be sure to contact the licensing department in your intended state of practice to obtain the appropriate information specific to you.
The Web site address for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) is http://www.nbcot.org/.
OTA Performance Data on NBCOT Certification Exam
Program performance data on the NBCOT certification examination is available for public viewing by state and program level: https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx.
Offered at South University, Columbia; South University, Tampa; and South University, West Palm Beach
Note: Students will only be required to take UVC1000 Strategies for Success if they are required to take ENG0099 and/or MAT0099.
(must be taken concurrently with)
(must be taken concurrently with)
Graduation Rate for OTA Program at South University, West Palm Beach
The total number of students graduating from the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at South University, West Palm Beach, during the 5-year period of June 1, 2015 – June 30, 2019 is listed below:
NOTE: This information is posted in compliance with ACOTE Standard A.4.2. Accurate and current information regarding student and program outcomes must be readily available to the public on the program’s Web page. At a minimum, the following data must be reported for the previous 3 years: Total number of program graduates and graduation rates.
NOTE: Graduation rate is determined by dividing the number of students newly enrolled in a cohort of the Professional OTA Program by the number of students in that cohort who complete degree requirements within 150% of the published length of the Professional OTA Curriculum, or within nine quarters, which includes time enrolled.
The program goals of the South University, West Palm Beach, Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs are as follows:
- Prepare occupational therapy assistants who appreciate and adapt to diverse and alternative cultures, settings, systems, processes, and ideas.
- Foster student skill in accessing relevant literature and information, using research-based evidence to make informed decisions in occupational therapy practice.
- Cultivate student skill in effective critical thinking, problem-solving, and clinical reasoning with clients across the lifespan in diverse practice settings.
- Foster development of student’s communication skills to promote effective, appropriate interaction with all stakeholders.
- Instill in the student the values, attitudes and behaviors consistent with the occupational therapy profession's philosophy, standards and ethics.
- Provide the student with opportunities to acquire skills in advocacy for the profession of occupational therapy to other professionals, service providers, consumers, third-party payers, regulatory bodies, professional associations and the public.
- Provide the student with a challenging curriculum that prepares students to deliver occupational therapy assistant services with entry-level competency under the supervision of an occupational therapist in a variety of practice settings.
- Impart to the student a passion for lifelong professional development to meet changing societal needs.
Provide ongoing opportunities for stakeholders in the OTA Program to have input into the development and evaluation of the OTA Program in ensure the Program remains true to its mission and philosophy
Occupational Therapy Assistant at South University
When someone is in need, are you quick to lend a hand? Have you often been described as a good listener? As you choose your own career path, it is important to think about areas where you naturally excel in day-to-day life. those everyday talents - such as showing compassion, paying attention to detail, and even physical strength - will serve you well as an occupational therapy assistant. We invite you to find out more by contacting the Admissions Department at South University. Let us help point you in the right direction as you explore your future career path
Learn More About the Profession
Occupational therapy practitioners "treat the whole person" to help individuals perform meaningful and purposeful daily activities (occupations) that promote independence during leisure or at home, school, or work. Occupational therapy practitioners work closely with each individual to identify what is most important to him or her and enhance quality of life.
The registered occupational therapist (OTR) evaluates the client and develops a plan of care. The certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) works under the supervision of the occupational therapist to implement the plan of care. The plan of care can be as simple as helping someone learn how to tie his or her shoes or as complex as helping someone regain movement, strength, and coordination on one side of the body.
Other examples of occupational therapy interventions include:
- Training children in balance and coordination activities so they can fully participate in school activities.
- Helping older adults recovering from a stroke to get dressed, bathe, and cook using only one hand.
- Helping injured workers regain range of motion and muscle strength to re-enter the workforce.
- Helping people with mental health impairments increase attention span and regain coping skills so they can fully participate in social situations.
- The ultimate goal is to improve clients’ quality of life and their ability to perform daily activities as independently as possible.
Occupational therapy interventions also focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task, and teaching people skills. Occupational therapy services may include conducting comprehensive evaluations of the client’s home and other environments (e.g., work, school) or making recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use. Occupational therapy practitioners provide education and training to clients, family members, and caregivers. Occupational therapy practitioners are an integral part of the therapy team.
Occupational therapy practitioners use meaningful activities (occupations) to engage clients in activities of daily living (e.g., eating, bathing, dressing, hygiene). Occupational therapy practitioners are trained to modify the environment and train individuals to use assistive technology to attain functional independence. Occupational therapy practitioners also help clients regain range of motion, muscle strength, endurance, and coordination as they engage in activities that are meaningful to each client. The occupational therapy practitioner will educate and train a person with an upper limb amputation to use the prosthesis in activities of daily living.
The occupational therapy and physical therapy practitioner work closely together to help the client become as independent as possible in.
OTA at South University
South University West Palm Beach
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Director
Janir A. Rivera
MOT Loma Linda University
BSOT University of Puerto Rico
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
M.S. Caribbean Center for Advanced Studies
B.A. University of Puerto Rico
A.S. University of Puerto Rico
Learn More About OTA
www.aota.org/Students.aspx - The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The Web site for the American Occupational Therapy Association offers information on the profession and answers questions often asked by persons applying to academic programs.
www.acoteonline.org - AOTA's Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®) is recognized as the accrediting agency for occupational therapy education by both the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
https://www.secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx - The Web address for NBCOT program data results.
bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm - The Web site for the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, offers information on job duties and demands, anticipated job growth, and median pay for Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides.
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