Occupational Therapy Assistant

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Are you interested in working in a healthcare environment where you can be creative? Does the idea of teaching clients how to adjust to life with a health condition appeal to you? Do you want a career that is challenging, rewarding and in high demand?

If any of these match your goals, a career as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) may be a great fit for you!

Occupational therapy (OT) is the use of purposeful activity with individuals who are limited by physical injury or illness, psychosocial dysfunction, developmental or learning disabilities, poverty and cultural differences or the aging process, in order to maximize independence, prevent disability, and maintain health. Specific OT services include: teaching daily living skills; developing motor skills and sensory functioning; developing play/leisure skills and work capacities; designing, fabricating, or applying selected devices or adaptive equipment; using specifically designed crafts and exercises to enhance functional performance; administering assessments; and adapting environments for the handicapped. These services are provided individually, in groups, or through social systems. (Adopted from the American Occupational Therapy Association.)
The occupational therapy assistant program is an associate of science degree major designed to prepare students to obtain employment as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA); or a related field. The occupational therapy assistant program at Casper College is six semesters in length in which students complete five consecutive semesters of required academic course work, plus two eight-week fieldwork placements. The sequence begins with the fall semester and progresses through two years including one summer session. The courses build on information from previous semesters. After completion of academic course work, fieldwork is completed. Our  faculty/student ratio of 1:12 means you receive more individual attention from instructors.

The OTA program is not a distance education program. Two prerequisite courses are offered completely online, face to face, or hybrid, a combination of the two, including OCTH 2000- Introduction to Occupational Therapy  and COTA 2300- Fieldwork Integration I.  This gives students flexibility to explore the OTA program. Once a student is admitted into the OTA program, there are several hybrid classes including; COTA 2020- Human Occupations and Life Role, COTA 2100 - Psychosocial Aspects, and COTA 2160- Leadership Skills. Distance Education courses are also offered to include COTA 2420 and COTA 2450 courses. Upon academic completion students will complete COTA 2500 - Fieldwork A, COTA 2550- Fieldwork B  and COTA 2600  Fieldwork Options, using Moodle, the Learning Management System, in conjunction with the field work assignments to facilitate communication between the academic fieldwork coordinator and students. The faculty also utilizes Moodle to house learning materials for students and enhance classroom instruction. Technical support and training are available to any student using Moodle.

Students are admitted provisionally the fall semester. At the end of this first semester, applications are completed for full acceptance. At this time, students are granted full acceptance to the program, if requirements are met. The coursework is primarily laboratory experience designed to accommodate 12 students. The top 12 students in the admission process will be admitted. If more than 12 students are prepared to enter the program, they may be placed on a waiting list. A student must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in each of the behavioral and biological sciences, English composition, and all occupational therapy course work. (Check with Program Director, many years two sections are admitted allowing the program to accommodate 24 students.)

Degrees

For requirements and more information about this program, view its listing in the course catalog:

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Certificates

FAQs

What do occupational therapy assistants do?

Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) help people learn the necessary skills to live independent, productive lives.They provide services to individuals whose abilities to cope with the tasks of daily living are threatened or impaired by developmental deficits, the aging process, physical injury or illness or psychological or social disability.

Where do OTAs work?

Occupational Therapy Assistants work in a wide variety of settings, however, they are primarily employed in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation hospitals, community programs and public schools.Our graduates enjoy a high percentage of employability within months after graduation.

How much do OTAs make?

The salary for entry level OTAs in this area (Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska) is usually $15-$18.00 per hour. OTAs on the East and West Coasts make around $22-23 per hour as entry level therapists.

How do I become admitted to the program and how long is it?

Students are provisionally accepted during their first fall semester. Then, at the beginning of the second semester, interviews are conducted and the available slots are filled. If the number of applicants exceeds the 24 available spaces students may be placed on a waiting list. The program requires completion of 76 semester hours. The last semester is spent working under the supervision of a practicing therapist for 2-eight week sessions.

Why choose Casper College's OTA program?

Besides Casper College's very affordable tuition rates, you will receive current and up-to-date instruction from a fully qualified faculty who cares about you. Over 85% of our graduates are currently employed as COTAs.

Accreditation

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program began offering class in 1996 and graduated its first class in 1997. Initial accreditation was obtained in 1997.

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Casper College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Pass Rates.

Feedback from fieldwork sites and employers indicated the graduates are well prepared for the positions they have been hired to work. The Casper College 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. The AOTA's phone number and website are 301-652-AOTA (2682),  www.acoteonline.org.

NOTE:  To ensure that occupational therapy practitioners meet ethical and professional standards prior to entering the profession, all applicants for initial certification are requred to provide information and documentation related to any illegal, unethical or incompetent behavior.  Persons with a felony history may not be eligible to sit for the certification examination.  When you apply to write the certification examination with the National Board of Certification of Occupational Therapy, you will be asked to answer questions related to the topic of felonies.  For further information on these limitations, you can contact NBCOT at:

Graduation              Students                       Graduation           Number of Students                   NBCOT

       Year            Entering/Graduating              Rate             Completing NBCOT exam           Pass Rates

                                                                                                                        in year of graduation

       2013                              23/21                             91%                                       19                                          100 %

       2014                              21/16                             76 %                                      19                                              95 %

       2015                             20/16                             80 %                                      15                                              95 %

       2016                              21/15                            71%                                        20                                              95%

Total                                     85/68                            75%                                         73 students                        

Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Outcomes

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program will graduate students who are able to:

  • Become certified by the National Board of Certification of Occupational Therapy
  • Attain licensure in the state of Wyoming and/or their chosen state of practice
  • Practice as an entry level generalist
  • Demonstrate values and attitudes congruent with AOTA's standards and ethics
  • Collaborate with the registered occupational therapist and carry out skilled occupational therapy treatment interventions through the continuum of care
  • Plan and implement occupational therapy services to prevent deficits and to maintain or improve occupational performance under the supervision of and in collaboration with a registered occupational therapist
  • Participate in managing occupation therapy services
  • Identify and resolve problems by using trained observation skills; problem solving, critical analysis, and decision making
  • Implement a variety of effective communication skills when interacting with peers, clients, family members and other health care providers
  • Employ meaningful, client centered, culturally relevant occupations as the focus of practice
  • Promote awareness and understanding of the occupational therapy profession and the role of the occupational therapy assistant to individuals with varied knowledge of the profession
  • Assume responsibility for continued learning and skill development in occupational therapy practice

Resources

Fieldwork Educator Resources

Mission Statement

The Casper College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program will provide a psychosocial theoretical and evidence based education for students of different ages and cultures to become occupational therapy assistants who integrate and exemplify the philosophies, ethics and standards of Casper College and the American Occupational Therapy Association. The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program will prepare competent entry-level occupational therapy assistants, who are critical thinkers, reflective practitioners, and generalists, at the associate level through integration of academic and experiential learning experiences, The curriculum incorporates the general education requirements with major course requirements, and it is expected that graduates will be capable of service delivery of occupational therapy assistant services for a variety of settings, and that they will be able to assume leadership roles in professional associations, continuing education, and practice. Thus, the OTA program embraces Casper College’s philosophy of education for a lifetime and mission to contribute the quality of life for our graduates and the services they provide in their practices.

Contact

Academic Assistant, School of Health Science
Office: HS 202
307-268-2235
Program Director;
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Director
Office: LH 113B
307-268-2867
Dean, School of Health Science
Office: HS 202A
307-268-2495

Faculty

Cassady Hoff, OTA Program Director

Theresa Robinett,  OTA Instructor and Certificate Coordinator

Melissa Neff, OTA Instructor and Fieldwork Coordinator