Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant Programs: Online Programs
A certified occupational therapist assistant works in the healthcare field, helping patients who have suffered from illnesses or accidents recover their best level of functioning. Keep reading to find out more about associate's degree programs for aspiring occupational therapist assistants and what courses are involved. Get licensing and certification details and career information, too.
What Degree Program Is Required to Become an Occupational Therapist Assistant?
An associate's degree is the most common educational pathway to becoming an occupational therapist assistant. It's recommended that you pursue a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Such accredited programs are available from a number of schools, and they're essentially all campus-based. Prospective students are typically required to have high school diplomas or equivalent. Some programs also require college-level prerequisite courses, such as anatomy and physiology.
|Study Required||Associate's degree most common pathway for career|
|Common Courses||Medical terminology, biomechanics, developmental psychology, pathophysiology|
|Licenses and Certification||Requirements for licensure, certification or registration vary by state; continuing education courses usually required to maintain your license|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||28% growth (for occupational therapy assistants and aides)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$57,620 (for occupational therapy assistants and aides)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Courses Will I Take?
Associate's degree programs for occupational therapist assistants offer general education courses, in addition to core courses that cover preventing, treating and managing rehabilitation programs for patients who have suffered from an illnesses or injuries. In addition to coursework, you'll also be required to complete supervised fieldwork to gain hands-on experience working with patients and professionals in the field. Some of the courses you can expect to take in this type of degree program cover the following topics:
- Medical terminology
- Developmental psychology
- Therapeutic activities
Will I Need a License or Certification?
Most states require either a license, certification or registration to work as an occupational therapist assistant. If you're planning on working in a school setting or an early intervention program, you may need to take additional education courses.
Voluntary certification is also available through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. This certification is nationally recognized and generally involves passing an exam, which will give you a designation of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). You may have to complete continuing education courses in order to maintain your certification and, in some states, to maintain your license to work.
What Is the Job Outlook For This Field?
Employment opportunities for occupational therapist assistants was expected to grow very quickly at a rate of 29% between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). A growing population of elderly people and an increase in the number of patients who suffer from injuries and disabilities are expected to grow and drive the demand in this field. As of March, 2018, the median expected salary for occupational therapist assistant was $60,220, according to BLS.