Occupational Therapy Assistant Technology Associate Degree

Occupational therapists (OT) are specialists who help people overcome the effects of physical injuries, disabilities and developmental impairments. Assistants to occupational therapists work with these professionals to help improve the lives of patients. Learn more about degree programs for OT assistants, what topics will be covered, whether degree programs are offered online and what the job outlook is. Schools offering Occupational Therapy Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Expect in an Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate's Degree Program?

Courses you might typically encounter in an occupational therapy assistant associate's degree program include anatomy and physiology, occupational therapy for psychosocial disabilities and dysfunction, lifespan development and kinesiology. Programs include lab work and several field experiences or internships.

Common Courses Anatomy and physiology, lifespan development, occupational therapy, kinesiology
Online Availability No complete degree programs available online, though some coursework can be virtual
Licensure and Certification Licensure required in most states; voluntary COTA credential is available from NBCOT
Career Outlook (2016-2026) 28% growth (for occupational assistants and aides)*
Mean Annual Salary (2016) $60,410 (for occupational assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Sort of Online Programs Are Available?

Because of the heavy reliance on labs and field experience, there are no programs presented entirely in an online format. Lectures may be delivered online. In many cases these are conducted in real time, so that you are actually participating in the classes as they meet. You may be required to attend lab and clinical sections on campus or at a school-approved remote facility. Field experience requirements are the same as in a traditional program.

Why Do I Need This Degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you may qualify for a position as an occupational therapy aide with a high school diploma (www.bls.gov). An aide is not the same as an assistant. An assistant has greater responsibilities, more qualifications and a better chance for advancement than an aide.

Occupational therapy aides receive most of their training on-the-job and are not required to be licensed. In order to be eligible for a position as an occupational therapy assistant, you must have earned an associate's degree from a school accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

Completion of a program can qualify you to sit for the certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Passing the examination entitles you to use the designation of certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). While certification is voluntary, licensure is mandatory in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Many states use the NBCOT examination as a basis for licensure.

What Is the Occupational Outlook?

In 2019, the BLS projected that employment opportunities for occupational therapy aides and assistants would increase by 28% from 2016-2026. This increase can be partially attributed to federally mandated funding for the education of the disabled and to the growth of the older segment of the population. The BLS determined in 2018 the mean annual wage for occupational therapy assistants to be $60,410.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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