Occupational Therapy (OT) began with growing industrialization and has continued in the wake of modern warfare. OT assistants (OTAs) help people with disabilities in numerous ways, from work or war related injuries, to clients of all ages with every kind of disability including developmental delays, autism, cerebral palsy, chronic illness, serious physical injuries, cognitive disabilities, mental illness, and neurological disorders. OTAs also help people of all ages who are healthy with a focus on wellness, productive aging, and preventative issues.
OTAs are heroes to those they serve. They help people return to productivity — but in a new form. They also are advocates who educate and assist people of all ages to identify and work towards client-centered goals to maximize independence and quality of life throughout the lifespan.
At L&C, students are prepared to become OTAs who help clients create a new life of maximum independence. The program is a combination of academic preparation and supervised clinical practice.
Students will study and practice a range of treatment modalities including:
- home management training
- environmental modifications
- safety training during daily occupations
- wheelchair positioning and modifications
- sensory integration techniques
- teaching of life skills to clients with mental illness
- energy management techniques
- cognitive and neuromuscular retraining techniques for clients with neurological dysfunction
- management of chronic illness
- health and wellness promotion.
OTAs work in tandem with families, doctors, nurses, case managers, social workers, and other therapists. They work in a variety of settings under the supervision of an occupational therapist including:
- skilled nursing facilities
- assisted living facilities
- school systems
- mental health centers
- rehabilitation hospitals
- residential care facilities
- home health settings
- work hardening centers
- community settings.
The program can be completed in two years and is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Graduates are qualified 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). Graduates will then apply for licensure in the individual states where they intend to work at a COTA.
Occupational Therapy Assistant | AAS degree
Links & Resources
OTA Entrance Exam
Checklist for OTA Application
OTA Program Outcomes
The total number of graduates from the Lewis and Clark Community College (L&C) Occupational Therapy Assistant program during the 3-year period of 2014-2016 was 61, with an overall graduation rate of 86%.
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Following the completion of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, graduates are able 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). Illinois requires all occupational therapy practitioners to be licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulations (IDFPR) in order to practice once the individual has passed the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
Access NBCOT examination comparison pass rates from schools across the country, including L&C OTA students.
Lewis and Clark’s OTA 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 20824-1220. AOTA’s phone number is (301) 652-AOTA. Direct access to the AOTA to the ACOTE website is: www.acoteonline.org.