Occupational Therapy Assistant
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is the therapeutic use of "occupation" or work, self-care and play/leisure activities to increase independent function, enhance development and prevent disability. It may include adaptation of tasks or the environment to achieve maximum independence and to enhance the quality of life. Professional occupational therapists work with individuals of any age who are affected by developmental problems, psychosocial issues, physical problems, the aging process, poverty or cultural differences. They perform evaluations, plan interventions strategies, implement the intervention strategies using occupation, and finally evaluate the outcomes. Work settings include hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home health, schools systems, long term nursing facilities, industries, private practice, prisons, mental health and community centers.
What does an Occupational Therapy Assistant do?
The certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) may assist in evaluation, program development and implementation of occupational therapy services.
Where does a COTA work?
Occupational therapy assistants may work in hospitals, rehabilitation or mental health programs, schools, nursing care facilities, community settings, private clinics, and physician's offices, or even in industry preventing work related dysfunctions.
What personal skills will be necessary?
Personal Skills necessary for success as an occupational therapist include:
- a strong commitment to serve people,
- interest and understanding of the social and biological sciences, and
- Skill in sensitive and effective communication.
What is the salary of an Occupational Therapy Assistant?
Salaries for entry level occupational therapy assistants in Georgia may range from $35,000 to $39,000/year depending on location and responsibilities.
Who should study OT?
If you enjoy meeting challenges and solving problems, as well as being creative, you'll find outstanding career opportunities in the growing field of occupational therapy. Occupational therapy is a health care profession based on the belief that occupation through work, leisure, and self care activities can be used to prevent both physical and psychosocial dysfunction and to enhance function and health.
When is the application deadline?
The OTA program starts a new class each fall semester. Applications are taken and reviewed up to June 1st. Acceptance and denial letters will be mailed within two weeks following the deadline.
How can I increase my chances of being chosen for the Program?
The successful applicant will:
- Meet or exceed the GPA requirements.
- Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the profession of occupational therapy.
- Be able to effectively communicate in writing
- Submit a complete application with all required forms and shot records
Can I work while in the OTA program?
Most OTA classes have labs and clinicals which means they are longer in length than lecture classes. The number of hours spent in class, plus study time, will make it difficult if not impossible to work while in the OTA program. Some students are able to work a weekend job while in the program.
If I decide later that I want to go on to become a registered occupational therapist, what will I have to do?
Becoming an OTA will allow you to enter the profession of occupational therapy in the shortest amount of time, 2 years. If you decide later that you would like to continue your education, you will need to complete a bachelor"s degree and be accepted into a masters OT program. The OTA classes you take here (or in any OTA program) will not transfer into a higher level OT program. This is because the depth of the courses is different for the technical (OTA) and professional (OTR) level.
What is a typical OTA student like?
The OTA Program accepts students from a wide range of age levels and backgrounds. A typical class might include recent high school graduates, single parents, individuals opting for a career change, and adults reentering the workforce. A mature and committed student makes a successful OTA.
What if I have been convicted of a crime?
The OTA Program does not discriminate on the basis of any previous convictions. A student will not be refused admission to the OTA program if he/she has a criminal record. If you have a felony or have been convicted of legal and/or moral violations, NBCOT and the state licensure board have the right to refuse to grant you certification and/or licensure.
Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.