Occupational Therapy Aide: Online Diploma

Occupational therapy aide courses aren't available online, but students can find occupational assistant courses through online study. These courses typically cover theoretical topics in therapy, medicine and treatment. This article summarizes the more common distance learning courses that are available in online programs.

Essential Information

Online diploma programs are typically not available for occupational therapy aides who need on-the-job training to work in this position. A related option is an OT assistant (OTA) program. OTA associate degree programs can be found in hybrid formats, which combine online courses with on-campus labs. Students will want to look for programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

Hybrid OTA associate degree programs can usually be completed in two years. A key element of these programs is the required clinical rotation that provides students with practical experience. Students can participate in rotations at local healthcare facilities. OT assistants usually need to be licensed so aspiring OTAs will need to verify that the selected hybrid program meets licensure requirements.

Admission requirements include drug and TB tests, proof of immunizations and current CPR certification.

List of Common Occupational Therapy Assistant Courses

Students admitted to an OTA associate program may have to complete prerequisites in anatomy and physiology, math and English composition. Core classes focus on issues that affect human mobility and movement, therapies that help mitigate such problems and how the occupational therapy profession operates as a whole.

Occupational Performance for Newborns to Adolescents

This course examines the physical and physiological development of humans from birth through their teens. Students learn to recognize problems and develop adaptive strategies.

Occupational Interventions for Newborns to Adolescents

Building on the previous class, this course provides an in-depth exploration of the conditions for which children are most often sent to occupational therapy. Students learn observation and assessment techniques, as well as how to teach patients exercises and adaptations.

Occupational Therapy for Adults

The fundamentals of adult biomechanics are presented here. Emphasis is placed on issues that negatively influence the mobility of adults, including aging, injuries, disease and work activities.

Practicing Therapeutic Interventions

This course provides an overview of the therapeutic process, including best practices. The organizational structure and division of labor in OT clinics and physician offices is also discussed.

Ethics in Occupational Therapy

Case study analysis is used as a framework to examine professional ethics, liability issues and clinical decisions. Participants also learn about the role of local and national professional organizations.

Career Information for Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 43% increase in the number of OTA jobs during the 2012-2022 decade, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. OT aide jobs could also experience a large increase (36%) during the same period. In addition, the BLS reported that as of May 2013, OTAs working in the U.S. earned an average salary of $55,250, while OT aides took home an average of $28,990.

Licensing and Continuing Education Information

Most states require OTAs to be licensed, and some call for continuing education. Requirements can be found through each state's department of licensing. OTAs may also voluntarily take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam in order to use the title Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. OT aides aren't eligible for certification, nor is a license required.

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