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Occupational Therapy Assistant Certificate Program Overviews

Read about academic programs for aspiring occupational therapy assistants. Get details on program prerequisites, common coursework and employment outlook information.

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Essential Information

Occupational therapists help ill or injured patients regain basic skills, such as dressing themselves and eating independently. There are no certificate programs for students who are aspiring to become occupational therapy assistants. However, several colleges and universities offer 2-year occupational therapy assistant (OTA) associate's degree programs.

These programs feature lectures and emphasize hands-on, clinical experience. Students gain a basic understanding of medical terminology, human anatomy and patient care techniques. They are also prepared to sit for the National Occupational Therapy Assistant Certification Examination, given by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.

Education Prerequisites

The primary educational prerequisite for an associate degree program in occupational therapy assisting is a high school degree or GED. Some occupational therapy assistant programs have additional qualifications, such as CPR certification or completion of certain math and science courses.

Program Coursework

Core courses in an occupational therapy assistant program might include the following:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Human growth and development
  • Introduction to occupational therapy
  • Occupational therapy skills
  • Kinesiology
  • Occupational therapy and disabilities
  • Occupational therapy and physical dysfunction

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Demand for occupational therapy assistants was forecast to grow by 43 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, This growth was expected to be fueled by an increase in the number of aging baby boomers requiring occupational therapy in the face of degenerative conditions. The median annual wage of occupational therapy assistants was $53,240 in 2012.

Continuing Education Information

Occupational therapy assistants who aspire to advance in the occupational therapy field will need to continue their education at a 4-year college or university. In general, a master's degree is the minimum educational requirement for employment as an occupational therapist.

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