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In Ohio, there are a dozen public and private non-profit schools offering programs that can lead to a career as an occupational therapy assistant. Occupational therapy assistant programs require two years of full-time study, including field and classroom work, and culminate in an associate's degree. A criminal background check, immunizations and CPR certification are required for a student to start his or her clinical experience.
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
Located in Cincinnati, this college has nearly 11,000 students and offers an occupational therapy assistant associate's degree. Aside from fieldwork, the program covers such topics as anatomy and physiology, home modifications, disability and kinesiology. Emphasis is also placed on communications skills, professionalism and composition. Between 2009 and 2011, 83% of graduates from this program passed the NBCOT exam on their first attempt.
James A Rhodes State College
In Lima, James A Rhodes State College boasted a 98% pass rate for graduates who took the NBCOT exam for the first time between 2009 and 2011. To be admitted to the occupational therapy assistant program, prospective students must have an ACT composite score of at least 21 (18 in English and 20 in math and science). Basic computer skills, current CPR certification and 20 hours of volunteer or work experience in the field of occupational therapy are also required. Once admitted, students study topics such as psychology, anatomy and physiology, mental illness and sociology. A supervised clinical experience is also part of the curriculum at this school.
Kent State University at Ashtabula
In Ashtabula, Kent State University offers an associate's degree in occupational therapy assistant technology. Each summer, this program accepts up to 26 students. In addition to excellent grades and standardized test scores, two 20-hour occupational therapy observational experiences are required to be considered for the program. Once accepted, students complete 68 credit hours of courses, including anatomy, psychology, therapeutic techniques, movement and human growth. This school also has a student occupational therapy association for social and community activities.
Marion Technical College
The application deadline for the occupational therapy assistant program at this college in Marion is April 1. In order to qualify for acceptance, students must have an ACT composite score of 19 or higher and complete one 20-hour observational experience at an occupational therapy facility. The program includes three supervised clinical training sessions, general education classes and core content such as physical disabilities, occupational therapy for the elderly and children, clinical conditions and human development.
North Central State College
In 2012, all 13 graduates of the occupational therapy assistant program at North Central State College in Mansfield passed the NBCOT exam on their first attempt. Acceptance into this program is based on a points system, which takes into account things such as GPA, volunteer work, occupational therapy observation experience and work experience. Up to 16 students are accepted into this program each summer. The 2-year program includes practicum work and courses such as kinesiology, medical terminology, anatomy, physiology and psychology.
Owens Community College
A maximum of 30 students are accepted each Fall to the occupational therapy assistant program at Owens Community College in Perrysburg. Admission is based on standard college requirements, including SAT or ACT scores, GPA and high school completion. Once accepted, students begin full-time coursework. This program isn't available part-time or in the evenings. Aside from classwork, fieldwork is also required, including a one-week overnight camp experience during the summer semester of the first term and 16 weeks of full-time fieldwork during the second-year spring semester. Between 2009 and 2011, 83% of graduates of this program who took the test for the first time passed the certification exam.
Shawnee State University
At Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, prospective students must apply to the occupational therapy assistant program by April 1. Applicants must submit high school transcripts and standardized test scores and have completed high school or college-level algebra, biology and chemistry with a 'C' or higher. Prospective students must also finish 20 hours of volunteer experience under the supervision of an occupational therapy assistant, who will then fill out an evaluation of the prospective student's work. About 25 students are accepted each year based on their grades and test scores, a writing sample and volunteer work. Once accepted, students must complete 73 credit hours of work, including both classroom and fieldwork. From 2009 to 2011, 81% of Shawnee graduates passed the NBCOT exam on their first try.
Sinclair Community College
In Dayton, this school's occupational therapy assistant program accepts a maximum of 30 students each year. The clinical work must be completed within 12 months of admittance. Some of the courses explore treatment methods, evaluation techniques, disease processes and medical terminology.
Stark State College
In 2011, this North Canton school had a 91% NBCOT certification exam pass rate. A GPA of at least 3.0 is strongly preferred for acceptance into this program, and students must have completed high school biology, chemistry and algebra. Courses in physical dysfunction, therapeutic media, abnormal psychology and life span development are required, as well as clinical experiences.
Zane State College
The occupational therapy assistant program at this school in Zanesville had an 87% pass rate for first-time test-takers between 2009 and 2011. Admission is selective, so applicants should have an ACT composite score of at least 21 or a Health Occupations Aptitude Exam score of at least 35. Additionally, applicants must complete a minimum of 20 hours of occupational therapy observational experience and have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. This program requires 72 credit hours, of which 38 credit hours are core technical classes, such as foundations of occupational therapy, mental health concepts, pediatric occupational therapy and physical dysfunction. Two practicums are required during the final semester.
Ohio requires licensure to practice as an occupational therapy assistant. To obtain a license, an individual must have graduated from an occupational therapy assistant program accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Graduates of these programs must then sit for the certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Upon successful completion of this exam, an individual becomes a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) and can apply for licensure.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Cincinnati State Technical and Community College||2-year, public; large city||Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $3,825 in-state*
|James A Rhodes State College||2-year, public; small suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $4,045 in-state*
|Kent State University at Ashtabula||4-year, primarily associate's, public; distant town||Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant Technology|| $5,664 in-state*
|Marion Technical College||2-year, public; distant town||Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $4,480 in-state*
|North Central State College||2-year, public; rural fringe||Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $3,591 in-state*
|Owens Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $4,233 in-state*
|Shawnee State University||4-year, public; fringe town||Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $7,364 in-state*
|Sinclair Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $2,476 in-district*
|Stark State College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $3,686 in-state*
|Zane State College||2-year, public; distant town||Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant|| $4,646 in-state*
Source: *NCES College Navigator.