The University of Central Arkansas offers the only master's degree program in the state accredited by ACOTE. There are also a handful of Arkansas schools offering ACOTE-accredited associate degree programs; at least one technical certificate in the field is also available. Associate's degrees in occupational therapy assisting include clinical experiences outside of the classroom; students pursuing a master's degree will likewise include fieldwork, as well as a thesis. Although associate's degree programs usually have minimal requirements of applicants, graduate degree students must hold a bachelor's degree and have earned observation hours in an occupational therapy clinic.
Baptist Health College - Little Rock & Pulaski Technical College
This Little Rock school offers an OTA associate degree program in conjunction with Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock. Courses for this 70-credit-hour program are held in a facility featuring lab space and a simulated home environment. Topics of study cover areas like medical terminology and the structure of the human body. Students also complete several fieldwork experiences prior to graduation. Applicants affiliated with Pulaski Tech will interview at Baptist Health College - Little Rock for admission; however, they'll pay their tuition and fees to Pulaski Tech, as well as apply there for financial aid.
East Arkansas Community College
East Arkansas Community College is located in Forrest City and enrolls about 1,000 students each year. The school's OTA associate degree has been recognized as a developing program by ACOTE. It's currently offered in conjunction with South Arkansas College, which allows students to sit for the national certification exam upon graduation. After completing 38 credit hours of prerequisite coursework, students examine such topics as kinesiology, physiology, abnormal psychology and therapeutic activities. The program's curriculum also includes several practicums.
East Arkansas Community College also offers a Technical Certificate in Health Professions with an occupational therapy assistant track. This program requires students to complete 17 credit hours of core coursework and an additional 17 credit hours of study in areas including sociology and developmental psychology. Students who complete this curriculum can transfer their credits to the school's associate degree program.
South Arkansas Community College
Situated in El Dorado, this college enrolls approximately 2,000 students each year. It offers an OTA associate degree program that includes 83 credit hours of study in the major. Course topics focus on such subjects as clinical management techniques and intervention skills for groups. Students also examine treatments for pediatric and geriatric patients and complete fieldwork.
University of Central Arkansas
Conway's University of Central Arkansas offers a 2-year Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program that requires a minimum of 69 credit hours of study. Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree, meet course prerequisites and have completed at least 20 hours of observation in an occupational therapy clinic. Once admitted, students examine topics like applied anatomy, clinical administration and kinesiology. Holistic intervention and assessment techniques are covered as well. The program's curriculum also includes four fieldwork experiences, and students may elect to write a thesis during their studies. The school intends to admit new students to the entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program in 2017; by then, only currently enrolled students will be able to continue in the master's program.
In Arkansas, occupational therapists (OT) and occupational therapist assistants (OTA) must apply for a state license after passing an exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). To sit for the occupational therapist exam, the NBCOT requires candidates to possess a master's degree in occupational therapy from a school approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). An ACOTE-accredited associate's degree is required to sit for the occupational therapist assistant exam.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Occupational Therapy Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Baptist Health College - Little Rock||2-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city||Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate of Applied Science||$8,802*|
|East Arkansas Community College||2-year, public; distant town|| Health Professions Technical Certificate,
Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate of Applied Science
| $2,790 in-district;
|Pulaski Technical College||2-year, public; small city||Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate of Applied Science|| $4,332 in-state;
|South Arkansas Community College||2-year, public; remote town||Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate of Applied Science|| $2,402 in-district;
|University of Central Arkansas||4-year, public; small city||Master of Science in Occupational Therapy|| Graduate: $5,644 in-state;
Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics.