UPDATED MARCH 31, 2020
If you’ve decided you want to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA), but don’t yet have the finances to make it happen, you’re not alone. At some point, everyone has felt that way when making their career plans. With the information in this blog, you might find that an occupational therapy assistant program is more accessible than you think!
The first step when it comes to being worried about money for your college education is…stop worrying. It’s normal to feel anxious about financial aid, but don’t let it consume you. Nearly everyone needs some assistance with college. There are lots of financial options available; you just have to find what’s right for you.
Regardless of where you choose to pursue an occupational therapy assistant program, you may need some financial help to make it happen. Here are three types of financial aid available that will help you earn your degree. In many cases, students use a combination of funding sources to help them achieve their academic goals.
The best place to start is by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA application will determine what kind of aid you may be able to access.
Types of Financial Aid for OTA Degree Seekers
Depending on your financial situation, you may be eligible for federal grants. A grant is money that you receive that doesn’t have to be paid back. They are need-based and take into consideration your income along with other variables. Begin your search with grants and then move on into other areas. One of your best resources for grant information is the federal government.
Another option is scholarships. They are gifts for your education that don’t need to be repaid. There are thousands offered each year to people just like you, but many times, this free money goes unclaimed because people don’t pursue it. There are scholarships of all types, and you can explore which ones you may qualify for online.
Also, most schools usually have their own scholarship opportunities for students; you just need to explore what’s available. The financial aid team at your school is a valuable resource when it comes to financing your education. Their job is to help you achieve your educational goals in the occupational therapy assistant program – or other degrees you wish to pursue. Private and local scholarships may not provide large awards, but they can still make earning your degree more affordable.
Federal Student Loans
This funding source is available through the U.S. Department of Education and comes in the form of low-interest loans and federal work-study funds. The FAFSA application will help to determine the programs for which you qualify. There are many different options, and there are likely some that are right for you. For example, did you realize there are scholarships for military families?
While some people may have initial concerns about student loans, it’s important to remember that college would not be possible for most students without the loan option. If you choose to take out a student loan to be part of an occupational therapy assistant program, work with the financial aid team to create a budget and payment plan. This way, you have an idea as to what you need to do to pay off your loan and how long it will take you to do so.
Knowing that promising employment opportunities await you after graduation should eliminate most concerns about loans. According to Salary.com, the annual median compensation for an OTA is $59,310, and the field is expected to grow by 33% through 2028.
Cleveland University-Kansas City: Your University for Healthcare Education
If you are considering an occupational therapy assistant program, make sure you include Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) in your school search. Located in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, CUKC is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university. CUKC has been educating health care professionals since 1922.
CUKC offers the A.A.S. in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree that can get you started on your OTA career path. The CUKC College of Health Sciences accepts students into the occupational therapy assistant program three times per year, giving you the opportunity to start the program when you’re ready.
The occupational therapy assistant program at CUKC consists of 16 core courses and the 16 weeks of fieldwork education OTA employers seek. Concentrated eight-week courses link together classroom training and clinical experience, so you learn and apply concepts, skills, and best practices faster.
To learn more about the 2-year occupational therapy assistant program at CUKC, download your free OTA profession ebook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.