One great possibility for that “caring for people” talent your family friends keep complimenting you for is that of an OTA career – occupational therapy assistant. It’s a people-first career, and OTA school only takes two years.
For people like you, OTA is a fantastic abbreviation – it is, after all, an “Opportunity To Achieve” something special.
OTAs work in partnership with occupational therapists (OTs) who design therapy plans. However, the truly exciting part of the therapy plan goes to the OTAs. They are the ones who get to work one-on-one with clients – they become as much of an encourager/coach as they are skilled healthcare specialists.
As students learn in their 2-year OTA school education, many types of clients benefit from what OTAs do.
As you might expect, each 2-year OTA school program will have differences. Still, each will focus on awarding students this degree: the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA).
One OTA program that’s had success over the past few years is the A.A.S. in OTA at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC). Since 2020, the program’s students have had a 100% pass rate on the national certifying exam.
Here’s a recent article summarizing the status of the CUKC program:
“…In the two years since the A.A.S. in Occupational Therapy Assistant program became fully accredited by the American Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), the OTA faculty and staff continue to expand experiences for its students and bring more students into the two-year degree program.
The University and program leaders continue to adjust and improve the OTA program. Enrollment in the OTA degree program is expected to increase as awareness of the program, and its structure becomes better known, according to Dr. Alex Bach, vice president of enrollment management.
CUKC Academic Advisor Caroline B. said most students coming to CUKC already have a general idea about the role, and some planned initially to become occupational therapists.
Students in occupational therapy (OT) and occupational therapy assistant (OTA) programs complete two levels of fieldwork education. Level I fieldwork is during didactic instruction; Level II is after didactic instruction. These experiences are evaluated by OTA school faculty or clinicians currently in the field.
Rachel Eisfelder, OTA program director, says the CUKC OTA program focuses on bringing in guest speakers from the occupational therapy profession and emphasizes hands-on skills practice sessions. Thanks to CUKC’s simulated living quarters lab space, many of those skills are taught on campus, and guest lecturers and hands-on instruction happen regularly.
Ms. Eisfelder says CUKC has graduates working in many client evironments, which adds to the appeal of becoming an OTA:
When you get satisfaction by helping others accomplish their goals, you’re well suited to become an occupational therapy assistant. How else can you tell? Well, measure yourself against these core attributes of OTAs:
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas, offers the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant. Most students complete our OTA degree program in about two years, including the required multi-month fieldwork experiences. Note: To connect quickly to someone who can answer your questions, click here.
Key elements of the CUKC program:
Confidence in our OTA school curriculum comes from knowing ours was designed with insight from practicing occupational therapy professionals and employer organizations. Our program aims to prepare you to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the need for OTAs will grow by 36% from 2020 to 2030, which is more than four times higher than the average growth for all occupations.
Want to know more? Get our free eBook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.