Occupational therapy (OT) can be of tremendous benefit for those with developmental, emotional, and physical challenges. What’s not well known is how vital one member of the OT team is – the occupational therapy assistant (OTA). OTAs work directly with the client. If you want to become an OTA, then the occupational therapy assistant program you enter must emphasize how to encourage and inspire clients during therapy sessions. These soft skills are part of what it takes to be successful in the OT profession.
In fact, OTAs who’ve succeeded in this profession are quick to say skills such as establishing trust and exhibiting patience are as important as mastering therapy principles and techniques.
Soft Skills are Essential for an OTA
Successful OTAs have certain qualities that the right occupational therapy assistant program can help maximize:
How Does the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Rank?
Considering how much emphasis there is on soft skills today, your OTA degree should reflect this extra level of training. One way to ensure you receive what you need is to find an occupational therapy assistant program that uses instructors whose knowledge extends to all types of clients, including
What’s in Your OTA Degree Program?
Every occupational therapy assistant program is a bit different. Some OTA degree requirements are covered within a four-year degree plan. The classes teaching OTA knowledge and skills are there – but only represent some 75 hours of the required 120 hours in a typical four-year bachelor’s degree program.
Another type of occupational therapy assistant program is a 2-year degree: The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant. In this 75-hour degree plan, once you have all your prerequisite (preliminary) coursework, you advance directly into OTA coursework and instruction in therapy techniques.
Finally, you’ll have the four-to-five months of guided fieldwork that meets the training standards set by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). AOTA is the national professional association representing the interests of occupational therapy practitioners.
If you like the idea of a 2 year degree that can get you into the workforce quickly, consider the A.A.S. degree option – especially when the degree integrates the soft skills knowledge today’s employers want.
A 2-year Degree with a Promising Future
Job openings are there for OTAs who are graduates of a comprehensive occupational therapy assistant program. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the need for occupational therapy assistants will grow by 29% from now to at least 2026.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at CUKC
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) offers a 2-year degree in occupational therapy assistant: the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S). In addition to the professional OTA coursework, you’ll practice your OTA skill set in our on-campus simulated living quarters lab. Finally, you’ll do the four-to-five months of required fieldwork experience that gets you ready to help people of all ages reach their full potential.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university located in suburban Kansas City.
Features of the CUKC 2-year degree program:
Ready to learn more about a two-year occupational therapy assistant program? Click to receive a free ebook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.