The desire to graduate from an occupational therapy assistant program is one thing that’s clear to you. What’s less clear is how to make the most of your educational experience as you work toward your occupational therapy assistant degree. Thankfully, OTAs are resourceful, creative individuals with a knack for working with people, so you’ll find OTAs are eager to share resources and ideas within the profession. The secret is to know where they are and to use them for all they’re worth.
While you’ll be introduced to a variety of resources as an OTA student, here are 10 top resources to explore.
1. Get to know the AOTA
The American Occupational Therapy Organization (AOTA) is the national organization for occupational therapists (OTs) and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs). At www.aota.org, you’ll find news, licensing requirements, career tools, and tips for your job search.
As a student in an occupational therapy assistant program, you qualify for an AOTA student membership, entitling you to full AOTA member benefits at a heavily discounted rate.
2. First-year OTA Student Toolkit
The amount of information to absorb in OTA school will challenge you, so being prepared makes sense. That fact makes the AOTA’s “First-year Toolkit” a must-have resource.
You’ll find tips and techniques for
3. Online OT Community
A terrific perspective for OTA students is the “CommunOT” website. Some access to this online community is free, although you must be a registered user or an AOTA member for detailed content.
4. Your School’s Faculty and Staff
Remember, you’re not alone in your journey toward an occupational therapy assistant degree. Universities that put their OTA students first will offer wide-ranging student support programs.
As you interview occupational therapy assistant programs, keep organized about things such as
You should also have an assigned advisor who will keep you on track during the class, lab, and fieldwork segments of your OTA degree program.
5. A Guide to Prerequisite Courses
Although your university and occupational therapy assistant program faculty and staff will help ensure your success, you’ll need to make sure you’ve covered all the prerequisite coursework first. Most of these foundational courses will be available in online, classroom, or hybrid format.
This coursework typically covers 24 credit hours in various areas, from English Composition to Speech to introductory classes like Anatomy & Physiology I.
If possible, complete your prerequisites at the same school that offers your preferred occupational therapy assistant degree program. Some schools will provide preferential admission to students who qualify and continue to their school’s OTA program, so it’s worth doing your research.
6. OTA Fieldwork Expectations
Classwork and lab time are part of an OTA’s professional education, but students in OTA school also undergo three to four-month field experience.
You’ll find yourself in various work settings, allowing you to interact with individuals of all ages and from many cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. A great resource for navigating the Level I and Level II fieldwork expectations can be found here.
7. OTA Guide website
A group of certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) professionals passionate about occupational therapy operates an OTA guide website at occupational therapy assistant.org.
In addition to information like listing job duties and researching salaries for specific locations, you can post questions that will be answered by practicing OTAs.
8. Apps to Consider
Since your smartphone is nearly always with you, it makes sense to maximize its use during your time in OTA school. On this AOTA website page, you can download apps related to the practice area you’re studying or the practice area in which you’ll next be doing fieldwork.
9. Bureau of Labor Statistics
For an unbiased look at the occupational therapy assistant career, try the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website. This website provides a full perspective of the OTA role, education standards, pay scale data, and a career outlook that shows breakdowns by state and region.
10. Free Ebook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career
For an across-the-board look at the OTA profession and the right criteria to consider when choosing an OTA program, have this free, downloadable ebook handy: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.
You’ll be excited about the immense impact OTAs have in today’s health care field, appreciative of the two-year associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree plan, and encouraged by the strong career outlook for the OTA profession.
There’s no substitute for getting information directly. Our admissions and program advisors at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) are eager to answer any questions you might have about our two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree Program.
CUKC is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university located in Overland Park, Kansas. The CUKC occupational therapy assistant program presents OTA knowledge and skills in eight-week segments.
Other features of the CUKC program:
The more you know about becoming an OTA, the better earning an occupational therapist assistant degree might look to you. Download the free CUKC ebook today: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.