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Occupational Therapy Assistant

Career and Program Description

Anatomy & Physiology Lab

Occupational therapy assistants help people who have mental, physical, or developmental disabilities. Their goal is to help patients live more independently. Major employers include hospitals, nursing homes, schools, rehabilitation centers, and occupational therapist' offices. The number of jobs for occupational therapy assistants nationwide is expected to grow much faster than the average through the year 2018.

In Oregon, the annual entry-level wage for occupational therapy assistants is $38,930 per year. The average annual median wage in Oregon is $47,420, and the average top wage is $54,430. The national entry-level wage is $31,150 per year. The national median wage is $48,230 per year, and the top wage is $65,160 per year.

The OTA program leads to a two-year associate degree and prepares students to function as entry-level occupational therapy assistants (OTA). OTAs work under the supervision of occupational therapists to help clients develop, maintain, and/or regain health and function through the use of purposeful activity. They address physical, mental, and social components of activity as they work with clients to improve the underlying cause of impairment and/or to adapt activities for client success. This program follows a hybrid-delivery model in which the “classroom” portion is delivered online (to allow participation by students at remote sites) and the “laboratory” and “clinical” portions are delivered locally and at partner sites throughout Oregon. Graduates will be eligible and prepared to sit for the national certification examination.

A student who successfully completes the Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant will be prepared to:

  • Pass the national certification examination.
  • Secure employment as entry-level occupational therapy assistant.
  • Use a client-centered, holistic, occupation-based approach to assessment and intervention.
  • Establish therapeutic relationships with clients.
  • Employ entry-level activity analysis, critical thinking, and clinical reasoning.
  • Demonstrate entry-level technical skill and clinical competency.
  • Follow current standards of practice and use evidence-based research.
  • Display professional attitudes and behavior including following the profession’s code of ethics and adhering to all laws and regulations governing the practice of occupational therapy.
  • Communicate appropriately and effectively with clients, healthcare team members, and the public including verbal and written communication.

For further information on the OTA program and program advising call 541-245-7845 or e-mail Bruce Scanlon.

Note: LBCC's Occupational Therapy Assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. ACOTE's telephone number c/o AOTA is 301-652-AOTA. Program graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.