Occupational Therapy is a growing healthcare field in the United States with increasing employment opportunities expected to steadily increase through 2020. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes occupational therapist assistant among its list of fastest growing occupations and predicts much faster than average growth (36% or more) for assistants. Penn State Berks offers an associate degree program that helps students prepare for careers as certified occupational therapy assistants.
The associate degree in Occupational Therapy is designed for students who want to become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs), working under the supervision of Occupational Therapists to enable people of all ages to function as independently as possible in their daily lives. COTAs assist therapists in evaluating, planning, and providing services to clients so they may care for their own personal needs; be productive in their homes, workplaces, or schools; and engage in leisure activities.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is a five semester program that includes courses specific to the major as well as general education courses to help students develop a general knowledge base. The program includes courses in psychology, anatomy, physiology, human development and family studies, and others. The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics states, “Employment is expected to grow much faster than average as demand for occupational therapy services rises.”
Internships, Research, and Application
Students in the Occupational Therapy degree program are required to complete two eight-week internships at health care facilities under the supervision of qualified occupational therapy personnel. Following graduation, students are eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.
A Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) supports individuals of all ages develop, recover, improve, or maintain the skills necessary for daily living, leisure, play, and work. COTA’s work in public and private schools, early intervention programs, general, psychiatric, and pediatric hospitals, day treatment centers, hospices and home health agencies, rehabilitation hospitals and centers, skilled and intermediate care facilities, community living programs, community wellness centers, and/or hand therapy clinics.
Penn State Associate in Occupational Therapy graduates are eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification exam. Successful completion of this exam certifies the occupational therapy assistant as a COTA. The National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam results for Penn State Berks can be found online. State licensure is required by most states and is usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification exam. A felony conviction may prevent a graduate from taking the NBCOT exam or obtaining a state license.
The Penn State Berks Occupational Therapy Assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA)
6116 Executive Boulevard
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
National Board for the Certification of Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT)
One Bank Street – Suite 300
Gaithersburg, MD 20878