A certified Occupational Therapy Assistant collaborates with the supervising occupational therapist to provide the use of occupations (everyday life activities) with individuals and/or groups across the life span. These occupations include ADLs (activities of daily living), IADLS (instrumental activities of daily living), education, work, rest, sleep, play, and social participation. Occupational therapy assistants provide services that will promote health, well-being, participation and engagement in occupation throughout one’s lifespan. Occupational therapy assistants apply a holistic approach and recognize the significance of the mind, body and spirit as they focus on areas of physical, cognitive, psychosocial and sensory impairment. The occupational therapy assistant may be employed in a variety of traditional and emerging practice areas. These practice settings may include but are not limited to: hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, out-patient facilities, schools, community based health agencies, behavioral health programs, and home health agencies.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant curriculum at Raritan Valley Community College includes both classroom education at the College and fieldwork/clinical training in occupational therapy in community settings. Upon successful completion of academic and fieldwork education, students are awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree. In order to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, students must graduate from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education [ACOTE], located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD, 20814. The phone number for ACOTE is (301) 652-AOTA, and the website can be accessed through http://www.acoteonline.org. and successfully pass an exam administered by National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy [NBCOT]. The college has applied for accreditation, which begins with a Candidacy Application on April 17, 2017. Upon receipt of Candidacy from ACOTE, students can be admitted into the program, which will begin Spring 2018. After review of a major self-study of the program by ACOTE, the college expects to be offered accreditation in April 2020, prior to student graduation in May 2020, so students can take the NBCOT exam starting June 2020. Students beginning the program in Spring 2018 must be aware that they are entering a program that is not accredited at that time but should be accredited by the time they graduate, allowing them to take the NBCOT exam to qualify to apply for state licensure to practice as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
The OTA program must inform ACOTE of the transfer of program sponsorship or change of the institution’s name within 30 days of the transfer or change. Inform ACOTE within 30 days of the date of notification of any adverse accreditation action taken to change the sponsoring institution’s accreditation status to probation or withdrawal of accreditation. Notify and receive ACOTE approval for any significant program changes prior to the admission of students into the new/changed program.
Inform ACOTE within 30 days of the resignation of the program director or appointment of a new or interim program director. Pay accreditation fees within 90 days of the invoice date. Submit a Report of Self-Study and other required reports (e.g., Interim Report, Plan of Correction, and Progress Report) within the period of time designated by ACOTE. All reports must be complete and contain all requested information. Agree to a site visit date before the end of the period for which accreditation was previously awarded. Demonstrate honesty and integrity in all interactions with ACOTE.
Graduates are able to:
- Function as generalists, able to utilize broad delivery models and systems in both current and emerging practice settings.
- Demonstrate entry-level competence as an OTA obtained through a combination of rigorous academic and fieldwork education, including a foundation in liberal arts and sciences.
- Under supervision of a registered Occupational therapist (OTR), apply occupational therapy interventions in a variety of contexts and environments in accordance with evidence-based OT practice to support engagement in everyday life activities.
- Articulate and apply therapeutic use of occupations with individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
- Use ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession in all interactions.
- Effectively communicate and work inter-professionally as a team member with all who provide care.
- Advocate for occupational therapy services and for recipients of service.
- Commit to life-long learning for personal and professional development.
Admission requirements: Applicants must first complete an RVCC application including proof of high school completion or GED, and transcripts from all colleges attended. Applicants must take the Accuplacer if needed to qualify for entry into English Composition I [ ENGL 111] and have Mathematics proficiency through Elementary Algebra (MATH 020) or qualify for Intermediate Algebra (MATH 030/MATH 030R) and a minimum 2.75 GPA to apply to RVCC OTA program. Then, applicants must complete an OTACAS application: https://otacas.liaisoncas.com/ , a criminal background check, complete a Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT) and written assessment in RVCC Testing Center. All applications will be reviewed by RVCC OTA committee and ranked by an established rubric system and students with the highest scores will be offered admission first. Students who submit proof of residency for Somerset and Hunterdon county are given priority placement