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] 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 in 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).
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: RVCC application including proof of high school completion or GED, transcripts from all colleges attended, and signed Acknowledgement Form from the OTA Packet. Applicants must have Mathematics proficiency through MATH 020 (Elementary Algebra), completed the HSRT entrance test, and completed a criminal background check showing ability to practice in the field. All applicants will be evaluated initially given a ranking score based on their overall GPA and HSRT test score. The highest scoring students will then write an essay on the field of Occupational Therapy in the college testing center. The essay will then be scored and students with the highest essay scores will be offered admission first.