Occupational Therapy Assistant - FAQs

 
 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between occupational and physical therapy?

Occupational therapy personnel often work closely with the physical therapist in the delivery of services to the patient/client. Specifically occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are focused on skills the patient needs to learn or regain in order to resume his life roles and activities. The goal is not how far a patient can ambulate or how much he can lift but whether he can ambulate sufficiently to get across campus to his classes (if he is returning to college) and if he has sufficient strength in the arms to use a backpack effectively. Our focus is on all those life activities that we take for granted and makeup our daily lives.

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2. Can I enroll in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, complete all courses and then transfer to Towson entering the professional level masters program?

NO! The CCBC Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is a two year technical level program. It is designed to prepare students to function as certified occupational therapy assistants under the supervision of the registered occupational therapist. Occupational Therapy Assistant Courses are at the 200 level. The Occupational Therapy program courses are at the 400, 500+ level. Thus coursework does NOT transfer. However, most of the general education courses will transfer. Students desiring to pursue a professional level degree in occupational therapy are advised to contact those programs directly.

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3. What is the job market like for occupational therapy assistant?

Currently all of the OTA graduates from the past several years hold jobs. Many reported having a choice of employment opportunities. The OTA Program frequently receives flyers and phone calls from area recruiters looking to hire graduates. We have graduates who are employed in area hospitals and rehabilitation centers, long-term care/skilled nursing facilities, community based programs for the elderly and in the school system. With the exception of the school system, graduates tell us that they are being offered between $50,000 and $60,000 to start.

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4. Can I complete this program part-time while working full time?

Students must understand that the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is a small program only offering courses one time per year. In addition, the courses are all pre-requisites to one another and must be completed in a specific sequence. Thus moving through the program on a part-time basis is difficult and time consuming.

Students must also be aware that most of the OTA courses have not only a lecture and lab, but also a Level I Fieldwork component. Level I Fieldwork is a chance for students to begin to observe and apply what is learned in lecture and lab in a clinical situation. Students are often assigned to health care facilities anywhere from two half days to five full days. This fieldwork is in addition to the lecture and lab times spent on campus. Level II Fieldwork is full time with few exceptions.

5. What is Level II Fieldwork?

The two (2) Level II Fieldwork courses are OCTA 266: General Fieldwork and OCTA 269: Psychosocial Fieldwork. These two (2) courses are scheduled only after all other academic coursework (general education and OTA courses) are successfully completed. Assignment to these courses occurs through the OTA Program's Academic Fieldwork Educator. This person conducts several mandatory meetings to prepare students for entrance into Level II fieldwork. These meeting are outside of class time and are often scheduled during the final semester on campus.

Students must be aware of time commitments and assignment limitations surrounding this Level II Fieldwork. With few exceptions the Level II Fieldwork is full time for a total of four (4) months, two (2) months in general fieldwork and two (2) months in psychosocial fieldwork. The term "full-time" generally refers to Monday through Friday either 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, since this is a learning experience, students should be prepared to spend additional time at the Level II Fieldwork site, as they complete their progress notes and prepare for patient treatment sessions for the upcoming day. Therefore, students are strongly discouraged from attempting to work during the Level II Fieldwork. In addition, students should make sure their childcare situation can accommodate the hours expected on Level II Fieldwork, as well as, have back up plans for "snow days" or when a child becomes ill and can not attend the regular daycare/school program. With few exceptions, students are not allowed to miss days from the Level II field work assignment. Please refer to the Level II Fieldwork Manual for additional information. Students should also be aware that the Academic Fieldwork Educator will determine the assignment taking into consideration the student's learning style, interests and personal commitments. However, the ultimate goal is to provide the student with the best well rounded experience to adequately support successful completion of the national certification examination.

Students will be requested to comply with several health requirements imposed by the Level II Fieldwork sites. These may include recent physical, updated immunizations, recent PPD, CPR certification, and hepatitis vaccination. The student is required to comply with these requests and is responsible for the costs associated.

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6. Where can I find more information about the profession of occupational therapy?

American Occupational Therapy Association -- www.aota.org

Maryland Occupational Therapy Association -- www.mota.memberlodge.org

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy -- www.nbcot.org

Maryland State Board of Occupational Therapy practice -- dhmh.maryland.gov/botp/SitePages/Home.aspx

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