Occupational Therapy Assistant Career Program

Degree offered

Associate in Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant

Credits required 72

Dean Patricia Dent

Program contact Johanna Duponte, Department Chair and Professor of Occupational Therapy, ext. 2325

Program Goals Statement

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program prepares generalist, entry-level occupational therapy assistants to practice under the supervision of registered occupational therapists in a variety of health care and wellness settings. Occupational therapy helps people of all ages with physical, developmental, social, or emotional challenges regain, develop, or master everyday skills in order to live independent, productive, and satisfying lives.

Student Learning Outcomes

See Learning Outcomes.

Applications with complete supporting documentation by February 1 receive priority consideration for fall admission.

Program Information

  • Two program options: Traditional and eHealth (hybrid i.e. online classes, on-site labs and community fieldwork.)  Both options are located in New Bedford.
  • OTA program traditional option courses are offered primarily during the day and some evenings; eHealth program option is offered Thursday - Saturday and one evening.  Many general education courses are available nights, weekends, and online and at satellite campuses.
  • Computer technology is integrated.
  • Students develop academic knowledge, clinical skills, and professional behavior through classroom, lab, and clinical experiences.
  • Students are encouraged to take MTH 119 and HST 111 or HST 112 for transfer to a Master's program in OT.
  • BCC graduates are recognized as well prepared entry-level practitioners by the clinical community and area employers.
  • Developmental and abnormal psychology, foreign languages, including ASL and deaf studies, are beneficial to practice as an OTA.  

After BCC

Graduates have taken positions as Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants in area schools, acute care, rehab and psychiatric hospitals, residential and day habilitation programs, sub-acute rehab, transitional care and outpatient settings.

Graduates may transfer to Occupational Therapy programs at senior institutions. Specific prerequisite requirements and transfer credit are determined by the transfer institution.

BCC participates in the statewide MassTransfer program and has developed many program-to-program transfer articulation agreements which guarantee admission and credit transfer. For a complete listing of eligible MassTransfer programs and current BCC articulation agreements, visit the Transfer Affairs Web site at www.BristolCC.edu/transfer

Infused General Education Competencies

Ethical Dimensions, Multicultural Perspective, Technical Literacy, CSS 101 (College Success Seminar)

Degree Requirements

General Courses

BIO 233Human Anatomy and Physiology I

4 credits

BIO 234Human Anatomy and Physiology II

4 credits

COM 101Fundamentals of Public Speaking

3 credits

ENG 101Composition I: College Writing

3 credits

ENG 102Composition II: Writing about Literature

3 credits

PSY 101General Psychology

3 credits

SOC 101Principles of Sociology

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:23

Choose one of the following

HLT 101Medical Language Module I

1 credit

HLT 102Medical Language Module II

1 credit

Total Credit Hours:1

Choose one of the following

MTH 119Fundamental Statistics

3 credits

MTH 125Modern College Mathematics

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:3

Elective Courses

Historic Awareness Elective

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:3

See General Education Competency Courses/Historic Awareness for course listings

(HST 111 or HST 112 recommended for transfer)

Program Courses

OTA 111Introduction to Occupational Therapy

3 credits

OTA 117Psychosocial Performance

4 credits

OTA 121Cognitive and Sensorimotor Performance

4 credits

OTA 125Movement in Human Performance

3 credits

OTA 127Psychosocial Therapeutic Modalities

4 credits

OTA 233Common Conditions of Physical Dysfunction

4 credits

OTA 235Professional Practice Skills

4 credits

OTA 237Developmental / Pediatric OT Practice

4 credits

OTA 241Level II Occupational Therapy Clinical Practice – A

5 credits

OTA 243Level II Occupational Therapy Clinical Practice - B

5 credits

OTA 244Seminar in Occupational Therapy

2 credits

Total Credit Hours:42

Recommended Course Sequence - Preadmission

BIO 111General Biology I

4 credits

Or

BIO 121Fundamentals of Biological Science I

4 credits

Or

BIO 233Human Anatomy and Physiology I

4 credits

ENG 101Composition I: College Writing

3 credits

And

PSY 101General Psychology

3 credits

Preadmission courses must be completed with grades of B- or better.

Recommended Course Sequence - Fall Semester 1

BIO 233Human Anatomy and Physiology I

4 credits

ENG 102Composition II: Writing about Literature

3 credits

OTA 111Introduction to Occupational Therapy

3 credits

OTA 117Psychosocial Performance

4 credits

Historic Awareness Elective

3 credits

HLT 101Medical Language Module I

1 credit

Or

HLT 102Medical Language Module II

1 credit

Recommended Course Sequence - Spring Semester 2

BIO 234Human Anatomy and Physiology II

4 credits

OTA 121Cognitive and Sensorimotor Performance

4 credits

OTA 125Movement in Human Performance

3 credits

OTA 127Psychosocial Therapeutic Modalities

4 credits

SOC 101Principles of Sociology

3 credits

Recommended Course Sequence - Summer

Consider taking any remaining Gen Ed courses to lighten semester load.

Recommended Course Sequence - Fall Semester 3

OTA 233Common Conditions of Physical Dysfunction

4 credits

OTA 235Professional Practice Skills

4 credits

OTA 237Developmental / Pediatric OT Practice

4 credits

COM 101Fundamentals of Public Speaking

3 credits

And

MTH 119Fundamental Statistics

3 credits

Or

MTH 125Modern College Mathematics

3 credits

Recommended Course Sequence - Spring Semester 4

OTA 241Level II Occupational Therapy Clinical Practice – A

5 credits

OTA 243Level II Occupational Therapy Clinical Practice - B

5 credits

OTA 244Seminar in Occupational Therapy

2 credits

Note OTA courses are offered only in this sequence

 

Recommendations for Success

Students are advised to complete most general and elective courses prior to beginning OTA program courses. OTA classes, labs, and clinical fieldwork require two to three days per week in Semester 1, 2, and 3 and 40+ hours/week in Semester 4. Some classes extend into the evening. Students often need to decrease work obligations as program requirements increase.

Program Outcomes 2009-2011

The total number of graduates who passed the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination as first-time new graduate test takers in 2009-2011 was 47 out of 54, which is a pass rate of 87%. During that three-year time period, the program had 56 graduates.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PROGRAM

Admission Requirements

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is a competitive-entry program with selective admission requirements. A limited number of students are admitted. Meeting minimal requirements places the applicant in the selection pool but does not guarantee admission.

Applicants must have completed high school or college algebra I or higher, or score 72 or higher on the Accuplacer Elementary Algebra placement test or successfully complete  MTH 119 or MTH 125; and have completed college-level BIO 111, or BIO 121 or BIO 233 and ENG 101 and PSY 101 with grades of B- or better. Successful can­didates have typically excelled in high school and/or college cience and math courses. They also demonstrate a GPA of 3.0 or above, have completed most general education requirements, and clearly articulate their knowledge of the field and their preparation for it in the application letter.

Applicants are required to observe or volunteer in an occupational ther­apy setting or with organizations that provide services for the disabled. Applicants must submit a letter outlining their interest in, knowledge of, and exposure to occupational therapy; and a description of how academic studies and life experiences have prepared the applicant for a career as an occupational therapy assistant. Students are required to attend a Health Science Information Session. Recommended deadline for filing an application is February 1 for fall admission.

Additional Costs

Students accepted into the program are responsible for associated costs such as lab coat, name tag, clinic supplies, graduate pin, review course, national certification exam, conferences, professional meetings, liability insurance, licensing fees, and fieldwork related costs, such as drug testing and travel. Students are also required to attend off-campus professional meetings and a variety of community activities.

Fieldwork Affiliations

Transportation to the fieldwork sites is the student’s responsibility. Students should be prepared to travel an hour or more from campus. Students are advised to discontinue outside work obligations during full-time fieldwork affiliations in the fourth semester. Fieldwork hours may extend into evenings and weekends and extend beyond the academic year. The availability of clinical affiliations depends on the ability of area healthcare providers to accept students. In some cases, affiliations will be completed in a fifth semester.

Health Requirements

Accepted applicants must have a physical examination, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and varicella (chicken pox) immunizations or titres results (blood test to prove immune status). A TB test is required each year. Students must be certified by the American Heart Association in C.P.R. (Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers). Students are required to maintain health insurance and C.P.R. certification throughout their enrollment. Additional laboratory tests, including drug screening are required, at least annually, by the program and clinical agencies.  The fee is paid by the student.

Grade Requirements

Students must receive a minimum grade of “C” (75) in all required occupational therapy assistant courses. Failure to earn a “C” or better will result in program dismissal. Students who fail, do not complete, or withdraw from OTA courses may reapply to the program, allowed once only, on a space available basis. The readmission decision is based on the recommendations of the faculty and department chair. Students must successfully complete all required coursework, clinical and program objectives and competencies within five years of initial acceptance into the OTA program in order to graduate. Level II fieldwork must be completed within 18 months of completion of the OTA academic coursework.

Requirements Upon Admission

Upon admission to the OTA Program students will be required to attend a program information meeting (late spring) and orientation (late summer). Additionally students must complete an online orientation to the program and online technical training prior to the start of classes.  Physical examination and CPR training must be completed prior to the start of classes.

Students will be required to submit to a C.O.R.I. (Criminal Offender Record Information) check that identifies any criminal offense history. A positive C.O.R.I. check may prevent students from participating in clinical assignments in contracted health facilities and prevent students from completing the program objectives.

The Massachusetts Board of Allied Health Professions requires licensure applicants to report any history of felonies or misdemeanors and may deny licensure to those applicants. Further information is available from the Board at www.state.ma.us/reg/boards/ah or at (617) 727-3071.

The Disciplinary Action Committee of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) may refuse to administer the certification exam, and/or deny certification to any individual charged with or convicted of a felony. For further information, contact NBCOT, 12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877-4150; (301) 990-7979.

Essential Functions

OTA students must possess certain cognitive, physical, and psychosocial abilities in order to successfully complete the requirements of the program and ultimately practice in the profession:

 

  • Cognitive ability to learn and apply the skills necessary to meet the curriculum requirements of the program and to qualify to take the NBCOT certification examination.
  • Sufficient visual skills to allow accurate reading of a medical record, reading and recording of vital signs, and assessment of patients within a distance of 10 feet.
  • Sufficient hearing skills to successfully interact with all team members as well as to hear and respond to equipment, monitors, and alarms.
  • Physical abilities to safely meet the multiple needs of various patient populations. This includes sufficient joint mobility, strength, motor control, balance, functional mobility and the ability to lift and move patients from one surface to another.
  • Communication skills to clearly and effectively communicate in English with patients, families, faculty, and healthcare workers in both verbal and written form.
  • Emotional stability to demonstrate professional interactions with faculty, patients, families, and all other professional staff; to demonstrate respect and confidentiality; to demonstrate good judgment and ethical behavior; to deal effectively with conflict situations; and to demonstrate ethical behavior and responsibility for oneself and his/her actions.

Accreditation

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program (Traditional Program Option) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, PO Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. ACOTE’s phone number is 301.652.2682. Graduates are 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). Most states require licensure in order to practice. State licenses require a separate application process which is based in part on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination and completion of all program requirements for graduation. A felony charge or conviction may negatively affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification or attain state licensure.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program (eHealth Program Option) is in the process of accreditation and has received developing program status by ACOTE. The eHealth option must be accredited by ACOTE prior to students’ graduation in order for its students to be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination offered by NBCOT.  An initial on-site accreditation evaluation is scheduled for Fall 2012. The accreditation decision is anticipated in late Spring 2013. Students can obtain more information from the program director (508-678-2811 ext. 2325) or ACOTE (301-652-2682).

Link to the main site.