Graduates of the program are prepared to qualify as contributing members of the health care team who will care for patients under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist. The goals of the occupational therapy team are to develop, restore, or maintain adaptive skills in individuals whose abilities to cope with daily living are threatened or impaired by disease, injury, developmental disability, or social disadvantage. This program is offered in partnership with Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) and degrees will be conferred from SWCC.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, P. O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. AOTA’s phone number is (301) 652-2582. Graduates of the program will be able 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; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the structure and function of the human body.
- Demonstrate knowledge of common diseases and disorders treated by OT.
- Demonstrate the ability to document OT services to ensure accountability and to meet standards for reimbursement.
- Identify components of professional behavior in the clinic and work setting.
Occupational therapy assistants earn good incomes and work in a wide variety of settings. The U.S. Labor Department estimates that job openings for occupational therapy assistant will rise by nearly 40 percent over the next decade.
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants can find employment in a wide variety of settings, including: hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation clinics, schools, and social service agencies.
An academic advisor will review your preparation in Mathematics and English with you. You’ll be guided to appropriate preliminary coursework to give you the greatest chance of success in this program.
In addition to the general requirements for admission to the College, consideration for a position in this program requires the following:
- Graduation from high school or satisfactory completion of the GED.
- The completion of one unit each of biology (with laboratory) and chemistry (with laboratory) or completion of BIO 141 and BIO 142 with no grade below a “C”, prior to January 15 application deadline (deficiencies can be made up through developmental studies or college courses).
- High school seniors who have not completed the full sequence of the prerequisite courses must be enrolled in the second semester of these courses and have earned a grade of “C” or above for the first semester to be considered for program admission. Grades in these courses must reflect a minimum of “C.”
- All high school courses and/or college work must reflect an overall grade average of “C” (2.5 GPA) or higher.
- The completion of the Virginia Placement Tests (VPT) or multiple measures policy, with demonstrated readiness for ENG 111 and proficiency in MTE 1-6.
- Satisfactory completion of ENG 111 with grade of “C” or above will meet the ENG pre-requisite
- Scores of 520 or above for SAT math and 22 for ACT math or College Math courses number 151 or above with at least a “C” grade or better will meet the Math pre-requisite
- The completion of the TEAS-AH test
- Any prescribed developmental studies courses, must be successfully completed before the January 15 application deadline.
- Twelve (12) hours of observation in an occupational therapy setting should be documented by the OT personnel denoting and date(s) and time(s).
Classes begin the fall semester of each academic year. Students accepted into the program are required to submit a certificate reflecting a successful physical examination, signed by a licensed physician. The physical examination must be completed after receiving notification of acceptance to the program and prior to beginning classes. Immunizations must be current and include Hepatitis B and MMR. Proof of Tuberculin skin test (PPD) and CPR certification must be shown on admission to the program and kept current throughout the program. Students are responsible for any additional costs related to physicals, vaccinations, uniforms, insurance, background checks, drug testing, clinical travel, or other needed supplies or requirements.
Clinical and Behavioral Requirements
Selected and supervised learning experiences are required by this program and will be accomplished at selected health care facilities. Because there are limited clinical sites within the area, students may be required to travel to other areas to complete clinical training. Students are responsible for providing their own transportation, uniforms, and living expenses during fieldwork experiences. In the fifth semester, there will be 40 hours per week of clinical time (Level II fieldwork) in two eight week segments, so students must plan their schedules accordingly. Program faculty will observe and evaluate the student’s suitability for the profession. If in the judgment of the Program Faculty the student does not exhibit those behaviors required of the occupational therapy assistant, the student may be asked to withdraw from the program. All OTA students must complete Level II Fieldwork within 18 months following completion of academic preparation. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
The student is required to complete a sequence of courses and learning experiences. Students must achieve a grade of “C” or better in all program courses. Any student receiving a grade of “D” in any of the program courses will be placed on Program Probation. That course shall be remediated once, with a written contract containing the requirements of the remediation. Please note: Students may be required to wait at least one academic year before they will have an opportunity to remediate the course. Students on program probation status will only be allowed to remediate the course if there is an open position in the class. Dismissal from the program shall result if: 1) the student does not meet the requirements of the probationary contract; 2) the student receives a final grade of less than “C” in any program courses either during or after the period of the Program Probation; or 3) a final grade of “F” in any coursework after admittance to the program will result in dismissal from the program. Remediated courses must be completed with a final grade of “C” or better.
Criminal Background Check/Drug Screening
Background checks for criminal history and sex offender crimes against minors are required for entrance into some clinical agencies. Students with convictions may be prohibited from clinical practice and may not complete the program. Clinical agencies may require drug testing prior to placement of students for clinical rotations. Students with positive drug test results may be prohibited from clinical practice and may not complete the program. Cost for criminal background checks and drug testing will be the responsibility of the student.
For Further Information, Contact:
Sarah Clarkston, Health Sciences Advisor
Annette Looney, Program Director, SWCC
Kim Dorton, Dean