Tyler Junior College

Occupational Therapy Assistant


What is OT?

In its simplest terms, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. (aota.org 2014)

What is the difference between an “OTR” and a “COTA”?

An “OTR” is a registered Occupational Therapist who has completed a Master’s level educational program in Occupational Therapy and passed the national registry exam. OTRs practice independently and are qualified to supervise COTAs. A Master’s degree is the entry-level degree for all OTRs. A COTA is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant who has completed an Associate’s level education program in Occupational Therapy and passed the national certification exam. A COTA works under the supervision of an OTR to implement the plan of care developed by the OTR.

How long is the Program?

The TJC OTA program is 5 semesters. The program begins in the Fall and runs 5 consecutive semesters, including summer. The final semester consists of two 8 week fieldwork experiences working full-time under the supervision of Occupational Therapist or a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. In total, there are approximately 22 months of coursework and fieldwork.

When do classes start?

The first class for the OTA program will start the Fall of 2014. A new group (cohort) of students will be admitted each Fall.

How many students are accepted each year?

20 students

Is it easy to get a job after I complete the Program?

Yes. There are opportunities with facilities and agencies throughout the area, and statewide, in many practice settings. The demand continues to grow for OT practitioners nationwide in all practice areas. The demand for Occupational Therapy services is expected to increase 33% or more according to various sources.

See: http://www.aota.org/Education-Careers/Considering-OT-Career.aspx

Is there a way to get an OTR degree after I get my COTA license and degree?

Yes. Initially, a student will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree. There are several programs in the area that provide a “bridge” from a bachelor’s degree to an MOT degree to allow a student to become an OTR.

What is the difference between PT and OT?

The professions of occupational therapy and physical therapy are similar and traditionally work closely with one another when treating their patients. A physical therapist works with a patient to increase their ability to move within their home, community, and at their “work” (either job, school, or even sports) and improve their strength to make this mobility easier. An occupational therapist works to help a patient increase independence in daily living tasks, work, and leisure activities and to perform their life roles to the best of their ability.