Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

Offered through Health Sciences

@ Meramec

This program prepares you for positions as occupational therapy assistants (OTA) who work under the supervision of registered occupational therapists. The Associate in Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant is a 67-credit-hour program for students who want to become occupational therapy assistants. Occupational therapy is a health profession concerned with promoting the quality of life of individuals as they participate in everyday activities, and may help people who have suffered an injury, or for those who are developmentally delayed or have problems associated with aging. Occupational therapy uses selected educational, leisure, vocational and rehabilitation activities to help individuals reach the highest functional level possible. If you want to help patients increase self-reliance and to assist them in leading a more balanced life of work and leisure you will find success in this career path.

Required Courses

The semester by semester plan blends general education requirements with options for areas of concentration to ensure students get the most out of their certificate or degree.

Students must take the OTA courses in the sequence and semester in which they appear in the course of study.

Program Coordinator

Cynthia Ballentine, MSOT, OTR/L

Email

cballentine@stlcc.edu

Phone

314-984-7364

Overview

As an OTA you’ll help people whose lives have been interrupted by injury or disease, as well as those who are developmentally delayed or have problems associated with aging. You’ll learn to consider the big picture and use educational, leisure, vocational and rehabilitation activities to help your clients function at the highest possible level. Through academic and practical experience you’ll master the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in this field, including:

  • Coursework:
    • the structure and function of the human body
    • psychology
    • occupational therapy principles and technique
    • health and disease
  • 16 weeks of full-time clinical experience under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist or a certified occupational therapy assistant
  • Development of key skills: interviewing, assessing, treatment planning and implementation
  • Emphasis on developing critical thinking skills through the use of case studies as well as the development of professional behaviors

Small class size: Teacher/student ratio is 1:24 and lab is 1:12.

Faculty: STLCC is a longtime leader in the OTA field, and you’ll learn from seasoned professionals — our instructors work in the industry and bring that experience to the classroom.

Licensure 

Graduates of the program will be 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). All states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a student’s ability to participate in fieldwork, sit for the NBCOT exam, obtain licensure and/or employment. Students may wish to contact the program director for additional information before applying to the program.

Accreditation

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, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. AOTA’s telephone number is 301-652-AOTA. The website is www.acoteonline.org.

  

 

St. Louis Community College's Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program was established in 1983 and is the oldest OTA program in the St. Louis metropolitan area. It is a well-established, affordable program with a high certification exam pass rate.

The OTA Program requires two full academic years to complete. During the first year students take general education and required courses, as well as the first OTA courses. Students who have already completed a portion of the coursework described for the first year may not need to be full-time students. Once admitted to the Program, science and professional courses must be taken, as outlined, in the proper sequence and within the prescribed time frame. See the semester by semester plan.

The second year of the OTA program is a full-time concentration of professional coursework and full-time clinical assignments. This portion of the program cannot be completed on a part-time basis. Students on clinical affiliation are required to follow the schedule of the affiliating institution during their assigned placements.

Several of the OTA courses are taught by clinicians active in the field. Additionally, equipment required for specific coursework must be utilized in the clinical setting, because of these factors, SCHEDULING OF MANY OF THE PROFESSIONAL COURSES IS FREQUENTLY IN THE LATE AFTERNOON OR EVENING HOURS. See the program director for specific questions regarding scheduling of courses.

All coursework must be completed within three years of beginning the program.

Because of the heavy academic and clinical load, students should not anticipate holding full-time jobs while enrolled in the Program.

Early Determination

Students enrolled in the OTA program complete fieldwork each semester. In the first three semesters of the program, students complete Level I fieldwork in addition to regularly scheduled class time. During the fourth semester of the program, students complete Level II fieldwork. Level II fieldwork is a full-time, 40 hour-per-week placement, and the student adheres to the established schedule at the fieldwork site.

Hospitals and facilities may mandate that a criminal background check and/or drug screening check (at the student’s expense) be conducted prior to placement in a clinical or field setting. Students not passing these checks may be prohibited from participating in the clinical or field experience thus rendering the student ineligible to satisfactorily meet the course and program requirements.

Students complete their clinical work in a variety of places in and around the metropolitan St. Louis area, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, out-patient facilities, long term care facilities, community-based services, and private practice.

The STLCC OTA program develops these clinical sites and is responsible for assigning each student. The student is not responsible for establishing his/her own clinical placements.

We admit up to 24 students every fall. Admission to the OTA program is on a first-come, first-served basis for those students who meet the minimum academic and other requirements. In order to facilitate the entry of students in the available spaces, a waiting list is used. A student is placed on the waiting list once program application prerequisites have been met and a program application has been submitted. Placement on the waiting list is based solely on the date of application. Students will be sent a letter each fall while on the list asking for their intentions to pursue admission to the program. Failure to respond to this letter by the deadline will result in removal from the list. Letters will be sent in the spring to those being offered admission to the program in the fall semester. All those receiving letters must attend a mandatory program orientation in May.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is a selective admission, college-level program. Students must have successfully completed specific requirements prior to application, including:

  • high school or college cumulative grade point average of 2.5
  • minimum placement test scores or successful completion of specific courses
  • successful completion of “Intro to Biology” or Biology 111 within the last five years
  • completion of eight hours of observation with an OT or OTA, and submission of the OTA observation form

Students must complete the appropriate pre-requisite courses before enrolling in the required general education, biology, and OTA courses.

Once accepted to the OTA Program, there will be a mandatory orientation during the first part of May.

All OTA students must complete Level II fieldwork within 18 months following completion of academic coursework.

Please Note:  Credits earned in STLCC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant AAS program generally do not transfer to occupational therapy master’s degree programs. The curriculum for an OTA degree is distinctly different from the curriculum for an OT degree. OTA focuses on technical skills and knowledge, while the OT degree emphasizes theory, research, and management. In addition, the OT degree is an entry-level master’s degree. In most cases, a student would need to complete a bachelor’s degree before beginning an OT degree program.

OTA Program Admissions Requirements

In compliance with St. Louis Community College policies, the OTA Program is committed to non-discrimination with respect to race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. 

Standards are based upon required abilities that are compatible with effective performance in a career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Core Performance Standards / Essential Functions for the Occupational Therapy Assistant

The student can expect to incur some fees/expenses while enrolled in the OTA program and upon graduation. While enrolled these fees include, but are not limited to:

Maintenance fees for pre-requisite, general education, and OTA courses:   

  • In District - $110.50/credit hour
  • Out of district - $157.50/credit hour
  • Out of state - $215.50/credit hour

(In District total cost - $7,738.50 for two years taking all courses in the curriculum)

Textbooks and course materials:  Students are expected to purchase the required textbooks and course materials for OTA courses each semester. These can cost anywhere from $200.00-$800.00 per year.

Health insurance:  All OTA students are required to carry personal health insurance at your expense. Students are also required to have liability insurance each semester for fieldwork; however, this is covered by the college through tuition fees.

Castlebranch Compliance Tracker:  Required for the student to upload OTA Program paperwork requirements. The cost is $27.50.

Family Care Safety Registry: Required for placement at fieldwork sites. Will cost $15.00.

Criminal background check:  Required for placement at fieldwork sites. Will cost approximately $14 and up depending on the number of states you’ve lived in.

Drug screen:  Required for placement at fieldwork sites. Approximately $35.00

OTA Program Shirt/ Lab Coat/Uniform:  OTA program shirts are required for field trips, skills practicum checkouts, etc. they are $25.00  Some fieldwork sites require a lab coat, uniform, or “scrubs” that you would be responsible for acquiring. If the sites do not require anything in particular you are expected to wear your OTA program shirt.

Typhon Fieldwork software:  $120.00

Fieldwork Education Expenses: Students are responsible for potential expenses related to of fieldwork activities (i.e. gas, transportation costs, housing if applicable, etc.)

After graduation:

National Certification Examination:  Application fee and fees to cover score reports-- $600.00

During the last semester of the program, students will be given detailed and current information regarding specific exam fees.

Licensure fees: Fee will vary depending on state you apply but around $30 - $50 in MO/IL

Financial Aid Information

  • St. Louis Community College provides a comprehensive financial aid program funded by federal, state and private agencies.
    STLCC provides a Cost Calculator to help students estimate costs.
  • For information on STLCC Scholarships
  • FAFSA

All OTA students must maintain satisfactory progress toward their educational goals. Satisfactory progress will be determined based on the grading system and policies stated in the OTA Program Handbook that is distributed at orientation.

Letter grades will be used to indicate student performance for each course. Students will be provided an update on grades at midterm and end of course.

Students must complete all academic courses (general education requirements, biology courses, and OTA courses) before progressing to the Level II Fieldwork courses (OTA 213: OTA Practicum I, OTA 214: OTA Practicum II and OTA 216: Fieldwork Seminar).

Retention Policy:

Students must earn a "C" (74%) or above in all OTA and Biology courses and maintain an overall G.P.A. of at least 2.0 (C).

Students receiving a "D" or below 74% in OTA or Biology courses must repeat these courses. Only one repeat is allowed. The student may not enroll in a course more than two times without an appeal to the Selection and Retention committee. If repeating these courses puts a student out of the program sequence, the student will be able to continue at a later date only if space is available.

No OTA course or BIO 209 may be repeated more than once, or enrolled in more than twice without review by the retention committee.

Students may only repeat/re-enroll in BIO 209 and/or OTA courses on a space available basis.

More information regarding specific classroom and fieldwork education grading policies is available in the student handbook which is distributed at orientation.

Graduation Rate:

Graduation Year # of Students Admitted / Graduated Graduation % Rates
2015 24 / 19 79%
2016 23 / 21 91%
2017 23 / 18 78%
3-year Total / Average 70 / 58 83%
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For the most up-to-date information on STLCC’s OTA graduates’ certification exam scores please link to the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) at http://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx

 

The Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA Club was designed to facilitate the OTA student’s involvement in the profession, to encourage cohesiveness and support within the OTA student body, and to provide a positive image of the profession and the College to the community.  The club sponsors fundraising efforts to financially assist the OT student’s participation in workshops and conferences, and to provide volunteer or financial support to programs within the community.  Meetings are held at least once a month and all students are encouraged to attend. The president, secretary and treasurer are elected yearly from the freshman class.  The previous year’s executive board continues to hold office to help with continuity from year to year.  While voluntary, participation by all students will strengthen the OT Club and help meet the club’s goals.  All students are encouraged to become involved to begin the professional socialization process.

Waiting List Information: 

Cheryl Chambers, OTA Secretary - 314-984-7726 or cchambers@stlcc.edu

Academic Advising: 

314-984-7575 or mc-advising@stlcc.edu   (Request an OTA Program Advisor)

Admissions: 

314-984-7601 or mcadmreg@stlcc.edu 

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