The mission of the OTA program is to prepare students with the technical knowledge and professional skills required by current and emerging local, state and national occupational therapy markets. The program subscribes to high educational standards to facilitate the development of creative problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, and lifelong learning to practice preparing students with skills to respond to ever-changing environments and demands in healthcare. The faculty seeks to foster the growth of compassionate, ethical, and collaborative practitioners who identify the need and value to contribute to the profession and community.
Program General Information
The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at South College is a two-year program leading to an Associate of Science degree. It offers didactic and lab instruction, experiential learning, and fieldwork placements that allows the student to observe and practice with certified healthcare clinicians. The curriculum is based on a developmental approach that progresses from basic to complex learning and ends with an application of information in the clinical setting. The OTA program is ultimately designed to provide the opportunity for individuals to enter the workforce as competent entry-level occupational therapy assistants.
The major curriculum threads of the OTA program are interconnected throughout the different levels of coursework and are presented with increasing complexity. The threads reflect the essential skills and qualities necessary to be successful as an occupational therapy assistant. The threads for the OTA program at the Nashville campus include the following:
- Professionalism– the act of demonstrating appropriate behaviors of conduct representing the occupational therapy profession effectively while promoting the growth and development of the profession.
- Clinical Reasoning– knowing how to learn, reason, think creatively, generate, and evaluate ideas by making decisions and solving problems through reasonable, reflective thinking.
- Interpersonal Skills– the ability to interact effectively with patients, families, colleagues, other health care professionals, and the community in a culturally aware manner.
- Lifelong Learning– the ability to self-direct learning to include the identification of needs and sources of learning; and to continually seek and apply new knowledge, behaviors, and skills related to the profession.
Occupational Therapy Certification and Licensure
After satisfying all programmatic and institutional requirements, students will be awarded an Occupational Therapy Assistant – Associate of Science Degree. Graduates with a U.S. Accredited degree in occupational therapy 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: www.NBCOT.org). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. Note: A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT Certification examination or attain state licensure.
Students in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at South College must complete clinical fieldwork experiences during the curriculum to successfully graduate and obtain the required licensure/certification credentials to work as occupational therapy assistants. Students must complete Level II fieldwork within 18 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.