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Occupational Therapy Assistant

What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy practitioners ask, "What matters to you?" not, "What's the matter with you?"

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.

American Occupational Therapy Association

 

About the OTA Program

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program is a comprehensive 75 credit-hour, 26 month program designed to prepare entry-level OTA practitioners culminating in an Associate of Science degree. The program is offered through the School of Health Sciences (SHS) alongside the Indiana Wesleyan University Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program. The School of Health Sciences also includes Public Health, Athletic Training, and is developing a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.  In response to healthcare trends, the program prepares the OTA student to work collaboratively in intraprofessional/interprofessional experiences with other graduate level students and faculty in the School of Health Sciences. The OTA program is located at the Greenwood Adult Education Center, just south of Indianapolis. 

The objective of the program is to prepare students to administer occupational therapy interventions under the direction of an occupational therapist with individuals who have lost functional abilities to perform everyday living tasks or “occupations”. This program prepares the graduate for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Certification Exam for Occupational Therapy Assistants and to practice as a licensed professional. The basic curriculum is experiential and prepares students with a general education while combining classroom, laboratory, and fieldwork/clinical experiences. All courses are taught in traditional face-to-face classroom settings.

IWU faculty’s diverse educational and clinical expertise is a major strength of the program:

  • Julie Carson, MA, OTR/L, OTA Program Director
    • 30+ years as a practitioner
    • 15+ years of academia experience
  • Sally Nurse, MS, OTR/L, OTA Fieldwork Coordinator
    • 30+ years as a practitioner
    • 5+ years of academia experience
  • Marcia Shea, OTD, OTR/L, OTD Fieldwork Coordinator, (who previously practiced as an OTA) assists with coordination of OTA/OTD collaborative experiences
  • Douglas Morris, PhD, OTR/L, Occupational Therapy Program Chair, oversees both the OTD and OTA programs

The Vision and Mission of the OTA Program

OTA Mission: Provide a Christ-centered experiential occupational therapy assistant curriculum that fosters evidence-based practice and lifelong intraprofessional/interprofessional collaboration, development, and servant leadership in providing ethical client-centered, occupation-based care in everyday living, responsive to changing world needs.

OTA Vision: Prepare entry-level Occupational Therapy Assistant practitioners who embrace the art and science of occupational therapy, committed to life-long Christ-like character in serving as culturally sensitive and innovative agents of change in their communities facilitating health, well-being, and participation in activities/occupations across the lifespan.

OTA Program Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes of the program mirror outcomes of the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), and the desired outcomes of the Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) education mission. Upon completion of the IWU Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. Christ-like Character*: view self as a reflective occupational being with need for balance in personal health/wellness/spiritual character, creativity, and professional knowledge and skills that lead to therapeutic use of self with diverse clients/populations/communities.
  2. Engagement in Intraprofessional/Interprofessional Collaborative Evidence-Based Practice: through critical thinking and collaboration, demonstrate clinical reasoning and carry out scientific evidence-based client centered interventions that enable performance and engagement in meaningful occupations supporting health, well-being, and participation in life.
  3. Commitment to Serving as an “Agent of Change” in the community: recognize, meet, and advocate for the diverse occupational needs of clients/populations in their communities there-by demonstrating servant leadership, contributing to meeting changing world needs and promoting health, well-being, inclusion, and quality of life.
  4. Professional Commitment: communicate effectively and ethically; demonstrate scholarship preparing for life-long learning in current and emerging practice areas; demonstrate support for professional organizations; and actively advocate for individual clients, organizations, and population needs.

*To have a Christ-like character is to possess the “fruit of the Spirit” as enumerated in Galations 5:22-23. “The Fruit of the Spirit is love, which includes the qualities of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  The faculty strive to embody and demonstrate all of these qualities, thereby treating others as Christ would treat them. Jesus Christ was humble. (John 13:1-5) and compassionate in His service to those He came in contact with (Ephesians 4:32).

The mission of Indiana Wesleyan University, to be a “Christ-centered academic community committed to changing the world by developing students in character, scholarship and leadership,” is specifically emphasized in three of the learning outcomes of the OTA program. This degree will prepare individuals who will provide occupational therapy services to those who, because of disability, life situation, or limitation, experience barriers to engaging in life skills and will do so under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist.  Matthew 25:40 states, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” In light of this scripture, this proposed program will facilitate IWU’s pursuit of becoming a great university.

Off-Campus Library Services (OCLS)

Library instruction is provided to students at the start of their program at IWU. Reference and document delivery services give students access to all collections of the Jackson Library on the IWU residential campus, as well as Instructional Resource Center services, Interlibrary Loan services, and many e-books and online journals. For more information, see indwes.edu/ocls.

Accreditation Process of OTA Program

Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, www.ncahlc.org, 312-263-0456. IWU is also a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, www.cccu.org, 202-546-8713.

The occupational therapy assistant program has applied for accreditation 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 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. The program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates 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). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

After the program successfully completes the full accreditation process, 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). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy reports the certification exam outcomes for all occupational therapy programs at the following link: https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) 
c/o Accreditation Department 
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200 
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Phone number for AOTA is: 1-301-652-AOTA 
www.acoteonline.org

Tuition & Financial Aid

Program Credit Hours Tuition
Occupational Therapy Assistant 75 Total $385 / credit hour

*Effective July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019.

Payment for each term is due by August 15th for Fall and by December 15th for Spring. Course textbooks are not included in the costs listed above.

The total credit hours and per-credit-hour costs listed above are effective for the required core program. Costs may change if you withdraw from the program and restart in a future program at a later date.

Financial Aid

For information about financial aid, call 866-468-6498, visit our financial aid website, or email NonResAid@indwes.edu.

Published tuition and fees are subject to change.

Courses

Year One

Fall Trimester

BIO-111,ENG-140,BIL-102,PSY-150

Total 13 credit hours

Spring Trimester

BIO-112,OTA-110,MAT-112,PSY-250

Total 12 credit hours

Summer Trimester

OTA-240,OTA-120,PHE-190,PSY-366

Total 12 credit hours

Total for Year One 37 credit hours


Year Two

Fall Trimester

OTA-250,COM-115,OTA-260,OTA-270

Total 12 credit hours

Spring Trimester

ENG-141,OTA-300,OTA-310,OTA-320,OTA-330

Total 12 credit hours

Summer Trimester

OTA-340,OTA-350,OTA-360

Total 12 credit hours

Total Credits for Year Two 36 credit hours


Year Three

Fall Trimester

OTA-365

Total 2 credit hours

Total Overall Credits: 75 Credit Hours

Requirements

Below are the lists of requirements for the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program. Click on each link to expand the requirements. If you have any questions about the admissions process, feel free to contact one of our admissions representatives at 1-866-498-4968.

The Occupational Therapy Assisting program annually admits a class of Thirty (30) students to the associate degree program (OTA), who begin studies in September each year.

Admission Requirements

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is a Selective Admissions Program, which means not every student in the applicant pool may be accepted. Admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is competitive and enrollment in the program is limited because of available faculty, financial, and fieldwork resources.  Requirements for admission to the program include:

  • Attend an information session, which outlines the education, examination, and licensure process for successful completion of the OTA program and career development.
  • Proof of high school graduation or GED certification. Official transcripts.
  • Official transcripts of all previous college work.
  • Preference given for students who demonstrate a “C” or better in high school science courses and/or college-level science courses.
  • Preference given to students with other degrees.
  • Admission/Retention in the OTA Program is conditional, pending successful completion, with a “B-” or better grade in all courses (exception: BIO111/112, “C” or better), maintenance of 2.7 GPA or better each semester, and obtainment of an overall GPA of 2.7 or better to graduate.
  • Interview and writing sample (arranged by invitation following receipt and review of all other application materials.
  • Upon establishment of the qualified applicant pool; the top 30 candidates will be determined from the established point system for selection into the OTA Program. 

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

The OTA program is a lock-step program. All courses are carefully planned to provide for foundational learning, then build on previous learning and provide for skill development in preparation for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam and to practice as a licensed practitioner. All courses must be successfully completed in the sequence prescribed by the program's requirements.  Failure to successfully complete a course will result in an administrative withdrawal from the program. Students who are unable to complete a course or who receive an unsatisfactory grade will be allowed to repeat that course with the next cohort provided the student follows through with a petition for re-enrollment process. Tuition and fees will be charged for repeating the course. OTA students will be academically dismissed upon receipt of a second unsatisfactory grade.

  • Students must earn a minimum grade of “B-” or “CR” in each course in the OTA program (exception: BIO-111/112, “C” or higher).
  • Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.7.
  • Students who do not earn the required grade or maintain a 2.7 will be administratively withdrawn from the OTA program at the end of the term and will not be able to continue with the next term.
  • Students who have been administratively withdrawn may petition to re-enroll with the next cohort the following year and may be asked to audit courses to prepare for re-entry.
  • Students with two unsatisfactory grades (including the same courses, repeated) will be academically dismissed from the program and ineligible to return.
  • Students must complete Level II fieldwork within 18 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.

Continuing Competency/Lifelong Learning

In order to assist the student to acquire the habit of lifelong learning; to understand the continuing competency process as required by most state licensure acts and NBCOT certification, and to provide for integration of learning and best prepare for practice; students are required to participate in a series of observation and service-learning activities in the community throughout their education experience.  This is an integral part of the course requirements. The students are required to participate in the following 18 hours (aligns with the required 18 hours of required continuing education for Indiana state OTA licensure) of observation/service-learning:

Hours:

Observation/Service-Learning:

Course Number:

Course:

2 hrs

Wellness/Disability Ministry OR

Home Health OR Hospice

OTA110

Foundations of OT I: Balance of Performance & Well-Being and Professional Responsibilities

2 hrs

Observation/Interview of OT Practitioner

OTA110

Foundations of OT I: Balance of Performance & Well-Being and Professional Responsibilities

3 hrs

Observation/Reflection of OT Practitioner

OTA 120

Foundations of OT II: Models, Theories, Evidenced Based Practice, and Intraprofessional/Interprofessional Communication

3 hrs

Observation/Service-Learning of adult day center/skilled nursing facility/behavioral center group process

OTA250

OT Theory and Concepts

4 hrs

Observation of OT Practitioner practicing in Pediatric Services/ Schools

OTA260

Clinical Reasoning/Occupational Performance Patterns I: Pediatric/Adolescence Conditions

4 hrs

Observation of OT Practitioner practicing in Skilled Nursing/Rehab/Outpatient Services

OTA310

Clinical Reasoning/Occupational Performance Patterns III: Adults with Orthopedic/Non-Neurological Conditions

18  hrs

 

 

 

Each course has specific course related assignments. For each learning experience the student is required to fill out and have the designated person from the site sign the form.  The form is placed in the student’s portfolio.   

Graduation Requirements

To fulfill graduation requirements, students must have completed all of the following:

  • Completion of 75 semester hours
  • Completion of the required courses with a “B-“ or higher in each course (exception: BIO111/112, “C” or better)
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher
  • Successful completion of all Observation/Service Learning and Fieldwork assignments to include site assessment documentation
  • Payment of all program tuition and fees is required to receive a diploma

External Review and Accreditation

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) has developed standards for occupational therapy assistant programs.  The curriculum of the OTA program is designed with those standards in mind, and the standards are reflected in course objectives for each course. 

Subsequent to curricular review and approval at the institutional level, the OTA Program is seeking candidacy status through ACOTE.  This allows IWU to market the program to potential students while the program continues through the formal accreditation process.  Following an on-site accreditation visit from an ACOTE review team, the program will be granted accreditation.  Accreditation will be retroactive to include the first semester that classes were taught, as graduation from an ACOTE accredited program is necessary for students to sit for the National Certification Examination.

Complete the OTCAS Online Application

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program receives applications for program admission and most applicant credentials exclusively through the Occupational Therapy Assistants Centralized Application Service (OTACAS), provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).


Information Sessions are held the second Thursday of the month (or by appointment) September-May, 6PM Greenwood Education Center, IWU, 1500 Windhorst Way, Suite 215, Greenwood, IN 46143-6557.

Orientation Dates – Wednesday/Thursday, August 28-29, 2019
Start Date - September 3, 2019

Application Procedures

To be considered for admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant degree program, complete each of the following steps. For more information, call 866-498-4968 to speak with a Program Representative.

  1. Application: Apply online here. *PLEASE NOTE: the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program receives applications for program admission and most applicant credentials exclusively through the Occupational Therapy Assistants Centralized Application Service (OTACAS), provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
  2. Transcripts: College – High School/College official transcripts are required from the high school and college credit/degree-granting institution(s). Transcripts are required for application and are to be submitted through OTACAS. College Transcripts from Non-U.S. Schools - Secure a course-by-course report from Educational Credential Evaluator (www.ece.org). Be sure to request that the report be sent directly to OTACAS. The evaluation must list course-by-course hours and grades.
  3. TOEFL Scores: Submit a copy of your Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores if English is not your primary language. For more information about this test, see toefl.org.

 

Faculty & Staff


julie carson; MA, OTR/L

OTA Program Director
julie.carson@indwes.edu

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sally nurse; MS, OTR/L

Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
sally.nurse@indwes.edu

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