The Associate in Applied Science Degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant is offered at four community colleges through Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market. Five students are admitted from each college for an entering total of twenty. Admitted students take general education courses on their own campuses and OTA courses together in a central laboratory. After classes and fieldwork internship are completed, they graduate at their entering college.
The OTA courses have both lecture and hands-on laboratory components. Portions of the lecture section of several OTA courses are web-based. During the program, students will develop entry-level competencies necessary to provide services to persons of all ages who have functional loss due to physical, neurological, social/emotional, cognitive, or developmental disabilities.
The profession tailors rehabilitation individually for each client. Through evaluation and treatment, it seeks to restore or improve function in occupational performance. Treatment is provided within the context of the client's life environments and relationships. Occupation may be defined as the ordinary things people do each day to work, to play, and to take care of themselves. Occupational therapy is based on the idea that our personal identity and feeling of value is closely tied to what we are able to do. We all choose many "occupational" roles that are important to us and make us excited to engage in life. When our function becomes impaired, we may lose both our independence and sense of self-worth.
The practice of OT utilizes the therapeutic use of purposeful and meaningful occupations in treatment, as well as focusing on these occupations as the goal of treatment. OT intervention may include restoration of performance abilities; instruction in compensatory techniques; adaptation of tasks, processes, or environments; disability prevention techniques; and health promotion strategies. Occupational therapy assistants, under the supervision of an occupational therapist, will directly work with persons to achieve a maximum level of independent living by developing the capacities that remain after disease, accident, or other disability.
OT serves a diverse population in a wide variety of settings such as hospitals; clinics; facilities for rehabilitation, extended, and long-term care; sheltered workshops; schools; camps; private homes; physician's offices; community programs; and private practice.
Persons seeking admission to the Occupational Therapy
Assistant program must meet the following criteria:
- Meet all admission policies and complete all required
admission forms of the college.
- Be a graduate of an approved high school or demonstrate
equivalent competency (GED examination).
- Take the Health Occupation Aptitude Examination -
- Submit a completed OTA application form and any
official college transcripts to the college by March 1.
- Submit to a criminal background check and drug testing
after admission into the program.
The SICCM 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, PO Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. ACOTE's phone number is c/o AOTA 301-652-AOTA. Program graduates will qualify to sit for the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT) national certification examination. This computer-delivered examination will be delivered on-demand, after determining eligibility. Successful completion of this exam confers the title of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Illinois and most states additionally require licensure to practice, usually basing this on the NBCOT exam results. A felony conviction may adversely affect ability to sit for the NBCOT exam and/or attain state licensure.