Occupational Therapy Assistant
Associate in Science Degree
TEACH INDEPENDENCE FOR EVERY DAY LIFE
Overview of the Profession
If you are caring, creative and adaptable, as well as an individual who likes to work with others, Occupational therapy is a dynamic career that will allow you to make a difference in the lives of people of all ages. Occupational Therapy focuses on helping people to function in the tasks or “occupations” needed for everyday life by learning the skills necessary to be independent and productive. Occupational Therapy practitioners provide assessments and specialized treatments for clients with physical or mental health problems so they can carry out day-to-day activities that are important to them despite impairments. For example the person who has had a stroke may need to relearn how to prepare a meal or a child with cerebral palsy may need to learn to use a computer for classroom activities.
OTA Program Accreditation
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Kapiolani Community College is a well established program operating since 1973. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220 or at www.aota.org . The phone number for AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA.
OTA Program Mission Statement (2011)
The mission of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Kapi’olani Community College is in accordance with that of the University of Hawai’i Community College System and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Our mission is to:
- Provide open access to a high quality, 21st century Occupational Therapy Assistant Program for qualified students from diverse cultures.
- Support the Occupational Therapy Program faculty’s commitment to being effective, ethical and caring educators and further develop their professional expertise.
- Specialize in the best practice application of Occupational Therapy professional knowledge and skills to prepare the student to qualify for the National Board of Certification for Occupational Therapy exam.
- Offer a program of study that prepares the student for ethical practice and rigorous employment standards to meet workforce demand in the field of Occupational Therapy.
- Develop partnerships with agencies, businesses and associations in the healthcare industry to facilitate clinical training, life long learning and social responsibility of faculty and students.
- Participate in ongoing assessment of program outcomes, faculty effectiveness, student satisfaction and industry feedback to initiate improvement and strive for our goal of excellence in Occupational Therapy education.
OTA Program Student Learning Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of the Associate in Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant, the student should be able to:
- Assimilate and relate the foundational content, basic tenets and theoretical perspectives of Occupational Therapy and apply the relevant knowledge to function competently in the profession.
- Perform technical and clinical skills pertaining to safety, screening, evaluation, intervention, implementation and service delivery and assist with management of Occupational Therapy in order to function competently in the profession.
- Abide by the professional code of ethics, values, behaviors and responsibilities as required by standards established for Occupational Therapy Assistants.
- Communicate and interact appropriately and effectively; including explaining the unique nature of Occupational Therapy to consumers, potential employers, colleagues, policymakers and other audiences.
- Incorporate knowledge of multicultural perspectives into the practice of Occupational Therapy to meet the needs of diverse populations.
- Use professional literature and recognize its implication for the practice of Occupational Therapy and the provision of services.
Students will pay tuition based on the University of Hawaii, Kapiolani Community College per credit fee as published. Other fees will include liability insurance of $15.00 per year and program fees of $140.00 each semester. Students will also be responsible for fees associated with books, titer tests, CPR training and the fee for the NBCOT exam that grants certification.
Certification After Graduation
Graduates of the OTA program will be able to sit for the national certification examination for Occupational Therapy Assistants administered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). This organization is located at 800 South Frederick Avenue, Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150 or at www.nbcot.org. After passing this exam, the graduate will become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Hawaii does not currently license COTAs but licensure may be required to work in other states.
NBCOT requires a character review to serve the public interest by screening illegal, unethical, and incompetent behaviors of individuals who are yet to be certified. To ensure that occupational therapy practitioners meet standards of professional conduct prior to entering the profession, all applicants for certification are required to provide information and documentation related to affirmative responses to character questions on the examination application. If you have been charged with or convicted of a felony, had a professional license revoked or have been found to have committed negligence or malpractice, you will need to consider information on the NBCOT website by clicking the Services tab for Early Determination Reviews.
Graduation Rate, Pass Rate on NBCOT Exam and Employment Outcomes
The OTA program accepts 16-18 new students each fall semester. Graduation rates are as follows; 2011 - 11 students, 2010 – 7 students. The program was stopped out in 2007 to revise curriculum therefore, there was no graduating class in 2009. The OTA Program will graduate 10 students in 2012 and expects 15 students to graduate in 2013. The number of applicants continues to increase, 34 students applied for the OTA program in 2011.
The Accreditation Council for OT Education (ACOTE) requires a 70% pass rate for first time new graduate test takers on the NBCOT certification exam. The pass rate for the OTA Program in 2011 was 5 out of 8 (63%). An aggregate of 3 years indicates the NBCOT pass rate to be 7 students out of 13 (54%). During that 3-year time period, the program had 18 graduates. Students passing the exam on the second attempt or who passed the first time but took the exam more than one year from graduation were not counted. New ACOTE standards effective in July 2013 will count first time test takers and retakes within one year of graduation and require an overall pass rate of 80%. The OTA Program faculty has implemented additional learning strategies to improve pass rates on the NBCOT exam for future graduates including utilizing a review book and taking practice exams.
Informal data collection regarding employment for recent graduates indicates of 11 graduates from the Class of 2011, 3 students were working as COTA’s within 3-6 months and 1 in an OT related field. From the Class of 2010, 2 graduates were working as COTAs within 6-8 months and 1 in an OT related field. The Graduate Survey conducted in 2009 indicated 5 out of 11 graduates from the Class of 2008 were working as COTAs or in related employment within 6 months of graduation. There were 4 out of 7 graduates from the Class of 2007 working as OTA/COTAs within 6 months of graduation.
Occupational Therapy Assistants are employed in many different traditional and emerging areas of practice including Skills Trainers and Assistive Technology Specialists. Graduates of the OTA program at KCC are working in public schools, hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and psychiatric hospitals.
Kimberly Cameron, military wife, recent OTA graduate
“My husband was stationed in Hawaii long enough for me to finish my OTA degree and then we moved. I am excited that I was offered a job as a traveling therapist for $60,000 starting pay.”
Justin Kaneshiro, COTA and OTR, Wahiawa General Hospital
“I graduated from the OTA program 4 years ago and decided to get my Masters Degree in OT at Samuel Merritt College in California. I now have an advanced degree and challenging new opportunities in the OT profession.”
Pamela Anderson, COTA, Queen’s Medical Center/Acute Medical/Surgical
“From my fieldwork in the OTA program, I knew acute care was my interest. With the help of my mentor, a position was created for me on staff at a local hospital. I really enjoy OT, it’s not just a job but a rewarding career”
Denby Nakamoto, COTA, Activity Director, Pearl City Nursing Home
“My AS degree from the OTA program has given me a meaningful career. I had the opportunity to work in a variety of areas; rehabilitation, hand injuries and with the elderly”
Cathy Kaplan, COTA, Queen’s Medical Center, psychiatry
“The skills I learned in the OTA program have opened doors for me to work in a psychiatric setting and also to do case management. It’s great to have this versatility.”