The role of the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant is expanding. In fact, several estimates predict Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant positions are projected to grow 28 percent with more positions opening up over the next 10 years. It means that there may be lots of new jobs available to occupational therapy assistants who are licensed and certified to practice Occupational Therapy.
Becoming a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
Here are some steps to be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant:
1. Learn About Occupational Therapy
The first important step to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant is learning about the field of occupational therapy. If you are reading this, at least you have heard about occupational therapy to several extent and are considering choosing this career path seriously. Also, you may have already seen the incredible benefit which can come from the diligent work of an Occupational Therapy. Probably, you or a loved one have been through the occupational therapy (OT) process and saw it work with your eyes.
2. Get Observation Hours
Researching what occupational therapy (OT) is, and how it works is very important to pursue a career in occupational therapy (OT). As beneficial as it is to read and talk about occupational therapy (OT), nothing will be able to replace seeing it in action. Several schools need observation hours to be logged and tracked to ensure that the students coming into the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant program have a full understanding of what is involved in working in the field.
Even if a school does not need observation hours for admission into the program, having this will make you a more outstanding applicant, and prepare you to enter the field. The time you spend observing the Occupational Therapy process should not only be idle. While watching the experienced licensed therapists doing their own job, you are able to put yourself in their shoes. Also, you have to be sure to observe a few of settings and populations. Because occupational therapy (OT) will be able to help such a large group of people.
3. Complete Prerequisite Coursework
Before admitted into the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program at your choice college, first you have to take some courses to assist you have a basic understanding of key concepts. For instance, anatomy and physiology are important to our jobs as the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Thus, taking these courses before studying occupational therapy is needed. Every one that work in occupational therapy will have several psychological trauma. Although we are not psychotherapists, we have to understand on at least a basic level what is going on behind the scenes in their head.
4. Apply to an Accredited Program
Now, after you have decided that occupational therapy is the job for you, you have completed your observation hours in the field, and you have completed all of your observation hours, it is time for you to apply for a program. This may be a difficult process, but fortunately the ACOTE has made it easier for you. The ACOTE is the body which decides what must be included in a program to give the basic information required to equip occupational therapists and also occupational therapy assistants enter the workforce.
5. Complete Fieldwork
Level I: Every accredited program will need include internships, known as fieldwork. Apparently, there are two levels of fieldwork; level I and level II. A level I fieldwork rotation will focus more on observation in the field. Although lots of students have done some type of observation hours prior to entering the program, this fieldwork is specially designed to assist put the principles learned in the classroom into the real world.
Level II: A level II fieldwork rotation will more focus in implementing the techniques learned in the class. This level II fieldwork is completed after the majority of the class work has been covered, and the students are ready to enter the field. The level II fieldwork rotations will give the students a chance to get hands-on experience to developed treatment ideas and working in the real-world setting while having a safety net in their supervisor.
At the same time, it will allow them to learn how to balance the textbook therapeutic principles which they have learned with realistic expectations, the who do not want to participate, complex medical situations and adapting quickly.
6. Pass the NBCOT exam
After all coursework and fieldwork has been completed, later you might be excited to get to relax and not worry about taking any more tests. That is not quite the case yet. The National Board of Certification for Occupational Therapy, or NBCOT, produces a final exam which must be passed to apply for state licensure.
Do not worry, there are many helpful blog posts to help you prepare for the NBCOT exam. If you have already made it through the accredited program and fieldwork rotations, you must have what it takes to make a success of the NBCOT exam. For your information, NBCOT is the organization which gives the certification for a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
7. Apply for your License
Now that you have already passed the NBCOT exam, you are able to follow your state’s procedures for licensure. Need to know that every state differs in the exact requirements and process to apply for licensure. Most states will need proof of passing the NBCOT exam and an application fee. Probably, your state differ in the process required, so you have to be sure to check.
8. Keep on Learning!
Probably, you think that applying for licensure is the final step to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. In a sense, it is true. But, the process does not stop there. Both Certification and licensure need regular renewal to stay valid. Usually, this renewal process involves a small fee and proof of continuing education courses. Those courses are essential to giving quality care to those you treat. Those courses are able to be on a variety of subjects, but all must relate back to your specific treatment setting.