How do I Choose the Best Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 27 December 2018
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There are four items to consider when looking for the best occupational therapy assistant programs: accreditation, faculty, job placement, and graduate employment rates. Occupational therapy assistant programs give training in providing services directly to the client. Occupational therapy is available to people with physical or intellectual disabilities, or who are recovering from a long illness and need assistance finding work.

Occupational therapy assistant programs are available from a wide range of community and career colleges. This program is eight to 12 months in length and often includes a work term. Upon graduation, occupational therapy assistants can find employment opportunities in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.

When looking for occupational therapy assistant programs, the first item to check is the accreditation status of the school. An accredited school has been inspected by an independent third party and the academic and administrative policies reviewed. Courses from an accredited school can be transferred to other post-secondary institutions and are accepted by certifying and licensing boards. Accredited schools are able to offer students access to government student aid programs.

Review the qualifications of the faculty or course instructors. Take the time to investigate the academic credentials of the instructors before selecting the occupational therapy assistant program. Most colleges provide the biographies of the course instructors on their website or in the promotional material for the program.


Find a program that includes a job placement or work term. The opportunity to work in the field is a great way to stay focused, find out exactly what the job is like, and interact with clients. Work terms are competed under the supervision of an occupational therapist, who is responsible for writing a formal evaluation at the end of the term. Many students use this opportunity to secure employment after graduation or to obtain a valuable reference.

All post-secondary institutions keep track of their graduate statistics. This information is collected three, six, and 12 months after graduation. The details tracked include starting salary, position title, full time or part time, contract or permanent, and if the position is within the area of training. This information is very valuable and provides a realistic picture of what type of position you can hope to achieve upon graduation.

People who report the highest satisfaction with occupational therapy assistant programs are naturally outgoing, enjoy helping people, and have a strong service commitment. Team players who are friendly and empathetic find this type of role very rewarding. There is a lot of repetition in this line of work, so patience and compassion are necessary skills.



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