degree or a certificate from an accredited community college or technical school
is generally required to qualify for occupational therapist assistant jobs.
Programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for
Occupational Therapy Education.
The first year of study typically involves an introduction to health care,
basic medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology. In the second year,
courses are more rigorous and usually include occupational therapist
courses in areas such as mental health, adult physical disabilities,
gerontology, and pediatrics. Students also must complete 16 weeks of
supervised fieldwork in a clinic or community setting.
Applicants to occupational therapist assistant programs can
improve their chances of admission by taking high school courses in biology
and health and by performing volunteer work in nursing care facilities,
occupational or physical therapists' offices, or other health care
In most states, occupational therapist assistants are
regulated and must pass a national certification examination after they
graduate. Those who pass the test are awarded the title "Certified
Occupational Therapy Assistant."
Assistants must be responsible, patient, and willing to take
directions and work as part of a team. Furthermore, they should be caring
and want to help people who are not able to help themselves.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor