Penn State Shenango
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
What is Occupational Therapy?
A health career that helps people do the everyday life activities (occupations) they value. They may include:
- Activities of Daily Living
- Social Interaction
What type of person makes a good Occupational Therapy Assistant?
- Good student who knows hot to study and is interested in a variety of subjects
- Person who enjoys being with people of all ages
- Person who is creative in their approach to solving problems
How long does it take to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant?
- Five (5) semesters of study are required at Penn State- four semesters in class and one in full-time Fieldwork
What classes will I take at Penn State?
- Psychology: general overview and personal development
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Human growth and development across the life span
- General education requirements: math, art, humanities electives
- OT specific courses: there are eight (8) core OT courses and Level I Fieldwork
- Level II Fieldwork: 16 weeks of full-time supervised Fieldwork in two (2) different settings
What else do I need to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant?
- After graduation, you must pass the National Exam
- Pennsylvania requires you to be licensed
Where might I work as an Occupational Therapy Assistant?
The job market is excellent nationwide - sign on bonuses are being offered. Some employers are offering scholarships or paying back student loans.
OTAs work in all of the following settings:
- Public and private schools
- Rehabilitation centers
- Nursing homes
- Hand therapy clinics
- Many other settings...
If you think this may be the career for you...
- Visit us on campus to talk about the program: 724-983-2803 to set up an appointment
- Visit the national association website for more information
- Call a local hospital or nursing home and see if you can job shadow with an OT or OTA
What might I do as an Occupational Therapy Assistant? Let's consider people who are having trouble eating...
- Premature infant- OT might help determine the best way to position the baby
- Pre-school child with Down's Syndrome- OT might help develop grasping skills
- School aged child who uses a wheelchair- OT might check on their ability to go through the food line in the cafeteria and carry food to their table
- Adult with arthritis- OT might provide silverware with build up handles for easier grasping
- Older adult who had a stroke- OT might provide scoop dishes and one handed rocker knife