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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
  • Work
  • Education
  • Play/Leisure
  • 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
  • English
  • 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
  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Hand therapy clinics
  • Many other settings...

If you think this may be the career for you...

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