We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes creating the newest addition to Joyce’s degree offerings, and we couldn’t be happier that it’s time to announce the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. Designed by a team of the field’s most knowledgeable experts, the program provides students with everything they’ll need to thrive in this fast-growing field in only 20 months of study.
As a simplified overview, we look at a number of factors when considering a new program. First, we consider the job prospects for our graduates. Does the local job market support the projected number of graduates we will produce for the foreseeable future? Additionally, if there are other colleges offering the same degree, can the job market support the total pipeline of qualified graduates?
Next, we evaluate the program as it relates to our current roster of programs at a particular campus. Does this program fit within our core competency? Over the last 10 years, Joyce has become known for its rigorous, accelerated, and advanced nursing program. We only select programs that we feel can match the same level of quality our students have come to expect.
Lastly, we evaluate the inquiry demand for the program. Will students actually want to enroll in the program? Assuming the job market is strong, there is alignment with our core competency, and students are (or can be) attracted to the program, we begin the process of “onboarding” the program as part of our degree offerings. Based on our exhaustive research, Occupational Therapy Assistant was the clear best candidate for a new healthcare degree program in Utah.
Students in the OTA program earn an associate degree that will serve as the foundation for their healthcare career. But with Joyce’s rigorous standards and practical training, students will walk away with so much more than a degree — they’ll have what it takes to become leaders in this meaningful and financially rewarding field. The program blends work with highly credentialed faculty in the classroom, laboratory, and field, so students are ready for professional placement as soon as their coursework is complete and they have passed the National Certification exam.
Students begin the program with general education requirements such as English composition and anatomy and physiology. As time progresses, they focus in on OTA-specific knowledge and skill-building coursework that covers topics such as kinesthesiology and functional movement as well as OTA skills courses I–III. Starting as early as the 2nd semester, students are placed in field assignments where they’ll put their new knowledge to the test with doctors, patients, and occupational therapists.
The program also includes a preparatory course on passing the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam, which is required in order to begin a career as an OTA. Another asset for students is the opportunity to gain ancillary certifications such as Certified Dementia Practitioner and CarFit Technician. These are just a few of the ways Joyce’s OTA graduates stand out from the rest on the search for the perfect OTA position.
Related Resource: What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?
Joyce already has many stellar programs for aspiring nurses, medical assistants, and dental lab technicians. We don’t just choose our programs out of a hat: the decision is based on deep research into job outlook and professional demand, and OTAs are one of the most in-demand types of medical specialists in the field today.
Becoming an OTA is of huge value to students as well as to the medical field overall, with the job being one of the most lucrative for someone graduating with an associate degree. Current OTAs can expect to earn between $42,000 to $71,000 annually.
According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, over 80 percent of OTA graduates find a job within six months of their program’s end. With the growing demand, this is the perfect time to start your OTA career.
Dana Leavitt, Joyce’s OTA program director, says the outlook for the occupational therapy profession is strong for the foreseeable future. “It’s an exciting time to be in the occupational therapy profession, especially because the job market looks promising. As baby boomers age and strive to maintain their independence and physical health the need for occupational therapy is expected to increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects occupational therapist employment growth of 27 percent between 2014 and 2024, adding 30,400 more professionals to the 114,600 existing jobs in this field.”
Related Resource: 6 Great Things about Going to College in Draper, Utah
Now that you’re more familiar with why we chose to create the program, you may be wondering how Joyce stands by its students and champions their career progress. The OTA curriculum is designed to fall exactly in line with the standards and skills needed for the job. Students will leave the program with well-rounded knowledge and competent skill set, ready to implement occupational therapy intervention plans with confidence. Joyce works hard to ensure that every student has the opportunity to excel in the program and beyond.
Students may be drawn to becoming OTAs because they have a calling to help others. For many aspiring OTAs, the calling comes in the form of a second career. This is a job that requires a high standard of practical medical knowledge, but it’s also one in which you’re able to be the cheerleader, a coach, and a collaborator with your patients. Joyce’s five core values of integrity, excellence, being student-centered, caring, and service will help you get there.
We’re a nurse-led organization, and we take care of our students. Our NCLEX pass rates and student retention rates are a testament to that commitment. Assets like Joyce’s student services team mean you’ll never be without support for your unique set of student needs. We even provide free trainings on skills like test-taking strategies and time management methods. But the support doesn’t stop at graduation, either. Joyce offers lifelong career placement services every step of the way.
Are you interested in becoming an occupational therapy assistant? We’d love to hear about your career goals! Visit our OTA program for more information about the program.
Related Resource: How OTAs Work With Other Professionals