Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy
Note: We will review applications once ACOTE, our accrediting body, grants us Candidacy status, which is anticipated in late August 2021. If granted, this program will admit its first cohort in Spring 2022.
When you earn a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, you'll be prepared to sit for the exam to become a practicing occupational therapy assistant. You'll also be prepared for graduate studies if you choose to pursue your master's or doctorate degree in occupational therapy.
What is an OTA?
To put it simply, occupational therapy assistants help with the treatment of people with disabilities, injuries and illnesses.
OTAs usually work under the supervision of an occupational therapist and help deliver rehabilitative plans. They demonstrate treatment activities and review client progress. Sometimes they perform administrative duties, like updating files and billing reports.
Where do they work?
OTAs work anywhere people are struggling with the activities of daily living. The most common work environments for occupational therapy assistants include hospitals, schools, nursing care facilities and even in clients' homes.
How much do they get paid?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics collects some of that basic information, but here's a summary: OTAs get paid pretty well and there's growing demand for them in the field.
Want to know more?
Connect with our program coordinator and learn more about this new program at WMU.
Salary and job outlook
Review salary and job information from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Faculty and staff in the Department of Occupational Therapy will host virtual information sessions on July 21 for anyone interested in learning about the new OT bachelor's degree program.
Sessions at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. More information is available on the college's Virtual Events page.
Be one step ahead in the job hunt
As part of this bachelor's degree program, you will complete a baccalaureate project before graduation. During that project, you will gain in-depth experience in administration, advocacy, clinical practice skills, education or leadership.
This is the experience that will set you apart. You'll have deeper knowledge in some areas than your competitors with associate degrees, and future employers will know it.
The value of partnerships
According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, OTAs work under the supervision and in partnership with OTs, and OTA students should be exposed to unique learning opportunities and mentorships to develop collaborative partnerships with doctoral students.
WMU offers bachelor's and doctoral degree programs, which allows our students to explore that partnership from the very beginning. You will have clinical experiences with doctoral students, working and learning alongside them. It's valuable experience that will show when you enter the workforce.
Be better prepared
This bachelor's degree will prepare you for OT graduate programs if that's what you want to pursue. But it's so more than that.
With this degree in your pocket, you'll hit the ground running, ready for a job in a field where you will make a difference in the lives of others. Also, with a bachelor's degree, you are more likely to find a leadership role than an OTA with an associate degree.
OTA program accreditation status:
The baccalaureate-degree-level occupational therapy assistant program has applied for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org.
The program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.