RVCC First NJ Community College To Offer Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

Beginning in January 2018, Raritan Valley Community College will be the first community college in New Jersey to offer an Associate of Applied Science Degree for an in-demand career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Occupational Therapy Assistants collaborate with Occupational Therapists to help people improve their functions so they can carry on daily life activities. They provide rehabilitative services to individuals with physical, emotional, mental or developmental impairments. From teaching a stroke victim to brush his teeth to helping a child in a wheelchair navigate a school hallway, Occupational Therapy Assistants help people of all ages handle daily tasks and regain their independence.

Prospective students interested in learning more about the new program are invited to attend an Information Session, Thursday, October 5, from 5-7 p.m., in the RVCC Conference Center (Room 101), at the College’s Branchburg campus. The program begins on January 22.

Occupational Therapy Assistants are in high demand. Employment of Occupational Therapy Assistants is projected to grow nationwide by 43 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increased demand is in response to the health needs of the aging baby-boom generation and a growing elderly population. Occupational Therapy Assistants are often employed in offices of health practitioners, hospitals, nursing care facilities and community care facilities for the elderly, home healthcare services, behavioral health programs, individual and family services, and government agencies.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Associate of Applied Science program is designed for students interested in entering the workforce immediately after graduation. It combines classroom instruction with clinical training in a community setting. The 67-credit program is designed to be completed in two years, with three semesters of full-time coursework and one semester of full-time, 40-hours-per-week fieldwork. Federal and state financial aid options are available for students enrolled in the program.

The program includes courses focusing on such topics as human anatomy and physiology, pediatric/adolescent occupational therapy, kinesiology, interpersonal communications, sociology, psychosocial occupational therapy, adult/geriatric physical rehabilitation, and OTA management and ethics.

In order to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, students must graduate from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and successfully pass an exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). The College has applied for accreditation and has received its Candidacy from ACOTE, so students can be admitted into RVCC’s program. After review of a major self-study of the program by ACOTE, the College expects to be offered accreditation in April 2020, prior to students’ graduation in May 2020. This will allow students to take the NBCOT exam in June 2020. Students beginning the program in January 2018 must be aware that they are entering a program that is not accredited at that time but should be accredited by the time they graduate, allowing them to take the NBCOT exam to qualify to apply for state licensure to practice as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).

To register for the October 5 Information Session, visit www.raritanval.edu/visit. For information about the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, contact Beau Younker, Occupational Therapy Assistant Coordinator, 908-526-1200, ext. 8416 or beau.younker@raritanval.edu. For additional information, contact the College’s Admissions office, 908-526-1200, ext. 7009 or admissions@raritanval.edu.

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. Serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 50 years, RVCC is an educational and cultural center that is nationally recognized for its innovative programming, service to the community and environmental leadership. The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, professional development, and adult and youth personal enrichment courses. The College also has a performing arts center and planetarium.

RVCC is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community’s businesses, and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.