2017-2018 South University Academic Catalog Version II [ARCHIVED CATALOG]
Occupational Therapy Assistant (AS)
The occupational therapy assistant works under the supervision of the occupational therapist to help individuals regain or accommodate to decreased range of motion, muscle strength, coordination, perception and activities of daily living, which includes dressing, eating, toileting, hygiene and home management.
The Associate of Applied Science and the Associate of Science degree in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) degree program is dedicated to providing educational opportunities of the intellectual, social and professional development of a diverse student population. Through its carefully balanced and sequenced curricular design over eight quarters, the Occupational Therapy Assistant program is designed to prepare qualified graduates to seek entry-level employment as occupational therapy practitioners. The program prepares students with knowledge and skills for competent entry-level practice in a variety of contexts for an ever-changing world. The Occupational Therapy Assistant program further seeks to lead the profession and community through its contributions in educational leadership, community and professional service, lifelong learning, and scholarship
Program Student Learning Outcomes
The OTA program goals address student competency in the following areas
- Prepare occupational therapy assistants who appreciate and adapt to diverse and alternative cultures, settings, systems, processes, and ideas. (adaptation thread)
- Foster student skill in accessing relevant literature and information, using research-based evidence to make informed decisions in occupational therapy practice. (information literacy thread)
- Cultivate student skill in effective critical thinking, problem-solving, and clinical reasoning with clients across the lifespan in diverse practice settings. (critical thinking thread)
- Foster development of student’s communication skills to promote effective, appropriate interaction with all stakeholders. (professionalism thread)
- Instill in the student the values, attitudes and behaviors consistent with the occupational therapy profession’s philosophy, standards and ethics. (professionalism thread)
- Provide the student with opportunities to acquire skills in advocacy for the profession of occupational therapy to other professionals, service providers, consumers, third-party payers, regulatory bodies, professional associations and the public. (professionalism thread)
- Provide the student with a challenging curriculum that that is designed to prepare graduates to deliver occupational therapy assistant services with entry-level competency under the supervision of an occupational therapist in a variety of practice settings. (professionalism and critical thinking threads)
- Impart to the student a passion for lifelong professional development to meet changing societal needs. (lifelong learning thread)
- Provide ongoing opportunities for stakeholders in the OTA program to have input into the development and evaluation of the OTA program to ensure the program remains true to its mission and philosophy. (information literacy thread)
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program at South University, Columbia, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Tampa and West Palm Beach are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA. http://www.acoteonline.org. Graduates of the program 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, most 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. More information on ACOTE may be obtained at http://www.acoteonline.org.
Effective April 1, 2017, ACOTE changed the accreditation status of the Associate of Science degree offered by the OTA Program on the South University-West Palm Beach campus to Probationary Accreditation for noncompliance with ACOTE Standard A.5.6 (certification exam pass rate). The program remains accredited; ACOTE has requested that the OTA Program submit a Progress Report based on the Plan of Correction to return the program to full compliance with ACOTE Standard A.5.6 within the mandated time period for correction, by April 2018.
Admission Requirements for the Professional Phase
Students who wish to transfer from one South University campus to another must be in good standing at the original campus. These students must talk with the Program Director at each campus about their plans. Each Program Director and the student requesting a transfer must sign the appropriate transfer request forms from both the program and South University and the Transfer Release Form before the form is sent to the Registrar’s office on the receiving campus for processing.
When completing an application for admission into South University to take prerequisite coursework in preparation to apply for admission into the Professional OTA Curriculum at South University, students must meet the requirements for regular admission to the university.
Students must apply for admission into the Professional Curriculum of the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program as they complete prerequisite coursework. No transfer credit will be given to any course designated as an occupational therapy assistant major.
The OTA Program accepts two cohorts of students into the Professional Curriculum each year. Depending on the campus, applications are either accepted prior to the beginning of winter and summer quarters or before spring and fall quarters. Application deadlines are announced on each campus.
An OTA Application packet is available from OTA faculty and/or the campus receptionist
The following information is required from students applying for admission into the Professional Curriculum of the OTA Program:
- Students must have a minimum grade of ‘C’ or above in all prerequisites, except for the following courses, in which students must achieve a minimum grade of ‘B’ or above: BIO1011 Anatomy and Physiology I, BIO1012 Anatomy and Physiology I Lab, BIO1013 Anatomy and Physiology II, BIO1014 Anatomy and Physiology II Lab, PSY2022 Human Growth and Development and OTA1001 Introduction to Occupational Therapy
- In addition, note that a minimum CGPA of 2.85 is required for prerequisite and general education coursework. All prerequisite coursework must be completed at the time of entry into the Professional Curriculum of the OTA Program.
- NOTE: Courses in Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology I (lecture and lab) and Anatomy and Physiology II (lecture and lab) must have been taken in the past seven years from the intended start date of the Professional Curriculum of the OTA Program.
- Students must have official transcripts on file at South University at the time of application to the Professional Curriculum of the OTA Program. Students are responsible for requesting official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended and having them sent to South University. All associated fees are the responsibility of the student.
- Students must complete and submit an OTA Application; this includes a signed Acknowledgement of Risk and Release of Liability form and Student Medical Insurance Verification form (along with copy of the front and back of the medical insurance card). The student must upload proof of medical insurance to an agency identified in the OTA Application.
- Students must submit ATI TEAS scores, which will not be accepted if greater than 5 years old. A total score below the national mean will result in a lower ranking score for this component. All associated fees are the responsibility of the student.
- Students must complete 12 hours of observation of occupational therapy practitioners in two different areas of occupational therapy practice (e.g., pediatrics, adults, inpatient, outpatient, acute care, rehab, mental health, skilled nursing), documented on the form provided in the OTA Application, signed and dated by an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant. For example, you might observe in hospital and a skilled nursing settings or adult rehab and acute care.
- Students must provide a copy of the front and back of the card showing current certification in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers. The student must upload this credential to the agency identified in the OTA Application. All associated fees are the responsibility of the student.
- Students must complete a background check and drug test; the agency overseeing the background check and drug test is identified in the OTA Application. No other background checks and drug tests will be accepted. The background check and drug test must have been completed for South University within the past year from the intended start date of the Professional Curriculum of the OTA Program. All associated fees are the responsibility of the student.
NOTE: Applicants will not be permitted to enter the admission ranking process if they have been convicted of a felony. No applicant who has been convicted of a felony will be admitted into the OTA Program.
NOTE: If the applicant has been convicted of any of the following disqualifying misdemeanors: rape or sexual abuse, molestation, abuse, endangerment, or neglect of a child, disabled person, or elderly person, that applicant is not eligible to enter the Professional OTA Curriculum.
If the background check contains any other type of positive misdemeanor, the applicant must meet with the OTA Program Director to obtain instructions for contacting appropriate entities to seek an early determination decision as to whether or not the applicant will likely be allowed to sit for the national certification exam.
The applicant must also understand that any type of misdemeanor conviction may result in the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator being unable to place the applicant on Level I or Level II Fieldwork, which could delay or prevent the applicant from graduating from the OTA Program.
Lastly, applicants must understand that any misdemeanor conviction while enrolled in the OTA Program will result in referral of the student to the OTA Committee on Progressions and Appeals and/or the Dean of Student Affairs; the conviction may also be grounds for dismissal from the OTA Program.
- Required immunizations are identified in the OTA Application. Students must provide evidence that the Hepatitis B test has been initiated, along with other immunizations, at the time of application. The student must upload all original lab results and evidence of immunization through the agency identified in the OTA Application. All associated fees are the responsibility of the student. All immunizations must be completed no later than 15 business days the before Friday before the the start of the second quarter in the Professional OTA Curriculum.
- Students must show evidence of a physical exam by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant; results must be uploaded through the agency identified in the OTA Application. All associated fees are the responsibility of the student.
- All requirements for Financial Aid must have been met, as applicable; students must be in good standing with South University.
Ranking of Applicants for Admission into the Professional OTA Curriculum will be based upon the following criteria:
- Students must achieve a minimum cumulative CGPA of 2.85 based on all prerequisite and general education coursework. Students must achieve a minimum grade of ‘“B’” in OTA1001 Introduction to Occupational Therapy, BIO1011 Anatomy and Physiology I, BIO1012 Anatomy and Physiology I Lab, BIO1013 Anatomy and Physiology II, BIO1014 Anatomy and Physiology II Lab and PSY 2022 Human Growth and Development.
- Submitted results for the ATI TEAS V.
- Documented results from the background check and drug test must be available for review. (Note: No applicant will be considered for admission if documented results reveal conviction of a felony.)
- Students must have submitted documented completion of 12 hours of observation in two different areas of occupational therapy practice (e.g., pediatrics, adults, inpatient, outpatient, acute care, rehab, mental health, skilled nursing), on the form provided in the OTA Application. For example, you might observe in a hospital and skilled nursing setting or adult rehab and acute care.
- Students must have provided documented evidence of the following already in progress and uploaded to the agency identified in the OTA Application:
- Hepatitis B and other immunizations
- Current CPR or date scheduled to complete
- Proof of medical insurance
- Physical exam by nurse practitioner physician or physician assistant
NOTE: If a qualified student is not accepted or if a student is unable to matriculate into the Professional OTA Curriculum, s/he may use that same application to apply into the next cohort on that same campus within one year from the date of application submission. After that time, the student must apply as a new student.