Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Moving to State’s First Hybrid Model
ASHTABULA, OHIO – Targeted at widening students’ educational opportunities in preparing them for a career in occupational therapy, the Kent State University at Ashtabula Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Technology program recently announced the creation of a hybrid model, combining online learning with more convenient on-campus laboratory sessions. The new model will launch in Summer 2020.
“There is an unfulfilled need for hybrid options for students,” said OTA Program Director Julie Mirabell, MS, OT/L. “There are a lot of (OTA) programs, but ours will be the first to provide students convenience and flexibility in their study. Plus, this model allows us to take advantage of our great technology resources and prepare students for the future, with increased use of technology in practice, such as telehealth.”
The new format will feature students the future, with increased use completing traditional lecture content, classwork, study and lab prep off-site at home or other convenient location. Then, students spend one day per week on campus in Kent State Ashtabula’s state-of-the-art health and science labs, including the OTA apartment. A Saturday lab option will be offered.
There are no changes to the course curriculum or the field work/clinical experience and requirements. The first – and only – hybrid program in Ohio will deliver between 65-70 percent of the curriculum online.
“The rigors of the program remain, and students will have regular contact with faculty and open lab availability,” Mirabell said. “But, historically students from outside Ashtabula County – and even those in county a good distance away – have spent a lot of time traveling to and from campus multiple times per week, which can be taxing. This frees up all our students to spend time with their families, work or care for others, and participate in the program.”
Occupational therapy assistants help patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. They are directly involved in providing therapy to patients; and work under the direction of occupational therapists. The median annual wage for OTAs is $57,620, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a job growth rate of 28 percent by 2026 – much faster than the national average.
Since its inception in 2007, the Kent State Ashtabula OTA program has produced over 200 graduates into the field, regularly surpassing the national average on the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.
Students interested in applying to the program can begin pre-requisite work as early as the Fall 2019 semester. Visit www.kent.edu/ashtabula/ota for more information about the program. To apply to Kent State Ashtabula, visit www.kent.edu/ashtabula/apply-now.