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Nation's first OTA Online program launches

Lab instructor Tilda Sorenson OTD gives feedback to OTA students during a structured interview practice session in Virginia.
Lab instructor Tilda Sorenson OTD gives feedback to OTA students during a structured interview practice session in Virginia.
Photo by Kathleen Matuska.

Genesis Rehab Services and St. Catherine University announced today their partnership to create the first online occupational therapy assistant program to address the rising need for professional occupational therapy assistants throughout the country.

Students in the online occupational therapy assistant program face much better job prospects than those in many other fields. The occupational therapy field is expected to grow by 41 percent by 2022 -- 11 percent faster than the average growth rate of other occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As Baby Boomers reach retirement age and aging populations face declining physical health, occupational therapy assistants are needed more than ever.

"As one of the nation's largest employers of occupational therapy practitioners, we see firsthand the growing need for OT services," said Diane Durham, OT and Senior Director of Education and Staff Development at Genesis Rehab Services. "The role of the assistant will complement the overall profession of occupational therapy, and our partnership with St. Catherine University will help address the overall staffing shortage that we expect within the field."

St. Catherine University, founded in 1905, has a history of academic excellence and innovation. The University's Henrietta Schmoll School of Health partnership with Genesis Rehab Services was built upon the continued desire to provide the best possible education for occupational therapy assistants.

"St. Catherine University understands the need to continuously evolve," said Associate Professor Diane Anderson who is also the Coordinator of OTA Online Programs in the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. "This is why we developed the online OTA program with labs. In order to offer the best to our students, we partnered with Genesis to utilize their rehab sites so students can experience the kinds of hands-on education that reinforces their online courses and truly prepares them to work with a wide variety of clients."

In the nation's first online OTA program, students are exposed to flexible online learning that can be completed in just four semesters of study. The program is open to students who have completed high school or earned a GED, and who have successfully completed the necessary prerequisite college-level courses.

Students will take online courses in occupational therapy assistant theory and practice that also includes face-to-face labs and more than 700 hours of fieldwork. In addition, they will complete take liberal arts and science courses that are at the heart of a St. Catherine University education. Clinical fieldwork will take place at various occupational therapy facilities, many of which are in the Genesis Rehab Services network, throughout Virginia and surrounding states.

"This is a great opportunity for potential students interested in working in the medical field," said Anderson. "Not only can students earn a degree as an occupational therapy assistant, but the flexibility of the online coursework means they can take their courses when and where it's convenient for them. Students are assured a top-notch education that doesn't require spending four to six hours a day for two years in traditional classrooms."

Oct. 8, 2014 by Information supplied.

See also: Faculty, Healthcare, Leadership