Occupational Therapist Assistant & Physiotherapist Assistant

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    Oct 02, 2013
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Occupational Therapist Assistant & Physiotherapist Assistant Photo by Jason White

Help with the rehabilitation and therapy of patients who have sustained injuries, or are battling illnesses, or are persons with disabilities. Become an Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant from an accredited occupational therapy university.

Why should you consider becoming an Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA) or Physiotherapist Assistant (PTA)?

- Become a healthcare professional within two years of college education, assisting in occupational therapy and physiotherapy
- Enjoy a fulfilling career, improving lives of people with disabilities, and those with injuries and illnesses
- Join an industry with great job prospects; as the populations gets older, more health care services are expected to be in demand
- Flexibility of work, with work settings in rehabilitation centres, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities, and varying shift schedules
- Work in a professional environment, preparing and delivering exercises and treatment plans for patients

Students wishing to pursue this profession in the health care sector can apply to a community college. Ontario’s first college, Centennial College, offers the two-year Occupational Therapist Assistant & Physiotherapist Assistant (9151) program, with a 540 hours practical experience as a student OTA/PTA. A preceptor checks on the student’s progress in the Rehabilitation Practice course, a placement involving a supervisory Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist. Prior to this placement in the final year, students must complete relevant courses and health and safety compliance, consisting of police and background check, completion of CPR and Standard First Aid training, and a health checkup clearance.

Students will learn about the functions and movements of the human body, as theoretical knowledge required in preparing treatments and exercise plans for the patients. The curriculum includes:

- Anatomy and Physiology: how different parts of the body works, specifically in the musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory, neurological and endocrine systems
- Introduction to Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy: examines a theoretical look into beliefs and values affecting rehabilitation assistants
- The Health Care System: stay informed with the health industry practices and government policies affecting healthcare workers
- Mental Health Concepts & Techniques: learning to support persons with mental illness during therapy sessions
- Issues in Health Aging: familiarizing with the target audience for this profession to better assist them in work settings

In addition to the academic training in classrooms and the field placements, some courses take part in both classroom and lab settings. Students gain in-depth knowledge on the theory side, while enhancing their skills and abilities in examining the human body and applying their therapeutic treatments. These courses are:

- Introduction to Physiotherapy Interventions - Therapeutic Exercises: physiotherapy techniques in conjunction with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions
- Physiotherapy Skills - Therapeutic Modalities: learning how to implement care plans in therapeutic modalities
- Occupational Therapy Therapeutic Skills: practice basic and advanced techniques in occupational therapy, focusing on remedial and adaptive techniques to help people cope in day-to-day living

The Occupational Therapist Assistant & Physiotherapist Assistant program at Centennial is highly competitive, so students who wish to enter will require to at least achieving the minimum requirements of a high school level English and Biology courses with their secondary diploma or equivalent credentials. Graduates can expect to work in various health care service environments, with patients ranging from a young age of infancy to the elderly residents.

Author's Profile

The author Jason White describes the Occupational Therapist Assistant & Physiotherapist Assistant program at Centennial College. For more information you can visit http://www.centennialcollege.ca/Programs/ProgramOverview.aspx?Program=9151

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