Getting COTA Certified for Your Career
As a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA), you will play a vital role in helping individuals with disabilities and injuries regain their independence. With an aging population, there is a growing demand for occupational therapy services, and as a result, job opportunities for COTAs are on the rise.
You can find COTA job opportunities in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, nursing homes, and private practices. You will work under the supervision of an occupational therapist to design and implement therapy programs that help improve a patient’s physical, cognitive, and psychosocial skills.
COTA Education and Certification Requirements
Becoming a COTA requires a combination of education and certification. You need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete an accredited occupational therapy assistant program. These programs usually take about two years to complete and cover a range of subjects, including anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and rehabilitation techniques.
Once you have completed your education, you will need to pass a certification exam to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) administers the exam and you will need to meet their eligibility requirements, which include completing an accredited education program and passing a criminal background check.
COTA Exam Format
The COTA exam format consists of 160 multiple-choice questions and is divided into two sections:
- Client Factors: This section tests the COTA candidate’s understanding of the various factors that influence a client’s ability to participate in occupational therapy. Topics covered in this section include the client’s medical history, cultural and environmental factors, and communication abilities.
- Performance Skills: This section tests the COTA candidate’s understanding of how to perform the tasks necessary to provide effective occupational therapy services. Topics covered in this section include assessments, interventions, treatments, and documentation.
The exam is computer-based and is administered year-round at Pearson VUE testing centers. The test is timed and candidates have four hours to complete the exam. It’s important to note that the NBCOT sets the eligibility criteria for taking the COTA exam and candidates must meet these requirements before they are allowed to take the exam. These requirements include completing an accredited occupational therapy assistant program and passing a criminal background check.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a challenging and rewarding career in the healthcare field, consider becoming a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. With job opportunities on the rise and flexible education and certification requirements, it’s an excellent option for those looking to make a difference in people’s lives.