Prerequisites for Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs

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If you’ve been searching for more information on Occupational Therapy Assistant programs, you’ve more than likely seen information on prerequisite courses. With many programs varying in their prerequisite course requirements, you may wonder “How many prerequisites do I need to take?”

Prerequisites for occupational therapy assistant programs all depend on the school you choose. Many OTA programs require students to complete as many as 10 prerequisite courses before applying. However, St. Catherine University’s Online Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program only requires students to complete four college-level prerequisite courses as part of the application process.

The prerequisite courses needed for St. Catherine University’s OTA program include:

  1. General Anatomy and Physiology with Lab
  2. Medical Terminology
  3. General Psychology
  4. Lifespan Developmental Psychology

Prerequisites help prepare you to succeed as an OTA student and give you the flexibility to choose how soon you would like to apply.

Why Are Prerequisites Important?

Prerequisites are essential because they lay the groundwork for everything you do as an occupational therapy assistant student. The well-rounded education you gain from these courses provides a solid foundation as you undertake your OTA curriculum. If you don’t know the basic concepts and terms used by OTAs, it’s more challenging to know how to formulate plans and exercises for patients.

These required prerequisite courses can be especially beneficial for those who may have been out of school for a few years. For example, if you’re a career changer, the prerequisite courses can help fine-tune your study skills and perhaps introduce you to online learning. They provide a good opportunity to acclimate to the hybrid learning modality before jumping headfirst into OTA coursework.

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Overall, these prerequisites play a pivotal role in your success as an OTA student at St. Kate’s, as they provide you with the knowledge needed prior to starting the program and set the tone for the rest of your journey through the OTA program.

Where Can I Complete My Prerequisites?

While you’re encouraged to complete your OTA prerequisites through St. Catherine University, we also accept course credits from other accredited institutions. Before registering for prerequisites at another institution, you’ll want your admissions counselor to verify that the courses offered by the school will satisfy the requirements.

Although you can take classes at another institution, choosing to take prerequisites through St. Kate’s may be your smartest option. It will introduce you to St. Kate’s online learning management system (LMS), Canvas, which can help you feel more comfortable and confident with OTA fundamentals before diving into the core curriculum.

LIFE Core Requirements

Depending on your previous education, you may also have to complete some or all of the LIFE core requirements (also referred to as liberal arts and science, LAS, or general education). If you are a recent high school graduate or a student with some college credits, these courses can get you up to speed and prepare you to become a well-rounded and thoughtful clinician. The Online OTA program’s required LIFE Core courses consist of:

  1. The Reflective Life
  2. Health Care Ethics
  3. Theology
  4. General Psychology
  5. Anatomy & Physiology

You are responsible for completing LIFE Core courses before applying to the OTA curriculum. Once accepted into the program, you can take the two remaining LIFE Core courses with the core OTA classes.

Choose Your Path

Based on your prior education, the following pathways can give you an idea of how long it will take to complete prerequisites and apply to the program:

1) High School Diploma or Passing GED Score

If you have a high school diploma or passing GED score, no LIFE Core courses would transfer in. This means you will have to complete prerequisites, along with LIFE Core courses before applying to the professional sequence. If you take eight to 12 credits a semester, it may take you anywhere from two to three semesters before applying to start the professional sequence of OTA courses. You will get a customized program plan to show you your path.

2) Some College Experience but No Degree

If you have some college experience but don’t have a degree, the time it takes you to apply will depend on the LIFE Core courses that transfer in. You may need to take anywhere from one to two semesters of LIFE Core courses before applying to start the OTA courses.

3) Bachelor’s Degree

If you have a bachelor’s or associate degree from a regionally accredited program, you are exempt from the core curriculum requirement. You will still have to have completed all four prerequisites before applying to the professional sequence, but you should be able to start the OTA courses much sooner than others. Contact an admissions counselor for more information.

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Now that you know more about the prerequisites, LIFE Core requirements, and the different pathway options for you, your next action is to speak with an admissions counselor.

Speak with an Admissions Counselor

Committed to helping you create an academic timeline based on your previous education, your admissions counselor will build a positive rapport with you from the very start.

Depending on the amount of coursework you are comfortable completing at once and your desired program start date, your counselor will help you figure out the best sequence and timing for completing any LIFE Core and prerequisite courses you need to take to apply to the OTA program in your target timeframe.

Your admissions counselor will also help you determine if any courses you’ve taken in the past may already meet the prerequisite requirements, which would allow you to begin your OTA coursework sooner.

Discover Your Path Today

Prerequisites for occupational therapy assistant programs shouldn’t stress you out; they should excite you! Now you have an idea how long it can take to complete prerequisites, it’s time to get to work. To find out what prerequisites you may have to take before starting the Online OTA program at St. Catherine University, contact an admissions counselor today.

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The Ultimate Guide to Occupational Therapy and OTA

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