OTA to OT Route

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OTGURu in Saint Louis, Missouri

81 months ago

Did anyone transition from OTA to OT and would you recommend it?

I have posted here before and I have a masters in Nutrition but want to break into OT so badly. I cannot afford to go to MOT school full time since I have a family. So I was thinking about going to Community College for OTA while still working, and then apply for a weekend only MOT program for OTAs and keep working as an OTA as I obtain my MOT. It would be a long process but at least I would not put my family through the financial stress of going to school full-time.

I am 35 with two young kids--1 year and 4 years.
At the end of it all, I will have a $20,000 increase in my annual salary. My salary as an OTA will be equivalent to what I am currently making with a masters. Th only hit I will take if I go this route will be the student loan but at least I won't loose any income.

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LA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

79 months ago

I have been an OTA for 10 years and did the weekend program at West Virginia University...I just graduated! I would strongly recommend it, the process was stressful at times however it was worth it. I was able to go to the school once a month for classwork, midterms and finals. I would not have been able to be a conventional student due to having a family as well. Go for it!

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Jennifer in Charleston, West Virginia

74 months ago

LA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: I have been an OTA for 10 years and did the weekend program at West Virginia University...I just graduated! I would strongly recommend it, the process was stressful at times however it was worth it. I was able to go to the school once a month for classwork, midterms and finals. I would not have been able to be a conventional student due to having a family as well. Go for it!

I am hoping to be excepted to MSU next spring for the COTA program, Can you bridge over to your Bachelor degree there? Masters? And since completing the program have you had any difficulty finding work? Is the "national income average" displayed on most search engines accurate or a bit over stretched?

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Jennifer in Charleston, West Virginia

74 months ago

LA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: I will try to answer your question as best as possible...
What you need to research is what degree MSU offers...is it an associates in science/occupational therapy assistant? I don't know all the requirements with OTA to MOT programs but WVU required an associates and some prereq's. As an OT you cannot work unless you have a masters.
I have not had a problem finding a job at all...acutally I finished my degree in Aug got my license in Nov and had 4 jobs offers.
As I understand the national average income that you search is just that a national average. It all depends upon where you are located and the need. My roommate from school makes 6.00 more than me an hour and works in Ohio and I work in PA...
If I were you...if your goal is to be an OT vs OTA I would go straight to OT school and by pass the OTA route only because most programs that are OTA to OT require some experience (I think the general average is about 1 year experience). That is just my opinion. I value my OTA experience but when I was younger and went OTA school and always had the dream of going back to school to become an OT...I look back and think gosh, I should have just done it when I was younger...I could have had my loans almost paid off by now and now I am starting at square one.
Again, just my opinion and my life experience.
All I know...is I really like my career and all the avenues OT can take you:)

Thank you so much for your answer and your positivity. I am 36 mother of 3 preparing to forfite a income that is close to 50K / year. So I have been very frieghtend about a job change of this magnitude. But it is something I really want to do.
MSU is an associate degree program. WVU is the only program I have found that offers masters. Unfortunatly that is very far from where I live. So my new concern is that if I get my foot in the door as a COTA that I will not be able to bridge over simply from a lack of ability. and im concered

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Jennifer in Charleston, West Virginia

74 months ago

ran out of room, LOL
i am concered that COTA jobs in my very small isolated area may be harder to obtain work verses a MOT...It will not be possible for me to work at my current job and attend a two year program full time, (I work long, unpredictable hours) that is why i was hoping to accomplish one full time then work as I bridged over to the other....

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Kelley in Crystal Lake, Illinois

68 months ago

I am 42 years old with bacholar's degree in English interested in becoming a occupational therapist. Just wondering if the OTA would be a better route for me at this stage of my life. Also, I am having a hard time find a local community college that offers an accredited OTA program. I live in the Chicago area. Any advice and or suggestions would be much appreciated.

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Niki in Ramsey, New Jersey

62 months ago

Kelley in Crystal Lake, Illinois said: I am 42 years old with bacholar's degree in English interested in becoming a occupational therapist. Just wondering if the OTA would be a better route for me at this stage of my life. Also, I am having a hard time find a local community college that offers an accredited OTA program. I live in the Chicago area. Any advice and or suggestions would be much appreciated.

www.aota.org/Educate/Schools/EntryLevelOT/38117.aspx good luck!

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OTdude in Piscataway, New Jersey

60 months ago

I am surprised there are still OTA programs. I would look into doing an OT program if you are REALLY interested in OT. I would think a resp therapist makes more money than an OTA.

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singfree in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania

60 months ago

y would you be surprized they are in demand in my state and every other. OTA sounds more rewarding then amy other.

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OTdude in Piscataway, New Jersey

60 months ago

Most of the OTA programs in NJ are phased out.

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RRT in Metairie, Louisiana

60 months ago

working as a respiratory therapist can be stressful at times. You must deal with the nurses thinking everything going wrong with the patient is a "respiratory issue". Breathing treatments don't help everything. Then again it depend upon where you work. the money that's made isn't enough. It's not what I thought it would be.

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Landa in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

60 months ago

chris sutton in Friendswood, Texas said: Respiratory isn't what it appears. My sister in law and I both started our careers at the same time. I being an RT and her OT. Guess who has progressed far more. I want to switch to OT. Respiratory isn't worth it.

wow! seems like our complaints are the same.It isn't as rewarding as I thought it would be. Frankly I'm tired of giving treatments and writing numbers down from vents. I should have chose Occupational Therapy when given the chance. I searched various places and don't have a master degree so that kick me out of full-time ot school, so maybe for the time being I got to attend ota then transfer to full-time OT school. Im not giving up though!

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sldf29 in Woodstock, Connecticut

60 months ago

LA in Greensburg, Pennsylvania said: I would suggest the WVU program if you have a bachelors. It is a weekend program that meets 1 time a month (people have traveled from CA to do this program). You would have a MOT degree in 3 years. If interested contact the school and ask for Dr. McCombie.

I checked the website. WVU doesn't offer weekend program anymore.

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Lori K in Topsfield, Massachusetts

60 months ago

Looking for OT's for a career as a Regional Consultant. Need LTC experience. Any help or advice would be great.

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Hugsandkisses1015 in Beacon, New York

59 months ago

Hi, I have a BA in Communications and can not find work, I'm interested in applying to OT school for next fall because I'm still taking pre-reqs and such. My question is, would it be worth it or benifical at all to do the coursework to get certified as an OTA to possibly work as OTA, to help offset my current and future student loans?

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The Girl Next Door in Southaven, Mississippi

57 months ago

Hi all,

I am 43 years old and decided to go back to college in the Pre-occupational therapy program at Northwest Mississippi Community college in Southaven, MS / Desoto county in Jan of 2008. I have one more semester after this fall and will graduate with all my prerequisites needed to enter the MOT program, hopefully I will be accepted at UT (University of Tenn, Jackson, MS Medical Center etc...) I really love all the instructors at NWCC and all the assistance and professional guidance given to each student in their prespective major.

I would like to say everyone who has posted on this board and hopefully with more to come; that each and everyone of you have made sacrifices along with ups and downs in life, but I want each of you to throw your shoulders back, and "go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

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Eric in Menlo Park, California

56 months ago

The Girl Next Door in Southaven, Mississippi said: Hi all,

I am 43 years old and decided to go back to college in the Pre-occupational therapy program at Northwest Mississippi Community college in Southaven, MS / Desoto county in Jan of 2008. I have one more semester after this fall and will graduate with all my prerequisites needed to enter the MOT program, hopefully I will be accepted at UT (University of Tenn, Jackson, MS Medical Center etc...) I really love all the instructors at NWCC and all the assistance and professional guidance given to each student in their prespective major.

I would like to say everyone who has posted on this board and hopefully with more to come; that each and everyone of you have made sacrifices along with ups and downs in life, but I want each of you to throw your shoulders back, and "go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

I commend you! I'm 37 years old and was in the IT field for 10 years in Silicon Valley. I've decided to switch over to OT and I'm almost done with my Masters. I'm hoping OT is a much better field than IT. IT was great, but I was just burnt out and needed change. I wanted a more rewarding career and OT seemed like a perfect choice, so I went for it. It's not easy switching careers, especially at 37, but I'm glad I did it. I'm much happier now after learning more and more about OT. Good luck to all of you!

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Deborah Tayler in Kansas City, Missouri

56 months ago

Kelley in Crystal Lake, Illinois said: I am 42 years old with bacholar's degree in English interested in becoming a occupational therapist. Just wondering if the OTA would be a better route for me at this stage of my life. Also, I am having a hard time find a local community college that offers an accredited OTA program. I live in the Chicago area. Any advice and or suggestions would be much appreciated.

Kelly,
I am from Kansas City Mo. and I started the OTA community school program when I was 45. I have now been a COTA for 10 years and love it. I work in the school districts contracted. IF I was younger I would have gone for the OTR, but at my age I did not want to commit to all that schooling. It was worth my time and I make a great salary as well.----Good luck! Deb in KC

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iwant2bot in Chicago, Illinois

56 months ago

Kelley in Crystal Lake, Illinois said: I am 42 years old with bacholar's degree in English interested in becoming a occupational therapist. Just wondering if the OTA would be a better route for me at this stage of my life. Also, I am having a hard time find a local community college that offers an accredited OTA program. I live in the Chicago area. Any advice and or suggestions would be much appreciated.

have u tried one of the city college wright college and south suburban college in south holland,il

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Rich in Irwin, Pennsylvania

56 months ago

OTA Workers,

I was interested in becoming an OTA then eventually an OTR. I was curious what the average salary is for an OTA? I've read some rough numbers online but I know most of the time they are incorrect. So I thought I would ask some people who are actually COTAs.Thanks everyone for your time,
Rich

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Jcolome in Miami, Florida

56 months ago

I am 50 years old and got involved with Cardiovascular Technology after working 22 years in the IT field. I am not happy with going the CVT route and I'm considering becoming an OTA - maybe even the PTA route - anyone have any suggestions or feedback ?

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Eric in San Jose, California

56 months ago

Jcolome in Miami, Florida said: I am 50 years old and got involved with Cardiovascular Technology after working 22 years in the IT field. I am not happy with going the CVT route and I'm considering becoming an OTA - maybe even the PTA route - anyone have any suggestions or feedback ?

Hi Jcolome,

I was in IT for 10 years also. I resigned due to burn out and chose OT. I'm in my last year of OT school and will be graduating with my Masters in OT. By the way, I'm 37 years old. The pre reqs are pretty much the same for OTR and COTA (Anatomy, Physiology, Neuroanatomy, Physics, etc.), so why not go all the way and go for OTR?

There are many people in my cohort who are well over 40 with diverse backgrounds. Some were teachers, artists, engineers, etc. I personally don't see the point in becoming a COTA when it takes about the same time to become an OTR. Best of luck to ya!

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Desperate in Valdosta, Georgia

56 months ago

jt in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania said: It should only take 2 for a ota and then 2 more.

Where did you go to school at to go from OTA to OTR?

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jsb in Saint Petersburg, Florida

56 months ago

to rich in irwin-i am steelers fan- so i kind of know area- good luck-
to everyone looking at ota vs ot i would say this- it may include a little more college/grad school credits ( trust me-i know its so expensive- i had 32k out of state for ot degree and still paying off)- but u may be looking at 26.5$ (cota) vs 40(ot) per hour here in the florida market- it all adds up-
if u are early in your career- i would go ot- if u are above 35 i would do ota school- not being against folks getting degrees - just being realistic-(yep this is a disclaimer)
im a rehab director in florida- im being honest by telling u what i look for at my snf location- especially with the big changes coming down the pike

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OTProspect in Appleton, Wisconsin

56 months ago

what big changes do you see coming down the pike? i am making a career switch and will be starting a MOT program. I am 31 years old. Thanks!

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CoTa in East Coast, Florida

56 months ago

I love being an OTA however being a single mom makes me want to not only make a higher salary but I dont always want to have to work under an OTR.

Any really good suggestions for a bridge program? There are not very many out there... at least that I can find.

Thanks for the help

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Oldermom in Conroe, Texas

56 months ago

Im 46 and looking for a new career.I was a resp therapist for 15 yrs quit due to burn out in 2000. Now thinking of going OTA or PTA.(thanks jsb) I would rather work w children, so was wondering which route to go.

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big papi in New York, New York

53 months ago

Kelley in Crystal Lake, Illinois said: I am 42 years old with bacholar's degree in English interested in becoming a occupational therapist. Just wondering if the OTA would be a better route for me at this stage of my life. Also, I am having a hard time find a local community college that offers an accredited OTA program. I live in the Chicago area. Any advice and or suggestions would be much appreciated.

Are cosidering moving out of Chicago ? Laguardia cc in Queens,New York offers it.

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FYI in Atlanta, Georgia

53 months ago

jsb in Saint Petersburg, Florida said: to rich in irwin-i am steelers fan- so i kind of know area- good luck-
to everyone looking at ota vs ot i would say this- it may include a little more college/grad school credits ( trust me-i know its so expensive- i had 32k out of state for ot degree and still paying off)- but u may be looking at 26.5$ (cota) vs 40(ot) per hour here in the florida market- it all adds up-
if u are early in your career- i would go ot- if u are above 35 i would do ota school- not being against folks getting degrees - just being realistic-(yep this is a disclaimer)
im a rehab director in florida- im being honest by telling u what i look for at my snf location- especially with the big changes coming down the pike

are you willing to hire an OT who graduated at an age over 35?

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dever in Atlanta, Georgia

53 months ago

LA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: I will try to answer your question as best as possible...
What you need to research is what degree MSU offers...is it an associates in science/occupational therapy assistant? I don't know all the requirements with OTA to MOT programs but WVU required an associates and some prereq's. As an OT you cannot work unless you have a masters.
I have not had a problem finding a job at all...acutally I finished my degree in Aug got my license in Nov and had 4 jobs offers.
As I understand the national average income that you search is just that a national average. It all depends upon where you are located and the need. My roommate from school makes 6.00 more than me an hour and works in Ohio and I work in PA...
If I were you...if your goal is to be an OT vs OTA I would go straight to OT school and by pass the OTA route only because most programs that are OTA to OT require some experience (I think the general average is about 1 year experience). That is just my opinion. I value my OTA experience but when I was younger and went OTA school and always had the dream of going back to school to become an OT...I look back and think gosh, I should have just done it when I was younger...I could have had my loans almost paid off by now and now I am starting at square one.
Again, just my opinion and my life experience.
All I know...is I really like my career and all the avenues OT can take you:)

Hi - I like your post. I'm going back to school for OT. My first step is to take one class at a community college. Ya see, I need to get moving on tnis. Since I've been out of school for quite a while (BA in Communication), what class would you recommend? Thinking about Anatomy and Physiology but concerned that it might be too tough for my first class in many years. Any advice you can provide would be helpful.

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OTurbo in staten island, New York

51 months ago

I think he was comparing a respiratory therapist to OT assistant.

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meegan in Chicago, Illinois

51 months ago

chris sutton in Friendswood, Texas said: Respiratory isn't what it appears. My sister in law and I both started our careers at the same time. I being an RT and her OT. Guess who has progressed far more. I want to switch to OT. Respiratory isn't worth it.

you are soooo right...ive been an RT for 11 years, and soooo need a change...its horrible!

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Steph in Columbus, Ohio

50 months ago

Hello all- I'm an OTA student(1st year, one more year to go) at a 2-yr accredited program. I already have a bachelors degree but did not get accepted to the MOT program that I applied for. I tried twice so I moved on to OTA. Do you think I should stay with the OTA route until I finish and then try again for MOT? Are there more MOT opportunities available once in the profession, as a COTA? I'm 27 years old and would like to be in a career that I love, I just feel like its taking me forever. Trying to keep my chin up! Thank you, all for listening!

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Steph in Columbus, Ohio

50 months ago

Hello all- I'm an OTA student(1st year, one more year to go) at a 2-yr accredited program. I already have a bachelors degree but did not get accepted to the MOT program that I applied for. I tried twice so I moved on to OTA. Do you think I should stay with the OTA route until I finish and then try again for MOT? Are there more MOT opportunities available once in the profession, as a COTA? I'm 27 years old and would like to be in a career that I love, I just feel like its taking me forever. Trying to keep my chin up! Thank you, all for listening!

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LA from Pittsburgh in Akron, Ohio

50 months ago

Time passes either way...so whatever you end up doing with your career will you be happy with your decision? Will you always wonder and want more? Age is just a number and that shouldn't matter but knowledge is power and can never be taken away from you. The question you need to answer for yourself is...what are you going to do with your time? I have been down both paths (OTA and now OTR)...much more satisfied with being an OTR. The best thing I could have done with my time;)

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Steph in Columbus, Ohio

50 months ago

Thank you very much! I do want to further my education once I finish OTA school. Do you have advice in that regard? Did you do a bridge program?

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tbf from south jersey

47 months ago

I'm 42 and interested in OTA program after working in preschools and seeing what therapy has done for my godson with autism spectrum disorder. Doesn't seem to be any programs in NJ but I'm willing to expand to DE and PA. Can anyone offer any advise on what accredited programs are out there and why NJ seems to have none? thanks!

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Tee in Los Angeles, California

47 months ago

I have a BA in Child Development. I have done all the pre-reqs for OT or OTA. My question is, if im planning on working full time while going to school would the OTA program be a better option than the MOT? What is the difference in pay? Thanks!

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Kiya in Yankeetown, Florida

46 months ago

If one goes the COTA route v OT initially (primarily due to cost) are there a lot of employers willing to provide tuition assistance toward that career advancement to OT?? I'm pushing 35 here in Fl and looking at the best financial option and route. Any advice greatly appreciated.

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AiraIgnacio in Manila, Philippines

45 months ago

Hello! I'm an OT student from Philippines, OT program here is a bachelor's degree and it would take 5years, I finished up to third year and now I have to move to Canada but I still wanted to pursue my studies in OT, but the thing is, they only have MOT and I have to finish a bachelor's degree first to be accepted in masters. So I'm thinking if I should go with OTA or finish my OT here in Phil or take up a bachelor's degree first then go with MOT or if there would be any bridging program from OTA to OTR. So confused, but one thing's for sure, I really wanted to become an OTR or Rehab Med maybe if I would have the opportunity :D Any suggestions?

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still looking in Walton, New York

45 months ago

I am 50 years old, have a B.A. and M.S. and looking to change my career. Since I do not have a medical background I was looking into the OTA program to start, gain experience and than earn my MOT while working as an OTA. But because of my age I really do not want to take 5 years to complete something that can be done in 2 or 3. If I was younger I would start with the OTA program but as an older student I was wondering if it would be worth skipping the OTA route and going straight for the MOT. I would just need a few pre-reqs to finish. Also, is 50 too old to become an Occupational Therapist?

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still looking

45 months ago

Hello everyone: I am 50 years old and due to economic reasons, I am changing my career. I currently have a B.A. and a M.S. After speaking to a friend who suggested Occupational Therapy, I did a lot of research and spoke to people in the field who love Occupational Therapy and I have come to love it myself. I do not have a medical background, so I would need to take a few pre-reqs before I begin the masters program.

My question is: Should I pursue the OTA program and begin there, enter the field as an assistant, gain experience and then work toward my masters? Or should I skip the assistant program and work toward completing pre-reqs and just apply to the masters program?

If I was younger I would do the OTA program first, but since I am already 50 years old, I really do not want to go back to school longer then I need to. Also, why pay for the OTA program if I do not need it. Anyway, is 50 too old to become an Occupational Therapist?

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ardentanglophile in Redmond, Washington

45 months ago

I will be 49 when I expect to graduate from an OTA program. Im not doing OT because of the length and the cost. If you can afford it and have the time, then why not?

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singfree in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania

45 months ago

I am 45 and just finished a ota program you can do it there were ladys in my class much older follow your dreams it will be hard work but worth it in the end. OT is something you can long after retirement years one or two days a week for spending money just to stay active. I say do it!!!!!

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still looking

45 months ago

To singfree in Drexel and ardentangleophile in Redmond. Thank you for your support. I just feel if I am returning to school for 2 years I would be better off getting a M.S. in OT over an A.S. in OTA. Since I already hold a B.A. and M.S. it would be just another 2 years of school doing either program. And like singfree said, with the MOT I could work independent or part time and still make decent money. Good luck to you both.

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LS in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

41 months ago

LA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: I have been an OTA for 10 years and did the weekend program at West Virginia University...I just graduated! I would strongly recommend it, the process was stressful at times however it was worth it. I was able to go to the school once a month for classwork, midterms and finals. I would not have been able to be a conventional student due to having a family as well. Go for it!

Hey I saw this because I'm interested in OT or OTA, I saw you said you did the weekend program at wvu which I never heard of I went on their website to see what I could find and I noticed they had something called distance education, but it's no longer available. Is that what it was called that you did? Since you are also from Pittsburgh if I just decide to go with OTA which school would you recommend, I looked into CCAC and Kaplan. Kaplan seems really expensive. I already have a bachelors degree in exercise science so i'm actually really tired of school but i have such an interest in OT.

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Danica White in Amherst, Nova Scotia

41 months ago

Steph in Columbus, Ohio said: Hello all- I'm an OTA student(1st year, one more year to go) at a 2-yr accredited program. I already have a bachelors degree but did not get accepted to the MOT program that I applied for. I tried twice so I moved on to OTA. Do you think I should stay with the OTA route until I finish and then try again for MOT? Are there more MOT opportunities available once in the profession, as a COTA? I'm 27 years old and would like to be in a career that I love, I just feel like its taking me forever. Trying to keep my chin up! Thank you, all for listening!

** Wow haha, I am in the exact situation you are. Except I'm in Canada, doing my OTA/PTA course. Are the job prospects better in the states? I'd like to speak with you more about how your career is turning out, can you email me ? aphro_czech@hotmail.com

:)

Thanks!

Danica

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still looking

41 months ago

Steph, I am in the same situation as you but much older. You are still young so you can always do OTA make sure this is what you want to do and the go for the MOT while working as an OTA. If getting a MOT is your ultimate goal and you have the pre-reqs done, the OTA is not needed and you should skip that step and go for the masters. You will have more job offers and security with the MOT.
I'm in the process of a career change, I already have a M.S. and B.A. but needed 4 pre-reqs, I was originally going to do the MOT route and spoke to several people and they recommended it BUT due to money concerns I thought I would take the longer road and do OTA first, get my feet wet and make sure I enjoy OT before I go into debt for $60,000 or more. Since you are already half way through the OTA program, continue and get into the field and see what happens. If you luck out and get a job in a hospital, they may pay for you to get the masters. Good luck!!

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Thumtac in Franklinville, New Jersey

38 months ago

what is the MOT program,,,,

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still looking in Walton, New York

38 months ago

Thumtac, if you go to www.aota.org it will give you a list of accredited schools. MOT= Masters of Occupational Therapy. It doesn't look like there are any OTA programs in NJ how far are you from NY? I am in the same situation as you, 50 years old single parent. I already hold 2 degrees and was going to work toward the masters program BUT because of the cost I decided do the OTA program instead. Once I get into the field and start working then maybe I will continue for the masters. The associate program is 2 years. If you already have a bachelor degree the masters will take about 2 1/2 years, once all pre reqs are done. If you do not have a bachelors then they have a combined bachelor/masters program that takes about 5 years. I don't know how you feel about all the schooling. I have a M.S. but needed 4 pre reqs before I could do the masters and being 50 years old I did not want to go back to school for another 3 1/2 years and end up with a 60,000 loan that is why I chose to do the OTA program. Good luck in your choice

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