OTA VS OTR

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Comments (12)

K0713 in Frisco, Texas

30 months ago

Okay, I know this has been posted a million times, but I need some opinions about my situation!!

I am graduating in May with a Child and Family development Bachelor. I am trying to decide between COTA and OTR. Heres my deal- I already have loans at about 60K from getting my bachelor, and im going to have to get about 20 hrs of prereqs before I can apply to go for OTR. I am interning right now at an OT office, and I have noticed the OT doing TONS of paperwork- and not much playing with the kids!! Is this true for most OTR's?

If I go for COTA,many prereqs, and I prob wouldn't have to take out as many loans as I would for a masters degree.

Would going for COTA be a waste of time? Should I just go the longer & more expensive route to get a better outcome? Im REALLY torn! Need some good advice!!

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R in Northridge, California

30 months ago

60 grand is a lot for undergrad. Do you have good enough grades to get into a public school for OT? If you choose to go to a private program, you will be really deep in the hole.

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Sthom67 in Killeen, Texas

30 months ago

Hi K0713!

I don't have any advice for you since we are pretty much in the same situation as I am. (Maybe we can exchange e-mails and try to help each other out :) I graduated in December with a B.S. in Child and Family Studies. I'm actually doing my internship at Fort Hood with Child, Youth, and School Services.

I have not completed any observations yet and I'm having a hard time trying to figure out whether to go to OTA or OT school as well. I've looked into UTBM and TWU for their OT programs and I've looked into Austin and Houston's OTA programs. I have to meet prereqs for all of them so I don't really know when I would apply. I don't know where to get my pre-reqs, how long it would take, etc. I really need some guidance as well.

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K0713 in Frisco, Texas

30 months ago

R,
I am hoping I will have good enough grades for public school. The classes I'm taking now are hard so I can't say exactly what my gpa will be by graduation. I had to take out loans for housing,food and tuition, I relied solely on loans, which is why my loans are so high!

Sthom67,
I'm glad we are in the same boat! I feel horrible that I don't have my prerequisites done and that if I went for my masters I'll have like a year of extra school for them!! Do you feel like it'd be a bad idea to just go for OTA when we are young And could go all the way and be the "boss"?ugh..

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Sthom67 in Killeen, Texas

30 months ago

K0713,

I e-mailed a few advisors today to ask about the pre-reqs. It does seem like it will take us a year to meet those pre-reqs so we wouldn't actually be able to start until next year. I'm ready to jump into the school now! lol!!

And I'm actually looking into going to an OTA school now too! Panola college in Carthage, TX doesn't have a pre-req requirement. It's an OTA school but I was looking into it. I'll let you know what the advisors tell me.

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R in Northridge, California

29 months ago

Here are a few more things you guys might want to be aware of:

Prereq classes are difficult to get into if you take them at community college. If you have not graduated from undergrad yet and can fit in some prereq classes at your university, you may want to consider that option. I know some students who wait a year or more to get into Anatomy/Physio classes at community colleges (you've got to compete with all those nursing students!) I personally found a way to take the classes at a small, rural community college about 45 minutes away from the city I was living in (less students to compete with to get into classes). So, on top of a year or so to take all the prereq classes, now you might also be facing a wait time to just get into the classes.

Costwise, if you have 60 grand in loans in undergrad because you had to pay for everything (living, rent, food, tuition, etc) with your loans, I am going to assume that you will be facing a similar situation when you get to grad school. Even if you attend a public program, you would be adding at least another 50 grand to pay tuition and living expenses. I attend a public program now, and my school estimates that a college student who does not live with their parents needs about 12 grand to pay for everything for each semester. 12 grand multiplied by 7 semesters equals... 84 grand. So a student who relied completely on loans at my public school would still have close to six figure loans just for grad school. ( I have no idea how students at private schools can afford their education!)

A lot of OTA programs have... a wait list. I know, it sucks. In CA, it is not unheard of for some students to wait 1 to 2 years before they start the program. I know a few students who already had their bachelors when they applied for an OTA program, and they were bumped to a spot earlier in the wait list. However, I don't know their complete situation and what it took for them to pass much of the wait list.

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R in Northridge, California

29 months ago

I just read over my post, and I apologize for sounding like such a Debbie Downer!

Please realize that I am not trying to discourage you from the field. Hopefully you will find my info at least somewhat useful. I know I took a lot of time figuring out what I wanted to do before settling in on OT school.

Becoming a COTA first and then becoming an OT later along the line is not uncommon. Don't feel discouraged to take this route if you find that this will work out better for you. I know there are a few schools that offer "bridging" programs specifically for COTAs who want to be OTs.

Whatever you guys decide, good luck!!

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R in Northridge, California

29 months ago

I just read over my post, and I apologize for sounding like such a Debbie Downer!

Please realize that I am not trying to discourage you from the field. Hopefully you will find my info at least somewhat useful. I know I took a lot of time figuring out what I wanted to do before settling in on OT school.

Becoming a COTA first and then becoming an OT later along the line is not uncommon. Don't feel discouraged to take this route if you find that this will work out better for you. I know there are a few schools that offer "bridging" programs specifically for COTAs who want to be OTs.

Whatever you guys decide, good luck!!

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K0713 in Austin, Texas

29 months ago

STHOM67-
Yes! Please let me know what they say! I want to jump into school immediately after graduation too! I am just so nervous about money and prereqs. This is stressfull. I wish the prereqs were included :(.

R-
You dont sound like a debbie downer! Your defiantly speaking the truth! This may be dumb, but OT grad school is only a two year program,right? I am hoping I can get into TWU ( Texas Womens University) and live at home. My dad lives about 1 hr away, and that would save me a ton of money. There is a community college right by my house that I will be looking at taking my prereqs, which would be cheap as well.

I am leaning more towards going all the way for OT instead of OTA because I could pay off my loans faster (hopefully!) But if it wasnt for the higher pay, I think it would be best for me to go the COTA route.

UGH- tme for a pro's con's list!

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R in Northridge, California

29 months ago

Don't forget that OTA school is MUCH cheaper than OT school. You will not have nearly as much loans to pay.

And, OT school lengths vary by the school. Some schools are as long as 3 years while others say they finish in two years. However, take a look at their curriculum. I have seen some schools who boast two year programs, but aren't taking into account how long it realistically takes to complete Fieldwork 2. (You need to complete 2 Fieldwork 2s, each 12 weeks at full time. At my school, you can negotiate less than full time for the last fieldwork 2 and just take a little bit longer to finish). In the end, when you add 2 more semesters for Fieldwork 2, the program is actually 2.5 years long. And you are still paying full-time tuition while you finish your fieldworks. (Paying thousands to a school just to be able to work for free? Yep.)

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E in Houston, Texas

27 months ago

I'm in the same boat. I'm trying to decide if I should go ota route or OT. I have bachelors degree and all the preqs finished. Buuuut I really don't want to do a bunch of paper work as a OT. Schools for OT are soo much more expensive than Ota. I have about 40,000 of undergrad debt already. I'd be at almost 100,000 in debt from school. Ugh is it worth it?

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DFG in Royal Oak, Michigan

20 months ago

Hi. I'm in the same situation as you are. I graduated Dec 2011 with a B.S. in Family Studies and I've been contemplating applying to OTA or OT school. My main problem is that my transcripts are a mess and my GPA isn't as competitive as I would like it to be for OT school. I was wondering if you decided on what to do!? and if you have any advice. Thanks

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