The Profession of Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy practitioners can be credentialed at the professional level, as an occupational therapist, or at the technical level, as an occupational therapy assistant.
The occupational therapist completes a 5 or 6-year postbaccalaureate occupational therapy degree and the occupational therapy assistant (OTA) completes a 2-year associate degree at one of approximately 280 accredited programs at colleges and universities throughout the United States.
AOTA’s accrediting body, the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®), has accredited the nation’s occupational therapy educational programs since 1935.
Occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant students must also complete a supervised fieldwork program and pass a national certification exam. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico regulate the practice of occupational therapy. Many of these jurisdictions mandate periodic continuing education requirements.
In addition, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants follow professional practice standards and adhere to a code of ethics in the delivery of services.