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The Allied Health Department at East Central College recently announced that 100 percent of the December 2013 graduates of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program passed the national certification exam on their first attempt.


ECC is one of five colleges in the Missouri Health Professions Consortium (MHPC) that offers the Associate of Applied Science OTA degree program coordinated through the University of Missouri, School of Health Professions. East Central offers and enrolls students in the general education coursework.  Sophomore level (professional level) coursework originates from a classroom located on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus and is conveyed to ECC students via interactive television and internet based technology.  Students in the OTA program also spend a portion of their time in clinical settings in surrounding communities.  The consortium program has been in place since 2010.


Robyn Walter, chair of the allied health and nursing division at ECC, noted that the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam is required for all new OTA graduates. “It is administered to assure only those with adequate knowledge are able to practice as occupational therapy assistants in the United States,” said Walter.  ECC had six students graduate from the program  last December.


Walter stated that a new OTA class begins every January.  “Individuals interested in learning about the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at East Central College in Union are encouraged to call 636-584-6616 or email :”   


Walter noted that the deadline to submit an application to the OTA program is May 31.  “In addition to the required forms and letters of recommendation, an essay needs to be completed.  Individuals interested in the program must also observe an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant at a clinical site as part of the application process,” said Walter.  “The observation visit gives the applicant the opportunity to get a first-hand look at what is involved in the profession.”


Prior to entering the program next January, applicants must complete all 27 credit hours of general education coursework which includes eight to nine credit hours in anatomy and physiology and the appropriate prerequisite classes.  Admission requirements include a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 and a grade of C or better in all biology coursework.


The OTA consortium program gives ECC the flexibility to offer another health care degree option at the college without the typical start-up costs.  “Through this partnership program, students from this area have the opportunity to pursue a career in occupational therapy without having to move or make a long commute,” Walter said.  “The MHPC Occupational Therapy Assistant program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council on Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association.  Students are eligible to sit for the national certification exam upon their graduation in December.”

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