Do you have an interest in working under the supervision of registered occupational therapists and physiotherapists to support people whose ability to function and adapt has been impaired by injury, illness, the process of aging, developmental disability or emotional disability? If so, you must first attend an occupation therapy university or college program. One such offering is facilitated at Centennial College. Called the Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant program, it takes just two years to complete, focuses on hands-on practice and results in an Ontario College Diploma.
In order to apply for this offering, applicants are required to possess an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. In addition, they must possess Compulsory English 12C, or U or skills assessment, or equivalent and Biology 11C or U or equivalent. Possession of minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission into the occupation therapy training.
Once accepted, faculty members ensure that students are provided with the educational tools, training and hands-on experience that is necessary to meet career challenges with enthusiasm, professionalism and current industry knowledge. As such, students develop skills that will allow them to work as physiotherapist assistants or occupational therapist assistants in hospitals, nursing homes, seniors’ residences, schools, rehabilitation centres, and the private industry. More specifically, students develop the knowledge and skills to work with clients in need of assistance to perform self-care, promote movement, improve function and participate in leisure activities. Additional areas of instruction and development include: respect and caring for the uniqueness of individuals, effective communication, critical thinking and decision-making. This is achieved through a variety of occupation therapy courses such as: Establishing Therapeutic Communication, Human Lifespan Development, Rehabilitation Practice, Conditions Impacting Function, Physiotherapy Skills – Therapeutic Modalities and more.
To ensure that they are fully prepared for direct entry into the field upon graduation, students participate in several work experiences that provide opportunities for the supervised application of skills in a variety of clinical settings, with a range of client populations. Working along with a preceptor and under the supervision of an occupational therapist or physiotherapist, students have the opportunity to demonstrate and practice their skills. Fieldwork placement requirements include CPR Level HCP (Health Care Provider) and standard first aid certification, a clear vulnerable police check prior to semester 2, immunization review form and completion of a mask fit test.
Please note that due to the nature of this profession, those who graduate from Occupation Therapy university or college programs will be required to tolerate regular physical activity during the course of their work day. It is recommended that applicants have a high level of fitness when entering the program.