In North Texas and across the United States, the demand for occupational therapy assistants (OTA) has been steadily increasing. OTAs assist occupational therapists in hospital settings, nursing care facilities, with home care companies, and more helping to provide rehabilitation services to people of all ages suffering from stroke, arthritis, Alzheimer's and other long-term disabilities, but this role is continually expanding. Additionally, OTAs might be employed by state, local, and private educational services, as well as social services programs.
Over the past decade, an aging population – coupled with hospitals’ needs to lower readmission rates – have contributed to a bright outlook for this career field.
Students pursuing careers in this field can tap into a variety of occupational therapy assistant programs offered by higher education institutions throughout the DFW area.
At the Navarro College campus in the rapidly rising North Texas community of Midlothian, students have been mastering OTA skills since 2013.
Every summer, 36 students enroll in the OTA program which can be completed in 22 months. On average, 28-30 students graduate each year from the OTA program in Midlothian.
Jeanette Krajca, OTR, MS, OTA program director at Navarro’s Midlothian campus, said demand is high for the school’s occupational therapy assistant and physical therapist assistant programs. She added that the number of student applicants typically exceeds the program’s number of open positions.
While some students come from all over the state, relocating just to attend the OTA program in Midlothian, the majority commute from the DFW area.
The community’s new Methodist Midlothian Medical Center, scheduled to open in 2020, will join the many healthcare facilities in the area benefitting from graduates of Navarro’s OTA program.