Students who aspire to a rewarding career helping others overcome physical, social, and emotional disabilities are finding the “best education” in Polk State College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program.
An OTA works under the supervision of an occupational therapist to provide patients with methods and techniques to perform daily tasks as well as ways to adapt one’s environment to maximize independent functioning. In Polk County, certified OTA professionals earn an average of $22 an hour. Nationally, jobs in this field are growing rapidly with a 23% increase by 2032.
Polk State offers an Associate in Science degree program to train graduates for work in the field and prepare for the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) licensure exam.
“I chose the Polk State OTA Program because it was the closest to home for me and I have heard of so many people who have come through this program and have done great in the field,” student Alexis Lane said. “They’ve done great on their NBCOT exam and honestly I felt that I was going to get the best education here versus a different program.”
Polk State OTA graduates boast a 95% pass rate on the licensure exam, exceeding state and national averages. This success is due in large part to the professionals who lead and teach the program.
“I love Polk State because the [faculty] and staff are very dedicated to student success,” Coordinator for Clinical Education Lucerito Gonzalez said. “We love to maximize every opportunity and bring our profession to the classroom.”
“I would recommend Polk State OTA because you are going to get one of the best education here. We have an amazing line of professors who all care about our education and want us to succeed.”
Program Director Annette Bullard emphasized that Polk State OTA provides extra support to ensure students receive the training they need to be successful.
“We pour a lot into our students – a lot of time and a lot of resources,” she said. “It’s not just the class and the lab but it’s the meetings between to help develop professionalism or remedial work to develop hands-on skills so that they are prepared when they go to the clinics.”
“Polk State College has great teachers to help us learn all the essential skills we need for this program and for real-life situations when we go into the field,” student Bryann Sanida said.
Polk State OTA enjoys partnerships with local and regional healthcare organizations, many of which serve as clinical sites for students to conduct their fieldwork, such as AdventHealth, BayCare, Lakeland Regional Health, and Orlando Health.
Students also touted the OTA Program’s affordability, small class sizes, and hands-on approach to learning.
“I would recommend Polk State OTA because you are going to get one of the best education here,” Lane added. “We have an amazing line of professors who all care about our education and want us to succeed.”
The Polk State OTA application period is open each September. Informational sessions are held via Zoom every first Thursday of the month at 11 a.m. and can be accessed at polk.zoom.us/j/4662008846. Those who are interested can also visit polk.edu/ota for more information.