Piedmont Tech to Offer New Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

When Piedmont Technical College’s faculty and staff consider new program offerings, they look closely at the skills and training that will help students fill real employment needs in the region. The college’s latest offering is no exception.

PTC is now expanding access to in demand training through a new occupational therapy assistant program, which will be housed at the college’s state-of-the-art facility in Newberry.

“We’ve been exploring new programs to add to our county campuses,” said Jerry Alewine, dean of health science. “We noticed there was a high demand for OTAs, but there was a void between the programs available in Greer and in Charleston.”

The two-year associate degree program at Piedmont Tech will be one of three offered in the state. With the other two programs being offered at Greenville Technical College’s Greer Campus and Trident Technical College, the addition of a program at the Newberry County Campus provides more opportunities for occupational therapy assistant graduates in the Upstate and the Midlands of South Carolina.

The goal of the program is to prepare graduates to attain the required competencies needed to successfully complete the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. OTAs work with a variety of patients with mental, physical, emotional or developmental impairments. OTAs collaborate with occupational therapists to develop and carry out a treatment plan for each patient.

“The goal of the occupational therapy assistant is to get people back to a functional level,” said Isabelle Beveridge, OTA program director.

There is a high demand for certified OTAs across the country, and especially in South Carolina. Employment of occupational therapy assistants is projected to grow 43 percent by 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for OTAs is expected to rise significantly over the coming decade in response to the health needs of the aging baby boomer generation and a growing elderly population.

“Finding OTAs is very difficult, so the job opportunities are open with so many different settings available,” said Beveridge. “The need for health care workers providing extended care is only going to grow.”

“The community has been very soundly behind the addition of this program in Newberry,” said Alewine. “I am excited for the first class to begin in the spring.”

The new occupational therapy assistant program is pending SACSCOC approval.

For more information on the occupational therapy assistant program, contact Beveridge at (803) 768-8188 or beveridge.i@ptc.edu