Medical advances permit a growing number of children and adults to live successfully with disabilities. Clients, who have experienced an injury or a health condition that has impacted their ability to function in day-to-clay life, can maximize their physical, mental and social abilities through rehabilitation. Under the supervision of an occupational therapist or physiotherapist, the therapist assistant works with clients across the lifespan with the goal of helping the clients to be active participants in society. Therapist assistants also support facility administration by managing therapeutic supplies and maintaining equipment.
SAIT’s Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant diploma program trains students to become knowledgeable and skilled assistants in occupational and physical therapy. Course content meets or exceeds the essential competencies required for support personnel in both professions.
The Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant program is two years in length and is comprised of four semesters. The first semester of the program addresses key concepts of rehabilitation and healthcare delivery. Observational visits to the clinical settings assist the student in integrating knowledge of normal physical and psychological function with basic therapeutic skills. More advanced rehabilitation concepts, common health conditions and therapeutic skills used in occupational therapy and physical therapy are taught in the second semester. Professionalism and communication skills are also emphasized and practiced when the student completes a two-week practicum.
In the third semester of the program, advanced therapeutic skills and complex health conditions are integrated in a second two-week practicum. In the fourth and final semester, professional practices are integrated in the 12 week practicum. The student returns to SAIT for the final two weeks of the semester for comprehensive practical examinations and to consolidate his/her experiences.
Students must be disciplined for learning through self-study, face-to-face at SAIT, and in a clinical setting and online. Practica experiences are unpaid and may occur outside the Calgary area.
Some courses will require an online component and will require students to have computer and Internet access and e-mail capabilities. All courses require additional self-study.
Graduates find work in a variety of settings including rehabilitation centres, mental health facilities, long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools and private physiotherapy and occupational therapy services in both urban and rural settings.
Students must be physically fit and able to lift a minimum weight of 50 pounds.
Previous work or volunteer experience in a health- or wellness-related field is an asset.
Students who experience success in this program:
- Have at least basic computer skills
- Possess effective communication skills in both written and spoken English
- Have higher secondary or post-secondary marks
- Are self-directed, highly motivated, detail oriented and well-organized
- Are professional and flexible
- Enjoy working in a team environment and in diverse settings
- Above all, enjoy relating to others
Credentials and Accreditation
After successfully completing this program, graduates will receive a SAIT Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant diploma with both the occupational therapist assistant (OTA) and the physical therapist assistant (PTA) discipline designations.
The Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant Program at SAIT Polytechnic has been accredited by the Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program (OTA & PTA EAP) in collaboration with Physiotherapy Education Accreditation Canada (PEAC) and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT). The status of Accreditation was granted to the program on April 30, 2016 for the period until April 30, 2022.
For more information please contact the Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program, c/o Physiotherapy Education Accreditation Canada, Suite 26, 509 Commissioners Road West, London, Ontario, N6J 1Y5, (226) 636-0632, www.otapta.ca.
Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.