SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Technical Community College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program will offer part-time enrollment this fall for the first time, giving students more flexibility.

With the part-time track, they can finish the OTA program in three years instead of two. STCC’s accredited occupational therapy assistant program trains students to help clients recover, improve, and maintain their daily living and working skills. OTAs work in hospitals, clinics, rehab facilities, schools, and community centers.

“We are absolutely thrilled to offer a part-time track for the OTA Program,” said Kelli Goodkowsky, Assistant Dean for the School of Health and Patient Simulation. “To be able to offer students some flexibility in terms of program completion demonstrates the faculty’s dedication to meeting students where they are. This commitment extends through the student’s engagement in the program, and through the holistic approach faculty take to support students at every step.”

OTA department chair Cristy Wassung was in the first graduating class in 1996, says a part-time track will help meet community needs. “We don’t always have traditional students,” she said. “Many of our students are juggling work and family. A part-time track for many people is more reasonable and attainable. We developed a three-year track with our students in mind.”

The part-time program has the same course content as the two-year track, but it takes three years instead of two. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association approved the program to accept students in the fall of 2023. STCC started its full-time program in 1994.

SIMS Medical Center on campus has state-of-the-art equipment, including patient simulators. Students in the OTA program get to do field work and get hands-on experience. The OTA program at STCC also has a rehab clinic on campus. OTA assistant professor Laurie Cecchi said no other program offers an in-house rehab clinic.

“It gives our students a wonderful opportunity to treat clients,” Wassung said. “We service clients who have had some sort of illness or disability or injury. Some of the local hospitals will refer clients.”

Cecchi added that students say they enjoy the hands-on aspect of the program and receive individualized attention from faculty. Both Cecchi and Wassung say the part-time option gives students the flexibility to finish their degree.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says occupations for occupational therapy assistants will grow 25 percent from 2021-2031.

Both part-time and full-time OTA applications are being accepted for the fall. To learn more and to apply, click here. For questions, call STCC Admissions at (413) 755-3333.

Local News

Kayleigh Thomas is a digital reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kayleigh on Twitter @kayleighcthomas and view her bio to see more of her work.