LBW closer to new program

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 8, 2017

Lurleen B. Wallace Community College is taking its next step to establish a new program for occupational therapy assistants.

In August 2016, the college was awarded a $2.25 million, five-year title III strengthening institutions grant from the United States Department of Education.

The grant began on Oct. 1, 2016, and each year of the five, the school will receive $450,000 for curriculum development and funding for training, equipment and supplies, as well as professional development.

Currently, college officials are looking to hire the program director to help get the program up and running and to get approval for accreditation.

The program is expected to begin fall semester 2019.

Renee LeMaire, director of marketing for the college, said it is up to the accrediting agency to approve the program.

“We need to get a program director in place,” she said. “He or she will be responsible for creating the curriculum to accreditation standards.”

The school has to apply for candidacy.

LeMaire said the program will be held on the Greenville campus.

“The Greenville Campus already has some of the accommodations for programs,” she said. “It also gives us some more options for clinical sites.”

LeMaire said that the hospitals they are currently using for ultrasound and nursing have been great, they just want to expand their options for the new program.

“A lot of people get occupational therapy and physical therapy confused,” she said. “Occupational therapy helps patients get back to daily living, button buttons, cook.”

LeMaire said there will be lab-like setting with a kitchen setting to help patient hone their fine motor skills, a hospital bed and a pediatric section.

LeMaire said that those who are interested in the program can go ahead and take their prerequisites.

Students who wish to apply for the program must take English 101, general psychology, intermediate algebra, anatomy and physiology I and II, human growth and development and intro to humanities.

“Those can be taken on any of our campuses,” she said. “Plans are to accept 20 students into the first class. We are hoping it grows.”

Those who complete the program, which should take two years, will earn an associate of applied science degree.

Mary Ann Hudson, Title III activity director for LBWCC said the degree requires five semesters of course work – two prerequisite semester and three program semsters.

The accrediting agency is the American Occupational Therapy Association Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.

LeMaire said there is a high demand for occupational therapy assistants.

The median pay for an occupational therapy assistant is around $54,520 a year. The range is between $49,750 and $60,678.