Public 2-Year Schools

Raritan Valley Community College First NJ Community College to Offer Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

Beginning in January 2018, Raritan Valley Community College will be the first community college in New Jersey to offer an Associate of Applied Science Degree for an in-demand career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Occupational Therapy Assistants collaborate with Occupational Therapists to help people improve their functions so they can carry on daily life activities. They provide rehabilitative services to individuals with physical, emotional, mental or developmental impairments. From teaching a stroke victim to brush his teeth to helping a child in a wheelchair navigate a school hallway, Occupational Therapy Assistants help people of all ages handle daily tasks and regain their independence.

Occupational Therapy Assistants are in high demand. Employment of Occupational Therapy Assistants is projected to grow nationwide by 43 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increased demand is in response to the health needs of the aging baby-boom generation and a growing elderly population. Occupational Therapy Assistants are often employed in offices of health practitioners, hospitals, nursing care facilities and community care facilities for the elderly, home healthcare services, behavioral health programs, individual and family services, and government agencies.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Associate of Applied Science program is designed for students interested in entering the workforce immediately after graduation. It combines classroom instruction with clinical training in a community setting. The 67-credit program is designed to be completed in two years, with three semesters of full-time coursework and one semester of full-time, 40-hours-per-week fieldwork. Federal and state financial aid options are available for students enrolled in the program.

The program includes courses focusing on such topics as human anatomy and physiology, pediatric/adolescent occupational therapy, kinesiology, interpersonal communications, sociology, psychosocial occupational therapy, adult/geriatric physical rehabilitation, and OTA management and ethics.

In order to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, students must graduate from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and successfully pass an exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). The College has applied for accreditation and has received its Candidacy from ACOTE, so students can be admitted into RVCC’s program. After review of a major self-study of the program by ACOTE, the College expects to be offered accreditation in April 2020, prior to students’ graduation in May 2020. This will allow students to take the NBCOT exam in June 2020. Students beginning the program in January 2018 must be aware that they are entering a program that is not accredited at that time but should be accredited by the time they graduate, allowing them to take the NBCOT exam to qualify to apply for state licensure to practice as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).

RVCC Receives National Award for Diversity Initiatives

For the fourth time, Raritan Valley Community College has been honored with the 2017 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — RVCC will be featured, along with 79 other recipients, in the November issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. RVCC is the only New Jersey college to be honored this year.

The College also was honored with the HEED award for its diversity efforts in 2012, 2014 and 2015. In addition, Richeleen Dashield, Dean of Multicultural Affairs, received INSIGHT Into Diversity’s 2014 Diversity Visionary Award, and Dr. Patrice Gouveia Marks, RVCC’s Dean of Liberal Arts, Accreditation Liaison Officer, was honored with the 2017 Giving Back Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We take a holistic approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across their campus.”

RVCC’s College’s Office of Multicultural Affairs provides diversity programs annually to 5,000 students, faculty, staff and community members through the Heritage Series of lectures and cultural programs. These include the Kente Ceremony, Diversity Fair, MLK Community Partner breakfast, and Cultural Shock.

Some of the College’s many community outreach and co-curriculum programs related to diversity initiatives include:

• Paul Robeson Institute for Leadership, Ethics and Social Justice and its 26-year-old Paul Robeson Youth Achievement Award program, which celebrates African American middle and high school scholars.

• Malcolm Bernard Historically Black Colleges and Universities College and Transfer Fair, which serves 1,300 NJ high school students.

• CRECER program, which helps to prepare Latino high school students for transition to college and career readiness exploration.

• From Boys to Men Conference, a partnership with the New Brunswick (NJ) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., which empowers Black and Latino high school students to become lifelong learners and to increase civic engagement.

• Sanofi Corporate Mentor Program at RVCC, which helps first-generation and under-represented students to navigate the collegiate and professional worlds.

• Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, with its annual Learning Through Experience Program, which educates thousands of area middle school and high school students about the dangers of bigotry and hatred.

• Sister to Sister and Brothers Helping Brothers Network, which provides a supportive environment to improve academic success, student satisfaction, retention and graduation rates for students of color through a wide range of services.

The College also has a number of diverse student clubs and organizations including the Alliance, Association of Black Faculty and Staff, Black Student Alliance, Diversity Council, International Student Association, Orgullo Latino, Filipino PEACE, Muslim Student Association, United Caribbean Students, and Women’s Center.