I have recently re-entered practice after leaving the field for 10 years. In addition, I have changed my area of practice, from Pediatrics to Geriatrics. I last worked with the elderly over 25 years ago, in my first job as a new grad. I allowed myself a year to prepare for my return to practice, and was so happy to have found out about a Refresher Course of Occupational Therapists at the University of Minnesota. http://www.cahp.umn.edu/newsevents/ot_refresh/
I attended last summer. It is a 10 day intensive course designed for therapists who are looking to return to practice or change their area of practice. It was a key component in jump-starting my reentry. I encourage any OTs or OTAs who are at this point in their career to look into this excellent program. I enjoyed it so much I wish I could go back again this summer. Best of luck to you all!
--Catherine Haines, OTR/L
The University of Minnesota is still planning to add a hybrid or online version of it's face-to-face refresher course. The face-to-face refresher is held in the summer at the U in Minneapolis. Information about the face-to-face should be posted on the U website when ready for 2012. When the hybrid or refresher is ready, we will be advertising as well! Thank you for the great interest! Leann Shore, OTD(c), MA, OTR/L
I am a returning OT looking for a refresher course and an on-line option would be wonderful
I have been out of the field of Occupational Therapy for longer than the 10 years that you were out...my specialty was also pediatrics.As I am looking to re-enter OT I am also considering switching my emphasis to geriatrics ...was it a difficult transition? Congratulations to you!
In some ways, it has been a difficult transition, as there have been many changes in the field during the years of my absence. I had a lot of catching up to do. That said, it has also been a joyous journey of affirmation to reconnect with my first career and to see how the profession had evolved. Just a few examples: occupational science, occupational justice, evidence-based practice, all new to me. Joining AOTA and my state association (NYSOTA) were among my first activities. I also looked for ways to volunteer, and sought out colleagues in my community.
Also- we recently hired some pediatric /school therapists "on-call" for acute care / IPR work and we shared our AOTA presidents advice for mentoring students with each other so that we remember to mentor them as they make this difficult transition and they were very appreciative.
AOTA President Florence Clark's Blog: How Do We Best Mentor Our Students? Lessons Learned
Hello! I too, was away from practicing as a COTA/L for many years, and now work full time outside of therapy. I am attempting to re-enter, reading newer manuals, volunteering and finding other ways to fill up my 36 PDU requirements. Any suggestions would be welcomed! I am having a very hard time deciding which "specialty area" to focus on. I worked for 5 years in long term care, and I do enjoy that, but would maybe be interested in entering another area. I would be open to anything; I don't want to limit myself, but I have a tough time deciding what courses to take.
I wish I could offer advice but I am in the same situation as you and would love to hear from others! I agree..it is difficult to know what courses to take...where to put your time and your money...when you are not sure what area to concentrate on. I worked in peds for years but am thinking of switching to geriatrics...what state are you in?
Lori, just to be sure I understand, are you an OTA? If so, the program you need is at St. Catherine's University in Minneapolis. It is the only one I know of for OTAs. It is hybrid so part of the course is online and then there are 2 days in Minneapolis. This is a highly reputable institution.
Unfortunately, the next opportunity is April. If you are returning after a long period out of the profession, I would recommend taking the whole course. The financial commitment will return itself in what you can earn in the profession now. OTAs are in high demand and now making nearly the wage of OTRs. The positions however vary heavily by geographic area.
The course in at the University of Minnesota is for OTRs returning to practice. It is currently face to face but an online version is being written. This course has been teaching OTs for dozens of years. http://cahp.umn.edu/2012-ot-refresher-course
Again, if you are a therapist who has been out of the field for over 5 years, I recommend taking the full course. OT is listed as the 18th fastest growing profession. It is still one of the best fields to work with high paying jobs. Again, positions vary by geographic area... The more dynamic your training, the more likely you are to get a position if you are in a tighter market.
These are just some early thoughts, many options can be managed.
Hi Cahterine, I am planning on returning to OT after a 10+ year leave to raise my children. I just recently saw the refresher course in Minneapolis (program full at this time) -- it actually starts in 2 days so I don't think I would have been ready anyway. Do you know if this is the only refresher course OT offers at this point? Any info would be helpful. Hope your return was successful.
Donna D. Clifford, OTR/L
After working for 5 years after college and then being home for my family for 11 years, I took this course in 1992. Frankly I'd thought I would never practice OT again, but the course was great - it affirmed what I knew and exposed me to current trends in the profession. Now I've worked in the same setting, school-based practice, for 20 years and am considering a change to geriatrics. I was delighted to see that the Minnesota program is still going, and will certainly look into it as a way of making this move. I will welcome any additional suggestions for sources of training/education, on-line or in the midwest.
Denise O'Toole, OTR/L
The program in Occupational Therapy at the U of MN offers a refresher course for therapists looking to re-enter or switch practice areas. We will offer a week long face-to-face course this July and will be offering two online refresher courses in late summer as well. One course on school-based OT and the other on medical-based pediatrics. Please feel to visit our web-page to learn more:
Continuing Education Chair