Programme Aim

The Occupational Therapy Assistant is a full-time programme offered in North Connaught College of Further Education, Tubbercurry, Sligo. The overall aim of this programme is to enable the learner to acquire the knowledge, skills, and competence to work independently and in a supportive role as an Occupational Therapy Assistant within a variety of Health settings.

This course helps students to develop their interpersonal, caring and practice skills which they can apply to a varied range of client groups in a variety of settings. Whilst at the same time understanding the importance of maintaining a client’s independence, dignity, respect, self-esteem and choice.

Students will learn a range of practical skills within the classroom in a simulated healthcare environment using equipment from an occupational therapy setting. This helps to prepare the student to work with the service user/clients on work-placement.

Students will gain practical experience in the areas of:

• Assist in the implementation of therapeutic programmes
• Personal care routines
• Working as part of a Occupational Therapy team

Other areas of study include:

• Infection Prevention & Control
• Communications
• Anatomy & Physiology

Work experience is also a core feature of the Occupational Therapy Assistant programme with students spending time in a occupational therapy setting, enhancing employability.

Students will also have an opportunity to take the following courses:

• Patient moving and manual handling
• Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
• First Aid

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Programme Progression

This course prepares students for employment in a wide variety of occupational therapy services such as Hospitals, Community Care services and Residential settings. It also prepares you for a variety of healthcare settings including Nursing Homes, Hospitals, Community Care services, Residential Settings for people with physical and intellectual disabilities, Day Care Centres and Homecare Agencies.

Following on from Occupational Therapy Assistant Level 5 there is direct progression onto Level 6 Health Supervisory Management in North Connaught College of Further Education. This course prepares you to work in a supervisory role in a range of healthcare services.

Students are also in a position to access third level degree courses in Health Science with Occupational Therapy Studies (ATU Letterkenny), mature entry to Occupational Therapy degree in Trinity College, Cork and Galway Universities, entry to Occupational Therapy degree in many UK Universities (e.g. Canterbury, Glasgow, Derry (Magee)). Opportunities within Rehabilitation and Athletic Therapy, Physiology & Health Science and Sport & Exercise Science.

Entry Requirements

Education: The learner who has either successfully completed a programme leading to a level 4 QQI Certificate OR can demonstrate the levels of knowledge, skill and competence associated with NFQ level 4 will be eligible to apply for entry to this programme.

Aptitude: Applicants must have a motivation to learn, an interest in the subject and the ability to acquire the knowledge, skills and competencies set out in the course.

Course Content

Title                                                                          Award                                          Award Body

Occupational Therapy Assistant Practice        (5N3765)                                         QQI

Occupational Therapy Assistant Theory          (5N3766)                                         QQI

Care Skills                                                        (5N2770)                                         QQI

Care Support                                                    (5N0758)                                         QQI

Care of the Older Person                                  (5N2706)                                         QQI

Human Growth and Development                   (5N1279)                                         QQI

Infection prevention and Control                     (5N3734)                                         QQI

Anatomy & Physiology                                     (5N0749)                                         QQI

Nursing Theory and Practice                             (5N4325)                                         QQI

Communications                                                (5N0690)                                         QQI

Work Experience                                               (5N1356)                                         QQI

*Modules may be subject to change.

Further Details

Below is a list of each of the modules with a detailed description.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Practice

This programme module aims to explore with the learner all aspects of the role of the Occupational Therapist so that they can develop suitable skills for the position as Assistant and fulfil the requirements for this professional position. Learners will learn how to work with clients to develop and implement occupational therapy goals, as well as how to use evidence-based practice to improve client outcomes.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Theory

This module provides learners with an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of an occupational therapy assistant and the knowledge necessary to assist the Occupational Therapist in the implementation of therapeutic programmes. Opportunity to practice therapeutic handling in a range of occupational therapy processes.

Care Skills

The Care Skills module involves developing knowledge and skills to meet the differing individual needs of resident/patient using practical skills. While at the same time maintaining the person’s autonomy/independence, dignity and privacy. All of these practical skills are taught in the college in a fully equipped simulated healthcare environment. The skills will then be practiced by the student during work-experience placement in a healthcare setting.

Care Support

Care support explores the roles and responsibility of a healthcare worker, as part of a team multidisciplinary team. There is an emphasis on understanding the needs of the resident/patient and how to provide enhanced quality of care. This module is about exploring personal planning and growth as a student HCA through reflection in a caring profession.

Care of the Older Person

In Care of the Older Person, you will develop the skills necessary to meet the needs of older people in a variety of care contexts; for feeding and showering a dependent service resident/patient. This involves learning the role and responsibilities of a healthcare assistant and the importance of effective verbal and no verbal communication. All of these skills are essential to meeting the communication, physical, social, emotional and personal needs of an older person.

Human Growth & Development

It aims to introduce learners to human development and behaviour from infancy to old age. It is designed to enable learners to work in a variety of community/social care settings where frequent demand is made on the individual to relate to people with various levels of ability and care needs.

Infection Prevention and Control

This module is an essential part of maintaining a safe and hygienic environment for patients, staff and visitors in care settings. This module will help you to recognise the following; the various types of infection, how to prevent infections and control outbreaks. Students will learn a range of practical skills required in IPC such as decontamination, terminal cleaning and management of spillages.

Anatomy & Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology provides an opportunity for the learner to investigate the structure and function of each of our body systems independently. Learners are then challenged to explore the human body as a whole and appreciate the interrelationships between body systems.

Nursing Theory & Practice

Nursing Theory and Practice introduces learners to the theories supporting holistic and professional practice. It provides an opportunity to develop caring skills and attitudes necessary for the performance of a range of essential skills. Learners will develop the relevant practical skills to include the recording of temperature, respiration, pulse, blood pressure and fluid balance. The focus of the learning will be the provision of individualised holistic care.


This is one of the most important modules, whether in the workplace or in a college environment. It is essential to be able to transfer knowledge in a clear, and concise way and to be aware of the different types of communication (verbal and non-verbal). The module covers both written and practical aspects of communication and gives learners practice and confidence for making presentations, for example, taking a pulse or blood pressure.

Work Experience

Students will undertake work placement in a suitable healthcare setting. Work-experience classes prepare the student to apply for work placement and future work by learning skills, producing a cover letter, CV and interview techniques. Students will also gain an understanding of their own skills and qualities, as well as how to document their learning during placement.