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Other OT-Related Information Older Hopeful Student: Confused and Questioning!

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NikkiPixel

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Hi, all!


I'm 40 and never graduated college. When I was 17-20 I dabbled and half arsed some community college. Didn't get many credits and had a terrible gpa.


I'm without skills, without a degree and just now coming to the realization that I'm not a kid and don't "have plenty of time" to decide what I want to be when I grow up! I'm in debt and living paycheck to paycheck and this will obviously not be sustainable as I age.

I have been searching for a career that I can get an Associate's in, being as that is a respectable degree and should take around 2 years. I also wanted something that I might enjoy and that will make me enough money to feel a little secure.

Something in the medical field looks like the best option.

OTA seems to be the way to go, after thinking of and dismissing things like PTA or cardiac, sonogram, MRI tech etc.

  • Since I'm broke, do you think I could fit a part time job in with school?
  • Are there any grants or aid (I don't qualify for financial aid) or student loans I can get? I don't even know where to begin with this stuff. I mean, if you had links to any resources that helped you figure it out I would be so grateful.
  • Do you have a estimate of how much school cost you? I see costs ranging from around $8,000-$27,000 so it's scary!
I'm sure most of you who are OTAs will say you love it but I still am curious if you believe it would be a nice career for someone who'd 40 and just starting out?

Is it crazy hard to get into a school? Especially for someone who hasn't *been* to school in forever and has a G.E.D.? I can see by reading I will have to do some prereqs at my local community college before I try to apply to the accredited schools in Florida, where I live (only 2 that seems viable, one in Jacksonville and 1 in Winter Haven) and it looks like I'll also have to shadow someone and do volunteer work? How will I get all that info? Will the schools I try to apply to tell me?
Sorry for all the questions! :(

I don't love dealing with germy sick people but I have a feeling there is a lot of variation with OTAs placement options and that might be ok.

Any advice for a lost old lady? Thank you!!
 

_OThopeful_

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Hi! I think it's so great you're looking into becoming an OTA! I'm not personally an OTA but I've shadowed some and they really enjoy their jobs and definitely have a huge impact on their patients. My advice to you would be to shadow, either OTs or OTAs, to gauge whether or not it's something you'd really enjoy doing. Schools won't typically help you set up shadowing experiences, so you'll have to call around local hospitals, schools, SNFs, etc and ask if you'd be able to shadow in their rehab department. If you decide you like what they do, I'd definitely encourage you to pursue the degree/career! You should be able to apply for financial aid at the schools, and even if you have to take out loans, if you decide you enjoy the profession, I really think the cost will be worth it as you will not only have a job you love but a steady means of paying off debt. But definitely shop around for the most reasonably priced programs.

I'm sorry I wasn't able to answer all of your questions but I wish you luck on this journey! If you want it and work hard enough I'm sure you can get there!
 

jdak226

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Hi, all!


I'm 40 and never graduated college. When I was 17-20 I dabbled and half arsed some community college. Didn't get many credits and had a terrible gpa.


I'm without skills, without a degree and just now coming to the realization that I'm not a kid and don't "have plenty of time" to decide what I want to be when I grow up! I'm in debt and living paycheck to paycheck and this will obviously not be sustainable as I age.

I have been searching for a career that I can get an Associate's in, being as that is a respectable degree and should take around 2 years. I also wanted something that I might enjoy and that will make me enough money to feel a little secure.

Something in the medical field looks like the best option.

OTA seems to be the way to go, after thinking of and dismissing things like PTA or cardiac, sonogram, MRI tech etc.

  • Since I'm broke, do you think I could fit a part time job in with school?
  • Are there any grants or aid (I don't qualify for financial aid) or student loans I can get? I don't even know where to begin with this stuff. I mean, if you had links to any resources that helped you figure it out I would be so grateful.
  • Do you have a estimate of how much school cost you? I see costs ranging from around $8,000-$27,000 so it's scary!
I'm sure most of you who are OTAs will say you love it but I still am curious if you believe it would be a nice career for someone who'd 40 and just starting out?

Is it crazy hard to get into a school? Especially for someone who hasn't *been* to school in forever and has a G.E.D.? I can see by reading I will have to do some prereqs at my local community college before I try to apply to the accredited schools in Florida, where I live (only 2 that seems viable, one in Jacksonville and 1 in Winter Haven) and it looks like I'll also have to shadow someone and do volunteer work? How will I get all that info? Will the schools I try to apply to tell me?
Sorry for all the questions! :(

I don't love dealing with germy sick people but I have a feeling there is a lot of variation with OTAs placement options and that might be ok.

Any advice for a lost old lady? Thank you!!

I think it's great that you are thinking about this! I agree with the previous comment: definitely get in some shadowing in at least 2-3 different types of settings to make sure this is something you like. Again, I'd really try to observe in more than one setting because OT varies quite a bit with each population/setting.

If you decide it's something you like, try to find a program in-state at a community college--those can be quite affordable. Give the schools a call and see if you can talk with someone about your situation. Usually, there is someone you can talk to who can help talk you through the steps you would need to take to get into the program. If possible, call and see if you can set up an in-person meeting with someone in admissions.

I met a wonderful OTA on one of my level I fieldwork experiences who went back to school at age 50 for a career change. She had been practicing as an OTA for about 5 years and loved it--she said that it was completely worth going back to school. It's definitely not too late!
 

NikkiPixel

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Wow, thank you so much! Reading your responses has cheered me immensely and I'm a little less wildly terrified of what is to come, haha.
I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to just call the school and ask for help (didn't want to be a bother or seem incredibly uninformed!) but knowing that I can do that helps a lot. Definitely doing that this week.

I appreciate your help, thank you again!
 

MusicalOT14

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Hi, all!


I'm 40 and never graduated college. When I was 17-20 I dabbled and half arsed some community college. Didn't get many credits and had a terrible gpa.


I'm without skills, without a degree and just now coming to the realization that I'm not a kid and don't "have plenty of time" to decide what I want to be when I grow up! I'm in debt and living paycheck to paycheck and this will obviously not be sustainable as I age.

I have been searching for a career that I can get an Associate's in, being as that is a respectable degree and should take around 2 years. I also wanted something that I might enjoy and that will make me enough money to feel a little secure.

Something in the medical field looks like the best option.

OTA seems to be the way to go, after thinking of and dismissing things like PTA or cardiac, sonogram, MRI tech etc.

  • Since I'm broke, do you think I could fit a part time job in with school?
  • Are there any grants or aid (I don't qualify for financial aid) or student loans I can get? I don't even know where to begin with this stuff. I mean, if you had links to any resources that helped you figure it out I would be so grateful.
  • Do you have a estimate of how much school cost you? I see costs ranging from around $8,000-$27,000 so it's scary!
I'm sure most of you who are OTAs will say you love it but I still am curious if you believe it would be a nice career for someone who'd 40 and just starting out?

Is it crazy hard to get into a school? Especially for someone who hasn't *been* to school in forever and has a G.E.D.? I can see by reading I will have to do some prereqs at my local community college before I try to apply to the accredited schools in Florida, where I live (only 2 that seems viable, one in Jacksonville and 1 in Winter Haven) and it looks like I'll also have to shadow someone and do volunteer work? How will I get all that info? Will the schools I try to apply to tell me?
Sorry for all the questions! :(

I don't love dealing with germy sick people but I have a feeling there is a lot of variation with OTAs placement options and that might be ok.

Any advice for a lost old lady? Thank you!!
It is great that you are looking into OTA as an option! It is never too late to try something new and OTA schooling does not have to be too expensive and has a pretty decent starting salary depending on location. I would say do your research, both on the internet and calling around to schools to see what they offer. I would also suggest looking into shadowing either an OT or an OTA. I truly believe that shadowing is where you learn the most about the field. Make sure this is something that you enjoy and want to do before you invest any more time and money into it. Most of the time(at least for OT school) you have to have your shadow hours before applying, you can find places to shadow via the internet or by word of mouth, if you are unsure check at your local hospital, skilled nursing facilities or schools.
My biggest piece of advice is to follow your heart, don't do anything just for the money. Do it because it is something that you enjoy, in the long run, finding something that you enjoy is worth so much more than a larger pay check. A lot of the population you may encounter are sick, lets face it if they were feeling 100% they wouldn't need our help. So it is slightly concerning that you refer to them as "germy sick people", that is not how I would want the person I am depending on to help me gain my independence back to view me and in many cases you are getting up close and personal with these individuals to help them with tasks and exercises. From what I have experience of the world of healthcare, it is not a glamorous job. You have patients that make you remember why you do what you do, but then you have patients that do not want your help and can make your day miserable. So please take the time to learn about the field and all of its intricacies, do not go into a field for financial reasons, do it because you enjoy helping others or because it is a job you believe you will enjoy. I do not mean any disrespect, but I have worked with people who are only in it for the $$ and have seen the effect it can have when it comes to the patient care. So please make sure to get a good feel for the field and what OTA's do in different settings and if becoming an OTA is what you want to do I urge you to follow your dreams and I have no doubt you can make it happen! It may not be an easy road, but you can do this! If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask, welcome to the OT/ OTA community and I wish you all the best! :)
 
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