Now, fast forward from the playground to my role and responsibilities with OTAC, one of which is to participate in and help guide continuing education offerings to the members and the profession, as well as to do the promotion. With so many options for the OT profession to earn continuing education, I sometimes feel like I am back on the playground trying to jump the highest and shout the loudest so that you will pick OTAC continuing education options.
Why should you pick OTAC first for your continuing education options? When you pick OTAC, you get a team on your side that you can hold in trust. Here’s why:
- Governance. OTAC is an association governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of occupational therapy professionals who are elected by their peers. These volunteers earn no remuneration for their service. They serve out of passion for the sustainability, progression, and integrity of the profession. They are the highest authority of the association and take their roles seriously; committees report to them.
- Mission. OTAC’s governing body works to support OTAC’s mission – OTAC is the collective voice that serves, promotes, and supports the profession of occupational therapy and its practitioners.
- Core Value. OTAC’s core value number 5 – Professional Development to provide quality education and resources to advance the knowledge, skills, and continued competence of occupational therapy practitioners.
- Committee. OTAC has a standing committee, Professional Development and Leadership, that serves to provide support for continuing education for OTs and OTAs by assessing, identifying, and monitoring the profession’s needs for continuing education.
- OTAC U. The Professional Development and Leadership Committee brands its continuing education under OTAC U … inspiring your learning journey. They uphold that continuing education is not just about the mandatory units needed every two years. But that the profession should embrace the learning journey for a lifetime of exemplary service to its clients so that they may optimize their life experience. It also provides periodic presenting and instructing tools and tips for its presenters. The most recent was about the unique needs of teaching adults. OTAC highly values its continuing education presenters and works hard to ensure they are appreciated. We hope that you appreciate them as well.
- Peer Reviewed Courses. OTAC conducts a call for proposals for the Annual Conference and Spring Symposium to the entire profession in California and beyond. Submitted proposals are peer reviewed, preferably by up to three professionals with expertise in the appropriate area of practice. Courses must meet a minimum score to be considered with some borderline courses receiving mentoring for improvement. ALL presenters of selected courses receive the reviewers’ feedback for improvement.
- Evaluation. OTAC asks for evaluations on ALL of its sessions. These evaluations are tallied and along with the comments are shared with the presenters and the Professional Development and Leadership Committee.
- Topic/Presenter Recruitment and Selection. OTAC selects courses and presenters from the call for proposals submitted; feedback, requests, and recommendations received from the profession throughout the year; and the evaluations from Conference and Spring Symposium. The feedback on the evaluations is summarized and shared with the OTAC Board of Directors, committee chairs, Professional Development and Leadership Committee, and the Practice, Ethics, and Reimbursement Committee. Recommendations are gathered from these groups of OTAC leaders who have pledged to serve you.
- Supporting a Breadth of Interests. You might notice that some of our sessions may only have a handful of attendees. OTAC doesn’t just select sessions that are of highest demand, would draw the largest group. They work to ensure that as many different interests are served within the confines of our resources at our events, and sometimes that means a few sessions with a handful of attendees.
- Association Management Support. OTAC’s executive director (that’s me) has more than 20 years’ experience working with the professional development component of associations and is thus well versed in successful programming and implementation.
- Nonprofit. OTAC is a nonprofit organization that operates under California corporate law. Being a nonprofit doesn’t mean that we can’t make a profit. It means that that profit must inure to the benefit of the greater good of those we serve – the occupational therapy profession.
While I will continue to jump up and down and shout ‘pick me’ (OTAC continuing education), the next time you are considering a course, consider where you will most likely get the greatest value and highest quality in an environment dedicated to serve and support you.
I look forward to seeing you on the ‘playground’ at OTAC’s Annual Conference, Spring Symposium, and other events.