Occupational Therapy Assistant (Associate's)

Occupational Therapy Assistant (Associate's)

Learning, playing, working and caring for our families are among the "occupations of life." We take them for granted, but sometimes—due to physical, emotional or other challenges—the job of living is difficult for some people who can't fully participate in everyday tasks or live independently.

Occupational therapy assistants (OTA) work under the direction of occupational therapists in treating patients with injuries, illnesses or disabilities. They help these patients develop, recover and improve the skills needed for daily life and work. For example, an OTA might work with injured workers to help them get back into the work force by teaching them how to work around lost motor skills. An OTA might work with people with learning disabilities to teach them skills that let them be more independent.

The Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant prepares the student for positions in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and schools. Many OTAs work in the offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists.

Employment of occupational therapy assistants is expected to increase 43 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.1

What do OTAs do?2 Here's a brief summary:

  • Help patients perform therapeutic activities, such as specific stretches and other physical exercises;
  • Work with children who have developmental disabilities, leading them in play activities that promote coordination and motor skills;
  • Teach patients how to use special equipment that improve their daily life skills;
  • Record patients progress, report to occupational therapists and perform other administrative tasks.

In addition to classroom experience, this program will also include a 16-week internship of full-time, on-the-job application of skills.

If you are looking for a challenging career and have a desire to learn, achieve, and give your best to society, a career as an occupational therapy assistant may be for you.

1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, April 6, 2012
2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, April 6, 2012


The occupational therapy assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Your success in Occupational Therapy Assistant (Associate's) starts at the following locations:

NOTE: Program details subject to change. See the official campus catalog and appropriate addenda for the latest information.
Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas are required by Georgia, South Carolina and Oklahoma to be listed as Certificates (C).
Associate of Science degrees (AS) are required by SC, TN & VA to be listed as Associated of Applied Science degrees (AAS).
Associate of Applied Science degrees (AAS) are required by LA & VA to be listed as Associate in Occupational Studies degrees (AOS).
Bachelor of Science degrees (BS) are required by TN to be listed as Bachelor of Applied Science degrees (BAS).


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Consumer Information

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