How to Apply

    • The application window is September 1 through September 30 each year for general admission candidates. Google’s Chrome web browser is recommended.
    • All applicants (including Linkage and Veteran seat seekers) must complete and submit an entire OTA application during the application window timeframe.
    • Please see in the below drop-down menus dates and information for veterans of the U.S. Military who may qualify to apply for reserved ‘Veteran’ seats or for students from either Hillsborough Community College or Pasco-Hernando state college who may qualify to apply for reserved ‘Linkage’ seats.
  1. + Veterans Click Here

    Out of respect and gratitude to veterans of the U.S. Military, the OTA Program reserves two (2) seats each year for veterans.

  2. + Linkage Students Click Here

    Please follow the timeline of application submission provided by your advisors at Hillsborough Community College or Pasco-Hernando State College.

      • Please note that the Linkage Transmittal Form, students’ transcripts, observation hours form(s), and resumes must be received by the Linkage Administrator at Polk State College by August 15 of the application year.

If the deadline for these seats has already passed, it is in your best interest to apply when the general application window opens on September 1 at 9 a.m. with a completed application for an optimal chance of acceptance into this limited-access program.

    • Students should contact their Student Success Advisor to ensure the necessary forms are completed, submitted, and received.

Students who wish to be considered for admission to the OTA Program must complete the following minimum admission requirements:

Step 1: Be admitted to Polk State College – Students who have never attended Polk State College must apply to be admitted to the College before applying to the OTA Program. This includes completing the College online orientation, submitting transcripts to the registrar’s office, and obtaining a Polk State College student email account.

        1. Students should follow the admission steps to Polk State College here.
        2. Transcripts and admission documentation must be submitted and processed by Polk State College’s registrar’s office before applying to the program. Please note: This process will take 6 to 8 weeks. Transcripts should be received at least 6 weeks prior to the application deadline. Students should follow the registrar’s information here.

Step 2: GPA Requirement – Students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or greater on a 4.0 scale in the required prerequisite courses. Note: GPA only includes courses that are completed, graded, and that appear on the student’s college transcripts at the time of application.

Step 3: Required prerequisite courses – The following course must be completed with a grade of “C” or better within the last 5 years of applying to the program.

          1. ENC 1101 – College Composition I
          2. BSC2085C – Human Anatomy and Physiology I
          3. PSY 2012 – General Psychology

Provisional acceptance: if the prerequisite courses are not completed with a ‘C’ or better, the student will not be accepted.

          • Prerequisites to the program and courses that can be taken prior to admission can change. Students not yet admitted may be required to take additional or alternate prerequisites prior to admission to the program.  
          • It is required that students complete BSC 2085CHuman Anatomy and Physiology I within 5 years of applying to the program.  
          • It is highly recommended, but not required, for students to complete PSY 2012 – General Psychology & ENC 1101-College Composition I within five (5) years of the application date.
              • If a student has successfully completed a higher-level course that either PSY 2012 – General Psychology &/or ENC 1101-College Composition I are a prerequisite for, the committee will review for consideration of meeting the requirement

Step 4: College prep courses – Students must complete any required college prep courses.

Step 5: Observation hours – Click below for details.

  1. + Observation Hours

    Prospective students must have verification of at least 20 observation hours in any type of occupational therapy setting or verification of employment hours in the field (observation hours must not be more than three [3] years old at the time of application to the OTA Program).

    • Please see the Observation Hours Form for more details. Please note that some facilities may require students to meet certain criteria before allowing students to observe in the facility.
    • If you work in an occupational therapy department, you may verify employment/observation in the occupational therapy field by completing the observation hours form and including the name, title, email address, and telephone number of your direct supervisor. Please notify your supervisor that you are applying to the OTA Program and that they will be contacted to verify employment and experience.  Please note that incorrect contact information will result in an incomplete application and therefore disqualify the student’s application to the OTA Program.  The OTA Program is not responsible for contacting the applicant if the contact information is incorrect.
    • Observation Hours Expectations and Rules for Observations
      1. Call the site and set up an appointment to meet the Occupational Therapy Manager or designated contact person to ensure the feasibility of observation at that facility. Explain that you are seeking admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Polk State College.
      2. Communicate with the Occupational Therapy Manager or designated contact person to determine what your duties will be and the site’s expectations of you in preparation for and during your observation time.
      3. You will need to comply with all the facility’s policies and procedures including rules and regulations concerning dress code, behavior, and confidentiality. Students should plan to dress in khaki or black pants and a collared shirt with closed-toe shoes unless instructed otherwise by the site (do not wear shorts, T-shirts, flip flops, Croc-type shoes, running or yoga pants, etc.).
      4. Some hospitals and facilities may require students to meet certain criteria before allowing them to complete observation hours in their facilities.
      5. Arrive at the scheduled time as planned by your supervisor or contact person. Also, make sure to notify your supervisor 24 hours in advance if there is a need to cancel or reschedule your observation appointment.
      6. Avoid eating, drinking, or chewing gum during your observation session (except in approved areas). Also, avoid strong odors such as perfumes and tobacco.
      7. Always remain attentive and professional. Thank the staff for their time and for allowing you to observe their work and the facilities.

Step 6: Resume – Include your current resume. If needed, use this Resume Template to assist with developing a resume, which is to be submitted along with other application documents.

Step 7: Statement of Readiness – Before completing the Statement of Readiness document, review the Essential Requirements. Please ensure you are committed to two years of full-time study before applying to the OTA Program.

Step 8:  Online application through Etrieve – Submit a completed application to the OTA Program through Etrieve. The OTA Program’s online application will be available during the noted specified dates through a link on the program’s Online Application page.

        1. Application documents must be submitted through Etrieve. It is important to create Etrieve access prior to the application window opening.
        2. Click here to apply through Etrieve.
        3. All applicants (including Linkage and Veteran seat seekers) must complete the OTA application. Please follow the timeline of application submission provided by your advisors at HCC, PHSC, and the Veteran Program.
        4. Decisions will be sent to the email address you applied with after the admissions committee meets the second week of October. Please remember to check your junk/spam folder.
  1. + Selection Process



    1. A total of two seats are allocated to prospective candidates from Pasco-Hernando State College and Hillsborough Community College applying via the Linkage Program. Prospective linkage applicants may find detailed instructions in the Linkage Handbook available from the academic advisors at their respective colleges.
    2. The application window for linkage candidates opens at 9 a.m. on September 1 and closes on September 15. Selected candidates are notified via electronic mail by mid-October.
    3. Linkage applicants may submit the electronic application only after meeting with an academic advisor at their respective Colleges to initiate the Linkage Transmittal Form. The Linkage Transmittal Form must be submitted to the linkage administrator at Polk State College by August 15. Applicants neglecting to follow this process will not be considered for admission, and applications will not be acknowledged.
    4. No application is considered until all necessary Polk State College admission documentation (application to Polk State College, high school transcripts, college transcripts if applicable, residency paperwork, etc.) has been received and processed by the registrar’s office.
    5. Preference will be given to the student with a higher GPA if more than one qualified applicant from the same institution applies for the same seat.
    6. Unused linkage slots will revert to general admission students.


    1. Two seats are allocated on a first-come, first-qualified basis to prospective qualified veterans enrolled at Polk State College. Students must meet with the Coordinator of Veteran Services to determine eligibility before initiating the following process:
    2. After establishing veteran eligibility, students need to meet with an academic advisor to determine if the admission criteria for the program are met.
    3. Academic advisors will forward qualified applications and related documents (transmittal form, observation hours form, resume, transcripts) directly to the OTA Program Director from July 15 to August 15.
    4. If more than two qualified applicants apply for the seats, preference will be given to the students with the higher GPAs. In the event of applicants having the same GPA, seats will be assigned to the student(s) who applied first (based on the date and time posted on the application form).
    5. The two selected veteran applicants will be notified via email shortly after August 15.
    6. Between September 1 and September 15, the two selected veteran applicants must complete the online application for the OTA Program, which is available on the program webpage.
    7. Veteran students who were not selected will have the opportunity to apply again through the general admission process from September 1 through September 30.
    8. Unassigned seats will revert to general admission students.


    1. The remaining seats are allocated to general admission, qualified students.
    2. Ten additional applicants are designated as alternates.
    3. The application window for general admission opens at 9 a.m. on September 1 and is open through September 30.
      • The OTA Selection Committee utilizes a point system as a guide in the selection of qualified students for the OTA Program.   
      • Areas evaluated by the committee include college GPA, prerequisite GPA, Polk County residency, related experiences in the field, and corequisite and General Education courses completed.   

      Note: The Program Manager can provide information regarding this system. 

    4. No application is considered until all necessary Polk State College admission documentation (application to Polk State College, high school transcripts, college transcripts if applicable, residency paperwork, etc.) has been received and processed by the registrar’s office.
    5. Selected candidates and alternates for general admission are notified via email mid-October.
    6. All students admitted into the OTA program must attend the required New Student Orientation Day in November.  The date and time of the orientation day will be indicated in the acceptance Polk State College email.