What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?
The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) works under the supervision of an occupational therapist. The OTA teaches individuals with emotional, developmental, and/or physical disabilities new methods or techniques to perform daily activities, and adapts the environment, and/or tasks to maximize independent functioning. “Occupation” (purposeful activity) is used as a means of preventing, reducing, and/or overcoming physical, social, and emotional disabilities in people of all ages.
The OTA Program is a 74 credit-hour AS degree program, which trains and qualifies graduates to work in the occupational therapy field.
The OTA Program supports cross-cultural diversification within the program and profession and advocates equal opportunity for all students regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, disability, age, veteran status, or marital status.
Click below for the OTA program map.
The OTA program is a 74 credit-hour program. Additional information on program progression and graduation requirements available by clicking on this link: Academic Standards-2016
See a link to our current catalog and course information here
If suspended from the college or dismissed from another program, the student will be eligible to re-apply to the OTA program after three (3) years from the initial date of suspension or dismissal.
- HSC2554 Basic Principles of Disease and BSC2086C are encouraged to be taken prior to admission.
- HSC1531 Medical Terminology is a newly added course to the OTA curriculum, please take this at any time during the program as it is a graduation requirement for the AS degree.
- Effective for cohort start January 2020, all applicants must have a 2.5 pre-requisite GPA which applies to those applying in September of 2019.
- To update you on the curriculum credit increase from 70 to 74 (effective for the starting class of 2019) as mandated by the Department of Education, the program will include Medical Terminology as a course (3 credits) which may be taken online or in person at your choosing, but must be completed prior to graduation.
An additional credit for a capstone component will be added to OTH1520C, Pediatrics.
- Although BSC2086C is not a formal pre-requisite, we strongly recommend this course be taken prior to beginning the program.
(Again, at this time this is a recommendation, not a requirement.)
- If unable to take it before the program, it must be taken in Summer A of the year you begin the program prior to Fieldwork Level I.
- Please alert the Program Director once you begin the program if you will be taking this course while in the program so we may work with your summer fieldwork schedule.
- Once admitted to the program you will need to bring your physical and immunization requirements on your first day of class, this is not a pre-admission requirement.
- Background check and drug test will be an admission requirement to be met by the first day of class in January of the year you are accepted, random drug screens may be also conducted throughout the program.
- Membership to the OTA club is open to all enrolled Polk State students under affiliate membership.
Background Fee $80 Book Fees $700 Drug Screen Fee $80 Fingerprints $54 Lab Fees $120 Physical / Medical Requirements $250 Tuition Fee $8304.28 Uniform Fee $225 CPR $55 HIV Certification $10 NBCOT Exam $515 License Application Fee $180
Twenty-four (24) applicants are admitted each year to begin coursework in the spring semester.
OTA courses are offered from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., typically two (2) to three (3) days a week (Mondays and Wednesdays, or Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays — depending on the term).
Eleven (11) credits need to be completed before starting coursework in the OTA Program. CPR and AIDS certifications need to be completed before Level I Fieldwork in summer.
Typical work sites for the OTA are found in rehabilitation units/centers, general hospitals, outpatient clinics, school system, private clinics, nursing homes, psychiatric units, mental health agencies, forensic facilities, developmental disabilities agencies, pediatric agencies, and education, etc.
The OTA position may be salaried or hourly, usually 40 hours a week. In Polk County, a COTA may earn an average of $22/hour if employed full time with benefits.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics (click here)
Following completion of academic and clinical work, graduates of the program will be able to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, administered by the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), 800 S. Frederick Ave., Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150, Phone: 301.990.7979. The computer-delivered examination is offered on-demand, yearlong. After successful completion of this exam, the graduate will be credentialed as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification exam.
If You Have a Felony in Your Background
See information on Good Moral Character Review or email email@example.com or call 301.990.7979.
Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Graduates need to apply for Florida licensure upon successful completion of the Certification Exam. Graduates are responsible for requesting information from the state licensing agency and completing requirements for licensure.
A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to attain state licensure.
Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx.
Year Board Pass Rate 2018 100% 2017 100% 2016 94%
Graduate’s Eligibility for Certification and Credentialing
If a student has concerns regarding eligibility for certification and credentialing, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the OT state board and/or NBCOT in a timely manner.
3 Year Reporting: Program Graduates
*It should be noted that students who begin in an original cohort and take a leave of absence or need to repeat a course, a one year time passes due to the schedule of course offerings and if a pre-requisite course if failed. The student is then added to the next cohort which increases the overall student enrollment.