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.

Program Description

The OTA Program is a 70 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.

Program Sequence

The OTA program is a 70 credit-hour program. Additional information on program progression and graduation requirements available by clicking on this link: Academic Standards-2016

First Year

Prerequisites: These courses must be completed prior to beginning the professional core (OTA) courses.

ENC 1101 English Composition I
BSC 2085C Anatomy & Physiology
PSY 2012 General Psychology

Spring Semester

OTH 1001C Introduction to OT/Lab 5
OTH 2300C Psychosocial OT/Lab 3
OTH 1520C Pediatric OT/Lab 5
Humanities Any approved for general education 3

Summer Semester

OTH 1800 Level I Fieldwork 2
BSC 2086C Human Anatomy & Physiology II 5

Fall Semester

OTH 2420C Physical Dysfunction/Lab 5
OTH 1014C Functional Anatomy & Kinesiology/Lab I 4
HSC 2554 Principles of Human Diseases 3
Math Mathematics (one course) (*AS degree students)


Second Year

Spring Semester

OTH 2131C Activity Analysis/Lab 4
OTH 2125C Therapeutic Modalities/Lab 3
OTH 1019C Functional Anatomy & Kinesiology/Lab I 4

Summer Semester

*OTH 2841 Level II Psychosocial Fieldwork 6
*OTH 2840 Level II Physical Dysfunction Fieldwork 6
*All academic courses must be completed successfully before attempting Level II clinical fieldworks. Note: All OTA students are required to complete Level II Fieldwork within 18 months, following completion of academic preparation.

Program Cost

Approximately $9,800 in tuition, books, lab fees, uniforms, medical exams/tests, national certification exam fee, and licensure fees.

Class Size

Twenty-four (24) applicants are admitted each year to begin course work in the spring semester.


Eleven (11) credits need to be completed before starting course work in the OTA Program. CPR and AIDS certifications need to be completed before Level I Fieldwork in summer.

Core Courses

Core courses consist of 59 credit hours, 14 of which are in clinical fieldwork.

Program Hours

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).

Working Sites

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.

Potential Salary

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.

Certification Examination

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 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 character.review@nbcot.org or call 301.990.7979.

Florida Licensure

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 graduate’s ability to attain state licensure.

(Revised 11/17/15)