Program Information

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 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.


  1. + National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)

    Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at

    YearBoard Pass Rate
    (18/19 passed the exam)

    3-year aggregate 90%

    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.

  2. + Graduation Rates

    3-Year Reporting: Program Graduates

    The total number of graduates from the Occupational Therapy Assistant program during the three-year period from 2019-2021 was 57, with an overall graduation rate of 79.1%.

    Admission YearGraduation Year# of Admissions# of GraduatesGraduation Rate


    *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 is failed. The student is then added to the next cohort which increases the overall student enrollment.

  3. + Current Updates

    Update 10/04/2022:

    General Education Requirement Change
    Effective with the Occupational Therapy Assistant Class Starting in January 2023

    On March 30, 2022, the State Board of Education approved revisions to Rule 6A-10.02413, Florida Administrative Code, Civic Literacy Competency. The amendment adds the civic literacy competency requirement as a condition of graduation for Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science (A.S./A.A.S.) degree programs.

    With the rule amendment, all degree-seeking students will have to meet the civic literacy competency requirement, consistent with the new general education core requirements from House Bill 1507, which passed during the 2021 legislative session. Once effective, students entering A.S./A.A.S. degree programs in 2022-23 and thereafter will be required to demonstrate postsecondary civic literacy competency prior to graduation.

    Based on this legislation, effective with the Occupational Therapy Assistant Class starting in January 2023, students will be required to take POS-2041 “American National Government” to fulfill the new civic literacy competency requirement.

    This course replaces the previously required HSC1531 Medical Terminology which no longer is a requirement for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. Therefore, prospective students who have previously completed HSC1531 Medical Terminology will now need to successfully pass POS-2041 to meet the new State civic literacy competency and the revised OTA Program requirements.

    Previous updates:

    • HSC2554 Basic Principles of Disease and BSC2086C are encouraged to be taken prior to admission.
    • Effective for cohort start January 2023, 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.
  4. + Program Cost

    Background Fee$80
    Book Fees$700
    Drug Screen Fee$80
    Lab Fees$120
    Physical / Medical Requirements$250
    Tuition Fee$8304.28
    Uniform Fee$225
    HIV Certification$10
    NBCOT Exam$515
    License Application Fee$180


    *Please note that these fees are subject to change.

  5. + Class Size

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

  6. + Program Hours

    OTA courses are typically offered from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, typically two to four days per week.  Please note that schedules vary by term and faculty availability.

  7. + Prerequisites

    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.

    Students are strongly encouraged to take BSC2086C prior to beginning the program.

  8. + 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.

  9. + 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.

    US Bureau of Labor Statistics (click here)

  10. + 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 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 or call 301.990.7979.

  11. + 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 a graduate’s ability to attain state licensure.