Occupational Therapy Assistant

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Program Description

Practitioners of occupational therapy are an integral part of the interdisciplinary medical team. They work closely with physical therapists, speech therapists, and other medical professionals and through their holistic approach, they bring a very unique perspective to client care. Occupational therapists (OTs) work with people across the lifespan by enabling people of all ages to live life to its fullest and work with the client to promote health, safety, and independence. Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings and focus on adapting the environment and/or the task to fit the client’s individual goals and needs.

The field of occupational therapy is very diverse and OTs are employed in many medical and community-based settings. One OT might work with children with disabilities in a school setting addressing gross and fine motor skills that enable to child to be more successful in the academic setting, while another might work in an outpatient clinic helping survivors of stroke to regain important life skills, such as learning to dress one-handed or regaining the skills necessary to return to driving. Still another OT might work in an acute hospital working with people recovering from more acute injuries and illness.

The College of Western Idaho is excited to offer an Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Students who embark on this rigorous two-year program will earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and will be challenged to think critically and use and apply the best evidence to academic and professional endeavors. At the conclusion of the program, students will be eligible to sit for the national certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant program requires a separate application and completion of the following prerequisite courses:

Course Course Title Min Credits
Option 1:5
Human Anatomy and Physiology I Plus
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
Human Anatomy and Physiology I Lab
Option 2:4
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
Human Anatomy and Physiology I Lab
BIOL 228Human Anatomy and Physiology II3
BIOL 228LHuman Anatomy and Physiology II Lab1
COMM 101Fundamentals of Oral Communication3
ENGL 101Writing and Rhetoric I3
HLTH 101Medical Terminology3
PSYC 101Introduction to Psychology3

Statement of Accreditation Status

The associate-degree level occupational therapy assistant program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org. The program must have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates 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, all 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.

Note: Registrations for Occupational Therapy Assistant courses are restricted to students who have been accepted into the program.

Degrees and Certificates