The occupational therapy assistant (OTA) uses everyday life activities (occupations) therapeutically with individuals or groups for the purpose of enhancing participation. The OTA, under the supervision of and in collaboration with the occupational therapist, promotes enhanced participation in all areas of occupational performance: leisure activities, play, work, education, activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, rest and sleep, and social participation. Occupational therapy services are provided for habilitation, rehabilitation and promotion of health and wellness for clients with disability and non-disability related needs. The OTA collaborates with the occupational therapist on all aspects of the occupational therapy process: evaluation, intervention planning, interventions, outcomes and discharge planning. OTA students must demonstrate an understanding of OT theories and approaches, intervention methods and documentation skills for use throughout the OT process.
The OTA Program consists of a foundation of liberal arts and science courses (17 credit hours) followed by 42 credit hours of full-time didactic coursework including both classroom and laboratory experiences. The final semester of the program consists of 16 weeks of full-time integrated fieldwork experience (6 credit hours). Full-time students can complete the program in 6 semesters (including one summer). OTA Program graduates earn the use of the title Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) upon successful completion of the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) OTA examination. OTA graduates must also apply for state licensure in the state in which they plan to practice. Graduates of the OTA program are encouraged to continue their studies toward a baccalaureate degree, such as the Bachelor of Science in Health Services degree.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number is 301-652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org. Prospective students should be aware that a felony conviction may affect an OTA graduate’s eligibility for the NBCOT certification examination &/or state licensure. For information regarding NBCOT eligibility, contact NBCOT at (301) 990-7979 or online at www.nbcot.org.
Prospective students must complete admission to USI, followed by completion of the OTA Program application. Admission to USI and completion of the OTA Program application does not guarantee admission to the OTA Program. Enrollment in the OTA Program is limited and subject to a competitive selection process. Applicants must meet the minimum GPA for OTA prerequisite courses (2.9 on a 4.0 scale) and must complete all pre-requisite courses prior to starting OTA Program coursework. Prospective students who have completed a baccalaureate degree should contact the OTA Program for information regarding prerequisite requirements.