Occupational Therapy Assistant (A.A.S.)

Occupational therapy assistants work closely with occupational therapists to help people who are recuperating from brain trauma, surgery, disease, dementia, or who need rehabilitation to develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of occupational therapy assistants is expected to increase from 30,300 jobs in 2012 to 43,200 jobs in 2022. This 43 percent increase is a much faster growth rate than the average rate for other occupations. In 2012 the median annual wage of occupational therapy assistants was reported at $53,240.

This growing need for occupational therapy assistants can be attributed to a growing elderly population as well as continued treatment for young adults and children with developmental disabilities.

PTC’s program provides the training you’ll need to succeed in this challenging, rewarding field.

Admission: Acceptance into Piedmont Technical College’s OTA program is competitive and is limited to 24 students to begin fall semester. See the college calendar or website for application dates. To become eligible to apply for the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, applicants must complete the following:

  1. Complete the following courses (minimum “C” grade required):
    • BIO 210
    • BIO 211
    • ENG 101
    • MAT 120
    • PSY 201
  2. Minimum grade point average for the above coursework of 2.5. A GPA calculator can be found on the college website.
  3. Completion of 20 hours of observations in at least two different occupational therapy settings.
  4. Completion of TEAS test in reading and math.
  5. Good academic standing at the college.

Students are required to maintain a current American Heart Association “Basic Life Support” certification throughout the major studies courses.

For more detailed information, please go to Health Care Resources.

Required Courses

Courses   Credit Hours
BIO 210 Anatomy and Physiology I 4.0
BIO 211 Anatomy and Physiology II 4.0
ENG 101 English Composition I 3.0
MAT 120 Probability and Statistics 3.0
PSY 201 General Psychology 3.0
PSY 203 Human Growth and Development 3.0
SPC 205 Public Speaking 3.0
  Elective Humanities/Fine Arts 3.0
Subtotal   26.0
OTA 101 Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy 3.0
OTA 105 Therapeutic Analysis 3.0
OTA 142 OTA Clinical Introduction I (Level I Fieldwork) 1.0
OTA 144 OTA Clinical Introduction II (Level I Fieldwork) 1.0
OTA 155 Gerontology 2.0
OTA 162 Psychosocial Dysfunctions 3.0
OTA 164 Physical Dysfunction 6.0
OTA 176 Pediatric Development and Dysfunction 4.0
OTA 203 Kinesiology for Occupational Therapy 3.0
OTA 213 Group Process and Dynamics  2.0
OTA 245 Occupational Therapy Departmental Management 2.0
OTA 262 Clinical Application I (Level II Fieldwork) 7.0
OTA 264 Clinical Application I (Level II Fieldwork) 7.0
Subtotal   44.0
Subtotal   0.0
Total Credit Hours 70.0



Program Student Learning Outcomes

The student learning outcomes of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program are centered on six broad-based themes:

Fundamentals of Practice

  1. Adheres consistently to the American Occupational Therapy Association Code of  Ethics and site's policies and procedures.
  2. Adheres consistently to safety regulations.  Anticipates potentially hazardous situations and takes steps to prevent accidents.
  3. Uses sound judgment in regard to safety of self and others during fieldwork related activities.

Basic Tenets of Occupational Therapy

  1. Clearly communicates the values and beliefs of occupational therapy, highlighting the use of occupation to clients, families, significant others and service providers.
  2. Communicates the roles of the occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant to clients, families, significant others and service providers.
  3. Makes informed practice decisions based on published research and relevant informational resources.


  1. Under the supervision of and in cooperation with the occupational therapist and /or occupational therapy assistant, accurately gathers relevant information regarding a client's occupations of self care, productivity, leisure, and the factors that support and hinder occupational performance.
  2. Establishes service competency in assessment methods, including but not limited to interviews, observations, assessment tools, and chart reviews within the context of the service delivery setting.
  3. Assists with interpreting assessments in relation to the client's performance and goals in collaboration with the occupational therapist.
  4. Reports results accurately in a clear, concise manner that reflects the client's status and goals.
  5. Develops client-centered and occupation-based goals in collaboration with the occupation therapist.


  1. In collaboration with the occupational therapist, establishes methods, duration and frequency of interventions that are client-centered and occupational-based. Intervention plans reflect context of setting.
  2. Selects and sequences relevant interventions that promote the client's ability to engage in occupations. 
  3. Implements occupation-based interventions effectively in collaboration with clients, families, significant others, and service providers.
  4. Grades activities to motivate and challenge clients in order to facilitate process.
  5. Effectively interacts with clients to facilitate accomplishment of established goals.
  6. Monitors the client's status in order to update, change, or terminate the intervention plan in collaboration with the occupational therapist.


  1. Clearly and effectively communicates verbally and nonverbally with clients, families, significant others, colleagues, service providers, and the public.
  2. Produces clear and accurate documentation according to site requirements. All writing is legible, using proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Professional Behaviors

  1. Takes responsibility for attaining professional competence by seeking out learning opportunities and interactions with supervisor(s) and others.
  2. Responds constructively to feedback.
  3. Demonstrates consistent work behaviors including initiative, preparedness, dependability, and work site maintenance.
  4. Demonstrates effective time management.
  5. Demonstrates positive interpersonal skills including but not limited to cooperation, flexibility, tact, and empathy.
  6. Demonstrates respect for diversity factors of others including but not limited to socio-cultural, socio economic, spiritual, and lifestyle choices.

OTA Program Mission Statement

The mission of the OTA program parallels the mission of Piedmont Technical College.  High value is placed on the students’ educational journey to reach his or her highest potential, a deep commitment to the health and wellness of the community, technological advances, sustainability, and pursuit of life-long learning to advance the field of occupational therapy in education and in practice.

  1. Practice and promote excellence in teaching, learning, and educational service to insure that each OTA student has the opportunity to attain his or her highest potential.
  2. Offer quality OTA courses that fulfill the theoretical and clinical education for students to pass the NBCOT exam, and to become ethically-grounded professional clinicians able to serve the needs of their community.
  3. Develop fieldwork partnerships with hospitals, SNFs, sub-acute facilities, outpatient clinics, and schools with a comprehensive OT program and professionals who value safety, open communication, interdisciplinary approaches, and active mentorship for a positive and rewarding clinical experience.
  4. Faculty commitment to student advisement and program completion.
  5. Foster a cooperative and healthy environment facilitating awareness, understanding, and celebration of diversity.
  6. Teach sustainability through proper care and maintenance of equipment and supplies, and encourage a paperless environment when possible.
  7. Teach evidence-based theory and practice.
  8. Strive to model best practices in theory, practice, and technology advancements.
  9. Ensure public awareness and recognition of the value of OT through community relations, and state and federal political action.
  10. Provide a safe and accessible learning and working environment.
  11. Develop and support professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.
  12. Endorse the value of life-long learning through the students’ educational experience.

The OTA program curriculum incorporates six central threads or themes that will be taught at varying degrees within the OTA program course content.  The six central threads or themes are:

  • Occupational Engagement
  • Therapeutic Use of Self
  • Clinical Reasoning
  • Technology
  • Evidence- Based Practice
  • Life-Long Learning

The six curriculum threads are woven throughout the OTA curriculum. The specific course selection, sequence and content all make up a defined curriculum that is both progressive in the student’s knowledge base and proceeds to an increase complex level of the students overall knowledge, as they progress through the OTA program. In addition, the curriculum was developed with the consideration of Piedmont Technical College, OTA program mission/philosophy, curriculum threads and the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). 

Piedmont Technical College assumes primary responsibility for appointment of faculty, admission of students and curriculum planning at all locations where the program is offered. This would include course content, satisfactory completion of the educational program and granting of the degree. Piedmont Technical College also assumes responsibility for the coordination of classroom teaching and supervised fieldwork practice and for providing assurance that the practice activities assigned to students in a fieldwork setting are appropriate to the program (adapted from ACOTE Standard A.1.4). 


Application to the programmatic courses will receive one of the following outcomes; admitted, conditional admission, or ineligible:

“Admitted” status indicates all required courses and other special admission requirements have been satisfactorily met. This process determines that the application score has placed them in the top 24 applicants.

“Conditional admission” status indicates that a condition for admission has not been satisfied. Admission into the programmatic courses can only be effective after the condition is met. Not all cohorts of the programmatic courses will have conditional admission. Should the roster be filled by applicants satisfying all admission requirements, no conditional admissions will be required.

“Ineligible” status indicates that a condition for admission has not been met and as a result the applicant is ineligible for admission into the programmatic courses.  

A committee of Health Care faculty conducts the selection process. The process determines the numeric score for the applicant. The score is generated from the program ready GPA and the TEAS scores. Completed observation hours are also required.

In addition to these scores, select programs may have specific admission criteria that must be satisfied prior to a full acceptance to the programmatic courses. Program directors and the Dean of Health Care are not directly involved in the selection process of incoming students. This firewall between the admission process and the program director affords a neutrality of selection and provides objectivity to the process.


Status: Accreditation
(Next Visit: 2020/2021)

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 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA (2682) and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. Graduates of the program 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 graduate will be a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). In addition, all states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. 

Accreditation Status: Good standings
ACOTE 2018: OTA Standards
School Performance: Program performance data on the NBCOT certification examination

NBCOT Certification

Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the NBCOT examination to become a practicing occupational therapy assistant. The examination is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), located at 12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, MD 20877. NBCOT’s phone number is (301) 990-7979.

NBCOT eligibility: A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. For entering students with a concern in this area, NBCOT can be contacted directly for information related to the Early Determination and Character Review process for approval to take the NBCOT certification examination. You can see the NBCOT Pass Rate at https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx.

Program Outcomes

The OTA program documents the following program outcomes:

Outcome Data

Three year NBCOT examination pass rate at 80% or higher, regardless of the number of attempts.
Three year average job placement of not less than 75% within 12 months of graduation.
Program completion rates are evaluated annually by both the college and the program.