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: Health Science programs have special program admission criteria which must be completed prior to applying for the clinical phase of the program. A student may be admitted to the college at any time in order to complete prerequisite and general education course work. All applicants are required to provide a valid copy of their CPR card issued by the American Heart Association.

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):
    • AHS 102
    • BIO 210
    • ENG 101
    • MAT 120
    • PSY 201
    • PSY 203
  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 40 hours of observations in at least three different occupational therapy settings.
  4. Good academic standing at the college.
  5. Students must complete and maintain a current CPR/Health Care Provider certification from the American Heart Association.

All health science programs at PTC have special program requirements, including a minimum age limit.  All applicants to these limited enrollment programs must be at least 18 by the date of program entry.

Students applying for the Occupational Therapy Assistant program will be enrolled in the Health Care Certificate until prerequisite and general education coursework is complete. Once the necessary requirements have been completed, students may apply for admission into the clinical phase of the program.

For more detailed information, please go to Health Science and Nursing 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 Dysfunction 3.0
OTA 164 Physical Dysfunctions 6.0
OTA 176 Pediatric Development and Dysfunctions 4.0
OTA 203 Kinesiology for Occupational Therapy 3.0
OTA 213 Group Dynamics and Process 2.0
OTA 245 Occupational Therapy Department Management 2.0
OTA 262 Clinical Applications I (Level II Fieldwork) 7.0
OTA 264 Clinical Applications I (Level II Fieldwork) 7.0
Subtotal   44.0
AHS 102 Medical Terminology 3.0
AHS 106 Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation 1.0
CPT 101 Introduction to Computers 3.0
Subtotal   7.0
Total Credit Hours 77.0

Updated 3/31/2017




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). 


The admission process is conducted after the application period ends in the fall semester. OTA admits students after the application period for classes beginning in the spring semester. Notification of a student’s outcome is sent by mail to inform the student of their admission status.

Application to the programmatic courses will receive one of the follow 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 either merit or priority date 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. 

The selection process is conducted by a committee of Health Science faculty. The initial process is determining the numeric scores for the applicant. Of the 24 students admitted of each spring cohort, 12 are selected based merit scores and the remaining according to the priority date. (The priority date is based upon the date the student declares OTA as their major; they will remain in a pre-OTA status until accepted into clinical phase of courses)  The score is generated from the program ready GPA and the earned grade from the required general education coursework.

In addition to these grades, 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 Science 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. 


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 c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA (2682) and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). 

Click to learn more about ACOTE Standards

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.

Advisement Information

Program notes

  • Students must submit a secondary application in September and be accepted into the program before they start clinical coursework for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree.

  • To become program-ready (ready to apply for the clinical phase of the program), students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in the following courses . . .

    • Medical Terminology (AHS 102)

    • Anatomy and Physiology II (BIO 211) 

    • English Composition I (ENG 101)

    • Probability and Statistics (MAT 120)

    • General Psychology (PSY 201)

    • Human Growth and Development (PSY 203) or Abnormal Psychology (PSY 212)

  • Students must also complete a minimum of 40 hours of observation in three different occupational therapy settings.  The observation form must be submitted directly from the facility by the OT/OTA supervisor.  Students are advised to provide a stamped envelope addressed to the college when they submit their observation form to their observation supervisor.  This requirement must be completed prior to program application.

  • Students must submit a copy of a current CPR card from the American Heart Association – BLS for Healthcare Providers directly to the OTA program prior to the secondary application closing date.

  • Students must also complete the following courses with a grade of C or higher before the first semester of OTA coursework.  If students complete all general education coursework prior to program application, grades of A’s and B’s in these classes earn points which can be used for a merit application.  However, these classes may be completed during the fall semester before the program starts in spring.

    • Anatomy and Physiology II (BIO 211)

    • Public Speaking (SPC 205)

    • Introduction to Computers (CPT 101)

    • A fine arts/humanities elective

  • Program-ready general education classes can be started any semester, and can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis from any campus.  After program entry, all classes are co-requisite, meaning they will be taken as offered, and students will progress through the six-semester program with the same set of classmates.

Notes about individual classes​

  • The English required for this program is ENG 101.  Students will follow this progression, with their starting point being determined by their placement test scores:  ENG 032/012 and/or RDG 032/012 (or RWR 032/012) > ENG 100 and/or RDG 100 (or RWR 100) > ENG 101.

  • The math required for this program is MAT 120.  Students will follow this progression, with their starting point being determined by their placement test scores:  MAT 032/012 > MAT 152 or MAT 101 > MAT 120.

  • CPT 101 is required.  CPT 101 will use Office 2016.  CPT 101 students must purchase an access code for My IT Lab, a learning management system.  The CPT 101 access code is good for six months.  RDG 100 or RWR 100 is a prerequisite for CPT 101.

  • Developmental and transitional classes, if needed, should be taken first.

Additional program notes

  • Once accepted into the OTA program, courses are offered in the day only at the Newberry Campus. Classes are scheduled in mornings and afternoons every semester so students should plan to be on campus 4 days a week until 3:00-4:00 p.m. Clinicals are scheduled during daytime hours and may be scheduled on weekends.   Locations may vary depending on clinical site availability. Clinicals start between 7:00 - 8:00 a.m. It is recommended that students limit work hours while they are taking OTA coursework.

  • Students in OTA coursework will only have one opportunity to repeat a failed or withdrawn semester.  Two failed or withdrawn semesters will make the student ineligible to complete the program.

  • Students must be able to attend all clinical experiences, which requires transportation to and from different clinical sites.  Students should have a backup system in place for daycare and transportation before the semester begins.

  • Enrollment into the OTA program is limited and requires a secondary application process.  Complete details on the secondary application process can be found here.

  • Twenty-four students are accepted to begin clinical courses each spring term. Up to half are chosen by the merit application, and the others are chosen by their priority date, which is either the date of application to Piedmont Technical College or, if a student’s initial major was not OTA, the date of the major change to OTA.

  • A minimum 2.0 GPA is required for progression once accepted into the Occupational Therapy Assistant program.  Students will only have one opportunity to repeat a failed or withdrawn semester.  Two failed or withdrawn semesters will make the student ineligible to continue in the program.

Notes about other requirements

  • Physical and Mental Standards: It is recommended that students explore their reaction to all kinds of body fluids, unpleasant odors, and dangerous/contagious diseases. Students must be in adequate physical and mental condition to participate and function within the program and clinical environment. Read the Physical and Mental Standards chart for more information.

  • Background Check and Drug Screening: Students are required to have an initial criminal background check and drug screening upon acceptance into the clinical phase of the program. This cost to the student is currently approximately $110.00, but is subject to change.  A positive report on either may prevent the student from being accepted by a clinical facility which will not allow the student to progress in the program or take the licensure exam. Additional drug screenings will occur throughout the clinical program as requested by the clinical facility. The cost of these screenings will also be the responsibility of the student.

  • Health Requirements and Immunizations: Students accepted into the program will be required to provide written documentation of health records. 

  • CPR and Hospital Orientation: All students will be required to have CPR certification by the program acceptance meeting and it may not expire prior to the end of the semester. Students that plan to seek certification outside of the college must have Healthcare Provider training through the American Heart Association. A copy of certification must be submitted to the department's Health Records Assistant. Annual Hospital Orientation is required.

  • Program Costs: In addition to tuition, fees, and books, other costs may include but are not limited to uniforms, lab supplies, malpractice insurance, review courses, licensure preparation, and graduation fees.

Additional Advising Guidelines from the OTA department for students accepted for OTA coursework

  • The Piedmont Technical College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program values the process of advising our students as a means of professional development with the goal of preparing the OTA students for a career in Occupational Therapy. The OTA program does recognize the high demands and expectations of the program, this is why our advising process is designed to assist the student towards academic success.

  • The program will assign every OTA student a faculty adviser who teaches OTA classes. The student will be notified of his or her advisor in letter attached to their Piedmont Technical College D2L account. The key role of the OTA advisor is to assist the student in meeting the major requirements of the program and to counsel the student regarding departmental policies, procedures, and operations. These duties may include scheduling and registering for classes, meeting Piedmont Technical College requirements for completion of their Associates degree, developing an alternate plan of study when necessary, directing the student in grievance or appeal procedures, and counseling the student about personal matters that are directly related to the academic demands of the program.

  • Specific OTA advisor responsibilities related to student performance may include, but not limited to the following:

    • Scheduling classes each semester

    • Maintenance of student records within the department, which includes demographic data, relevant communication, fieldwork evaluation forms, Professional Development Forms, and copies of any exceptions or letters regarding the academic plan of study.

    • Meeting with the OTA student quarterly to review academic progress towards the OTA major and graduation. Each student will sign the quarterly academic review as acknowledgment that he or she met with the OTA advisor and reviewed academic plan.

    • Providing regular communication regarding Health Science/ OTA departments’ policy and procedures.

  • The student has the right to decline a meeting that was requested by the Piedmont Technical College OTA advisor.  If the student chooses to decline a meeting, the student will have to sign a statement that he or she declined the stated meeting and state the reason.  The meeting declined statement will be placed in the student’s academic folder under the advising tab.

  • The student is ultimately responsible for his/her academic progress, and needs to understand clearly the requirements of the academic major. A student should consult with an OTA advisor, review the program requirements on the website or in the catalog and use the Degree Works tool in Pathway to ensure that all classes are appropriately selected.

Semester-by-semester graduation plan


  • You can find the name of your assigned academic advisor by reviewing Degree Works, your Class Schedule, or by visiting the Advising webpage.

  • Sara O’Dell May is the Program Director of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree.

  • You may also contact Quenithia White for more information about this program.

  • Please email advising@ptc.edu if this Advising Guide needs to be corrected or updated.

Advisement Information updated/reviewed 9/18/2017.