The Associate in Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant major helps graduates prepare to be OTAs who are qualified to be employed by agencies that provide occupational therapy and related services.
The goal of occupational therapy is to enable the client to be as independent as possible in the daily performance of self-care, productive, and leisure occupations.
What to expect
Occupational therapy is a practice informed by physical, psychological, and occupational science. It is with these skills and knowledge that OTAs employ intervention plans that engage people in maintaining or reclaiming independence.
A physical or psychological challenge may hinder an individual, group, and/or community from participating fully in meaningful occupations. When this occurs, an occupational therapy assistant works with the client(s) to design a plan to live life to the fullest.
As an OTA, you will:
- Provide occupational therapy services under the direction of a occupational therapist
- Treat patients in an ethical, safe, and effective manner
- Learn how to use equipment to engage patients to maintain or reclaim independence
You might like this program if...
You want to work in a variety of practice settings with individuals and groups across the lifespan.
Physical, mental health, emotional, and other challenges prevent people from participating fully in the job of living. Occupational therapy makes it possible for people to regain independence and to enjoy life.
By choosing a career in occupational therapy, you will make a difference in lives of people and groups in your community.
Why Penn State Shenango?
Remember, all programs are not the same. Check out the Penn State difference! Penn State Associate in Science in occupational therapy graduates are eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) Certification exam. Successful completion of this exam certifies the occupational therapy assistant as a COTA®. State licensure is required by most states and is usually based on the results of the NBCOT® certification exam.
You may access the direct link for the NBCOT Accredited Occupational Therapy Education Program Performance Data on the NBCOT National Certification Exam website.
Program accreditation statement
The associate-degree-level 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.
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 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.
Please visit our OTA Accreditation page for full contact information for all three of these institutions and Penn State Shenango student and program outcomes.
What would prohibit a student from taking the certification exam?
If you have a felony conviction on your record, this may affect your ability to sit for the certification examination administered by NBCOT® after you graduate; this can subsequently affect your ability to attain state licensure. Before applying for the OTA program, you can contact NBCOT® for information on their early determination program to assess examination eligibility. Go to NBCOT and read the Early Review section for details.
Many US states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.