About OTA

About OTA

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Occupational Therapy?

A health career that helps people do the everyday life activities (occupations) they value. They may include:

  • Activities of Daily Living

  • Work

  • Education

  • Play/Leisure

  • Social Interaction

What type of person makes a good Occupational Therapy Assistant? 

  • Good student who knows how to study and is interested in a variety of subjects

  • Person who enjoys being with people of all ages

  • Person who is creative in their approach to solving problems

How long does it take to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant? 

Five (5) semesters of study are required at Penn State- four semesters in class and one in full-time Fieldwork

What classes will I take at Penn State?

Graduation from the OTA program at Penn State Shenango requires the successful completion of a minimum of 69 credits including the following: 

  • Psychology: general overview and personal development

  • Anatomy and Physiology

  • Human growth and development across the life span

  • English

  • General education requirements: math, art, humanities electives

  • OT specific courses: there are eight (8) core OT courses and Level I Fieldwork

  • Level II Fieldwork: 16 weeks of full-time supervised Fieldwork in two (2) different settings

What else do I need to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant? 

After graduation, you must pass the National Exam
Pennsylvania requires you to be licensed

Where might I work as an Occupational Therapy Assistant? 

The job market is excellent nationwide - sign on bonuses are being offered. Some employers are offering scholarships or paying back student loans.

OTAs work in all of the following settings:

  • Public and private schools

  • Hospitals

  • Rehabilitation centers

  • Nursing homes

  • Hand therapy clinics

  • Many other settings...

What might I do as an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

Let's consider people who are having trouble eating... 

  • Premature infant- OT might help determine the best way to position the baby

  • Pre-school child with Down's Syndrome- OT might help develop grasping skills

  • School aged child who uses a wheelchair- OT might check on their ability to go through the food line in the cafeteria and carry food to their table

  • Adult with arthritis- OT might provide silverware with build up handles for easier grasping

  • Older adult who had a stroke- OT might provide scoop dishes and one handed rocker knife

​What are the admissions requirements for the OTA program at Penn State Shenango?

There is no minimum grade point average that guarantees admission into the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. The candidates with the strongest academic records are admitted into the OTA program, so the mix of successful candidates changes from year to year depending on the number of candidates from each type of applicant group; first year, transfer, change of major and reenrollment. The minimum grade point average of successful candidates will also change from year to year depending on the strength of the pool of candidates’ academic records.

Currently, the Occupational Therapy Assistant program only admits students to begin in the program for the fall semester. 

What are tuition and fees at Penn State Shenango?

Current Penn State tuition rates can be found at Penn State's Tuition site

If you think this may be the career for you... 

Visit us on campus to talk about the program by calling 724-983-2803 to set up an appointment or call a local hospital or nursing home and see if you can job shadow with an OT or OTA.