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Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Logo

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, a two-year Associate in Science degree program, is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

6116 Executive Blvd., Suite 200, North Bethesda, Maryland  20852-4929 .

telephone: (301) 652-6611. 

website: www.acoteonline.org


Occupational Therapy Assistant


The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program prepares graduates to function as members of the health care team. Working under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist, the OTA assists individuals of all age groups to acquire, improve or regain independent living skills. Program graduates will be responsible for assisting with evaluations and setting of treatment goals, implementation of treatment plans, evaluation of treatment effectiveness, maintenance of client records and assisting with service management. The OTA is able to work in a variety of practice areas including, but not limited to, pediatrics, physical disabilities, and mental health.

Graduates of the program will be eligible to take the national certification examination of the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of the exam, the individual will be a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). Most states also require licensure in order to practice, however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.


What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a health care profession that uses occupations as treatment to assist individuals of all ages and abilities to engage in activities that are meaningful to their lives and foster independence, equality, participation, security health and well being.  Occupational therapy can be beneficial to individuals across the lifespan who have developmental or physical disabilities, emotional or mental illness, or disabilities related to the aging process.  Occupational therapy practitioners are employed in a variety of work environments including hospitals, rehabilitation & developmental centers, schools, home health, and hospice agencies, community mental health facilities, assisted living and extended care facilities. 

What Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Do?

Certified occupational therapy assistants (COTA) are skilled health care providers who work under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist (OTR).  The COTA assists in the evaluation of a client’s physical, intellectual, perceptual and psychosocial skills and needs.  Other duties include evaluating the client’s ability to carry out the activities of daily living and designing a specific treatment program for the individual.  COTAs also instruct and supervise clients and their families in the use of occupations/activities to develop, prevent deterioration in or restore self-care, work and leisure performance capabilities.

Additional responsibilities include recording observations and the client’s progress toward meeting individual goals and reporting information to supervisors and other health team members.  COTAs also assist in ordering and maintaining supplies and equipment needed for the implementation of occupational therapy programs, as well as supervise students during fieldwork experiences.


Enrollment – Graduation – NBCOT Data

Graduation Rates

Graduation YearStudents EnteringStudents GraduatingAttritionGraduation Rate
20212418.2575%
2022199.53          45%
20232210.5545.4%
Total 3-year6537 55.1%   

OTA Graduation and Licensure Exam Pass Rates

Year# of Graduates that attempted the Exam within 18 months of graduationNew Grad TestingNew Grad Pass Rate
2021212095%
202299100%
2023 1010100% 
Total 3-year403998%

Program Acceptance-Attrition-Graduation Data

Year/Class of….202120222023
Number of Applicants786258
Number of Students Accepting Admission &   Enrolling242022
Number of Graduates180910
Retention Rate75%  45%            45.4%         
Attrition for the Class25%53% 55%

https://www.nbcot.org/Educators-Folder/SchoolPerformance


More Information

The OTA program application period for Fall 2024 runs from March 1, 2024-June 1, 2024.

Important changes in the application process beginning in 2024

Students applying to the OTA Program for Fall semester 2024 will have an Interview component, in addition to the current Academic requirements. A mandatory in-person Orientation for those accepted will be July 10 (Wednesday) from 8:30 – 3:30.

 

Selection Process

The following selection process will be used to determine admission into the Fall 2024 OTA program.

  • All applicants that meet the admission requirements will receive an interview.
  • Applicants will receive points on courses that have been completed or are in progress.
  • Applications will be scored based on the OTA Program Application Scoring Rubric
  • Applicants will be notified via the email address provided on the application regarding interview selection. Applicants that receive an interview will be assigned an interview time slot.
Category Criteria Max Points
Grade Point Average Grade Point Average (GPA) based on all classes taken at SCF and transferred undergraduate courses. (EX. GPA of 3.8 x 10 = 38 points)  

40

Pre-requisite course completion at the time of application submission. Courses must have a grade of “C” or better (A&P I, General Psychology, Written Communication, Area II Category A Mathematics) Coursework completed with an “A” receives 5 points, 3 points for a “B”, and 1 point for a “C”  

 

20

General education courses completed at the time of application submission (A&P II, Human Development, American Govt/US History, Humanities Area IVA) Course Completed: 5-points.

Course in -progress: 3 points

Course not taken: 0 points

 

 

20

Total Points: 80  

Interview Process

Students are selected for the interview based on GPA and coursework completed at the time of application submission. Only students who are selected for the interview will be considered for admission.  Applicants are evaluated on professional appearance and behaviors as it relates to the OTA profession, creativity, problem solving, maturity, role as a group member, relating to others, communication skills and responses to interviewer questions. Interview scores will be tabulated and added into the Composite Admission Score.

NOTE:  The Program Faculty reserves the right to request an additional personal interview with an applicant if the interview process does not provide the interviewers with sufficient information to rate the student. Applicants must earn a minimum of a “recommendation: through the interview process to be accepted into the program.

Scoring for the Interview:

  • Interview: 25 points
  • Writing Sample: 20 points
  • Total: 45 points

In addition to the interview, all applicants are required to prepare a writing sample on-site. Students will be given 15 minutes to complete their writing sample. 

COMPOSITE ADMISSION SCORE

The composite admission score is the total of the students score on the interview, writing sample, and OTA program application scoring rubric.

Scores will be ranked from highest to lowest and applicants with the top 24 scores will be selected for program admission.

The program will:

  1. Accept transfer credits for all general education courses required by the program pending review via the Registrar. Criteria for this review is outlined in the College Catalog.
  2. Only first-semester OTA coursework will be considered for transfer credits. This is limited to courses that meet the content for OTH lOOlC – Introduction to Occupational Therapy and OTH 1014C – Functional Anatomy and Kinesiology
  3. Courses taken more than 2 years from the student’s admission date into the OTA Program at SCF will not be considered for transfer to the program.
  4. The program director will review the syllabi for the courses to be considered for transfer:
    1. Students requesting the transfer credits for an OTA course must meet with the program director.
    2. Students must provide a copy of the curriculum from the program the student previously attended.
    3. Students must provide a copy of the syllabi for the courses being reviewed.
    4. The program director will review the content of the courses and make a determination of transfer.
    5. Prior to accepting the transfer credit the student will need to take the final exam from the SCF course to ensure that the student has the knowledge base from the transfer
  5. If it is determined that an OTA course will be transferred to the OTA program at SCF, the Program Director will notify the Registrar.

Upon notification of admission, students are required to complete the following prior to the start of the fall semester:

  1. A statement of satisfactory physical and mental health and a record of current serum titers verifying immunity from communicable diseases from a licensed physician or nurse practitioner.  This form will be provided at the program orientation scheduled after admission to the program.
  2. A criminal background screening. These forms will be provided at the program orientation.
  3. Mandatory attendance at the Occupational Therapy Program orientation.  Date to be announced in the acceptance letter.
  4. Successful completion of Basic Life Support for the Health Care Provider offered through the American Heart Association prior to the first fall semester after acceptance into the program.  This requirement can be completed through courses offered by the Corporate and Community Division at SCF.  Information regarding course dates, times, locations, and costs will be provided at the program orientation.
  5. All students accepted into the OTA program will submit to a drug screening as a condition for remaining in the program.  Random testing will be done at intervals throughout the program.
  6. Students may need to submit to additional background checks/drug screenings to meet the requirements of some fieldwork facilities.  Students may be responsible for the cost of these tests/screenings.

Failure to complete these requirements within the designated time frame will result in withdrawal/dismissal from the occupational therapy assistant program.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is a limited enrollment program.  Completion of all or part of the general education courses required in the degree does not guarantee acceptance into the program.  Priority will be given to applicants who have completed, at the time of admission, the most general education courses required in the degree.  If there are more qualified applicants than seats available in the program, GPA (grade point average) on the general education courses required by the program will be the determining criteria.

The admission policies for the college are found in the current catalog and apply to all students.

Progression Requirements

To progress in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, students MUST:

  1. Complete the requirements of the program in each semester as outlined below. General Education courses may be completed inor beforethe semester identified.
  2. A minimum grade of “C” is required in all Occupational Therapy Assistant courses.  Students who do not achieve a minimum grade of 70 in any course required by the programwill not be able to progress in the program.
  3. Maintain an overall and cumulative grade point average of 2.0 for all coursework applicable to meet degree requirements.
  4. No student will be allowed to enter or continue in any fieldwork experience unless:
    1.  A “C” or higher grade is maintained/achieved in each course including all prerequisite and co-requisite courses.
    2. All course and lab work is successfully completed according to class schedules in the course and co-requisite courses.
    3. Failure to maintain a 70% average in all co-requisite courses to fieldwork experiences will require the student to be immediately withdrawn from fieldwork experience.  If fieldwork time cannot be completed prior to the end of the semester, the student will also need to withdraw from all OTA courses, which are co-requisites to the clinic class.  See readmission policy.
  1. All OTA students are expected to demonstrate ethical and professional behaviors and attitudes at all times as defined by the Performance Standards for progression and graduation in the OTA program. Failure to do so will result in the student’s immediate termination from the clinical component of the curriculum.
  2. Adhere to program policies as stated in the Health Sciences Division/Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Handbook.

 

State College of Florida’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program requires twenty-one months to complete. In addition to classroom coursework, students will participate in Level I Fieldwork placements.

Upon completion of classroom coursework, the last semester will involve two eight-week Level II Fieldwork placements. To qualify for the Associate in Science (A.S.) degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant, a student must complete 74 credit hours as prescribed and attain a grade point average of 2.0. Occupational Therapy Assistants must earn an Associate Degree from an academic program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) to sit for the national certification exam for Occupational Therapist Assistants.

In addition, Florida regulates the practice of Occupational Therapy Assistants through state licensure. The OTA curriculum for the OTA Program at SCF is comprehensive and provides students with an academic and practical foundation that meets both the accreditation and industry standards and protocols.

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.

Students may be readmitted to the OTA Program ONLY ONE time. An application for readmission must be completed and submitted to the program director one full semester prior to the anticipated entry date. Readmission is on a space available basis and is not guaranteed.

A student may reenter the OTA program within two years of withdrawal to be considered for advanced placement in the program. OTA courses taken two or more years prior to readmission will have to be repeated. In cases of significant curriculum revision, courses taken less than two years prior to readmission may have to be repeated. Students who are readmitted may be retested in the basic skills up to the withdrawal point in the program to assure competency in didactic information and practical skills.

Students are advised that courses in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program are offered only once a year.  Therefore students must wait one year to re-attempt a course.

Applicants for readmission will be accepted on a space available basis and must meet the following admission criteria:

Health Certification:

  1. Must be completely redone if the student is out of the Program two or more long semesters (Fall and Spring). If 2 semesters or less, the student’s health form must be complete prior to acceptance for re-admission.
  2. A tuberculosis skin test must be done annually.  Chest films are good for five years.  Anyone with documented prior positive TB skin test (TST) will need to complete a Symptoms Assessment Form yearly.

CPR Certification:

  1. Certification is good for two calendar years. The student must maintain a current CPR certification while enrolled in the OTA Program.
  2. If the current certification expires prior to the anticipated graduation date, the student will be required to complete another CPR course while in the program.
  3. Failure to maintain a current CPR certification will result in immediate withdrawal from all fieldwork courses, and dismissal from the program.

Drug Screening:

  1. Must be redone prior to the start of classes of the semester to be readmitted and downloaded into Castle Branch.  The student will be provided with a timeframe to complete the drug screening.
  2. The student is responsible for the cost of the drug screen.  Students may also need to repeat the drug screen if required by the assigned fieldwork placement.

Criminal Background Checks:

  1. Background check must be completely redone if the student is out of the Program for two long semesters (Fall and Spring).
  2. Students will be responsible for the cost of the background check and drug screen which must be completed prior to the first day of class.  Specific dates for completion of the background check will be provided to the student at time of acceptance for re-admission to the program.

Readmitted students who return to the program will be held to the policies, procedures of the current college catalog and student handbook as well as the current curriculum that is in place for the semester in which they are returning.

Readmission after the first semester in the program:

Any student who previously was accepted and initiated taking courses in the OTA Program, but withdrew or did not successfully complete the courses in the first semester of the program, will not be eligible for advanced placement. This student will need to apply to the program during the January 1 – March 1 application window and will be considered for admission with the pool of “new” applicants for the fall semester.

Readmission with unsatisfactory grades:

Any student who leaves the program because of unsatisfactory grades, has the options to apply to reenter the program and repeat the unsatisfactorily completed course(s). Students who wish to exercise this option, MUST COMPLETE the readmission application and MUST make an appointment with the program director PRIOR  to the start of the semester before the anticipated re-entry date. The student and program director will develop an Educational Plan to focus on remediation of skills. This plan must be completed with specific criteria to demonstrate satisfactory remediation prior to the start of the semester the student is to take courses. The Educational Plan may include demonstration of skills, assignments, written exams and practical exams as well as expectations for professional behavior.  Failure to complete the Educational Plan based upon the established criteria for success will cause the student to forfeit the option of re-entering and continuing in the OTA Program.  Students who exercise this option are advised that courses in the Occupational Therapy Program are only offered once a year. Therefore, the student must wait one year to re-attempt courses. Students who successfully complete repeated courses will be allowed to continue in the program from the point in the curriculum where they originally exited. If a student fails to successfully complete a repeated course, they will be dismissed from the program and will no longer be eligible for re-admission.  The readmission options can only be used one time while enrolled in the program.

Licensure Advisement

If an applicant has been convicted, had any adjudication withheld, or has any criminal charges in the past other than a minor traffic violation, the applicant will need to get approval from the NBCOT and the Florida Department of Health – Board of Occupational Therapy Practice.  A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT Certification examination or attain state licensure..

A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to take the NBCOT certification exam or attain licensure. If a student has been convicted, had any adjudication withheld or has any criminal charges in the past other than a minor traffic violation, the applicant will need to get approval from the NBCOT and the Florida Department of Health – Board of Occupational Therapy Practice to take the certification exam and attain licensure. For more information regarding “Early Determination and Character Review” contact NBCOT regarding “Early Determination and Character Review” at www.nbcot.org or call 301-990-7979.

The State of Florida periodically changes the laws in relation to persons with criminal backgrounds being licensed in the state. Each licensing board periodically makes changes in the rules regarding the licensing of individuals with criminal backgrounds thus affecting those who may or may not be licensed in the State of Florida in that particular discipline. Applicants with criminal backgrounds may be accepted into and graduate from the program, but because of changes in the law or rules, may not be allowed to be licensed in the State of Florida once they have graduated