ARE YOU READY FOR A JOB AS
AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT (OTA)?
Associate in Applied Science (AAS)
Leader in the field: Established in 1983, STLCC’s program is the oldest in the metro area.
STLCC grads have an excellent pass rate when sitting for the board exams.*
Build a satisfying career: Use a holistic approach to help clients lead independent lives.
- The STLCC Advantage
Fully accredited: STLCC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).*
Licensure: Graduates of the STLCC program 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). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Most states require licensure in order to practice, and state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.
Through academic and practical experience you’ll master the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in this field, including:
- the structure and function of the human body
- occupational therapy principles and technique
- health and disease
- 16 weeks of full-time clinical experience under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist or a certified occupational therapy assistant
- Development of key skills: interviewing, assessing, treatment planning and implementation
- Emphasis on developing critical thinking skills through the use of case studies as well as the development of professional behaviors
Small class size: Teacher/student ratio is 1:24 and lab is 1:12.
Faculty: STLCC is a longtime leader in the OTA field, and you’ll learn from seasoned professionals — our instructors work in the industry and bring that experience to the classroom.
As an OTA you’ll help people whose lives have been interrupted by injury or disease, as well as those who are developmentally delayed or have problems associated with aging. You’ll learn to consider the big picture and use educational, leisure, vocational and rehabilitation activities to help your clients function at the highest possible level.
We admit up to 24 students every fall. Admission to the OTA program is on a first-come, first-served basis for those students who meet the minimum academic and other requirements.
More than one million students have attended STLCC. It’s the largest institute of higher education in the region, and the second largest in Missouri.
To find out if STLCC is right for you, we invite you to visit. You can meet with one of our faculty members, tour the campus, and get answers to any questions you might have. CLICK HERE
- Career Opportunities
- Mental Health Programs
- Extended Care Facilities
- Rehabilitation Centers
- Out-Patient Facilities
- Private Practice
Organizations that have hired recent STLCC grads:RehabCare MercySelect Rehabilitation
SSM Health CareSpecial School District of St. Louis County
Please note: There are specific requirements for employment in this field. For example, a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the certification examination, obtain licensure, or become employed. We invite you to meet with an STLCC advisor or faculty member for one-on-one help in planning your pathway to this rewarding career.
- For information on the job outlook, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics and search specific job titles. Also available: information on median pay, entry-level education, number of jobs and more.
- To learn about the top openings in specific cities across Missouri visit the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.
- For specific real-time information on wages and job prospects in the STLCC region, visit STLCC Career Coach.
- Estimated Expenses
STLCC provides a top quality education at a much more affordable cost than other institutions.
- St. Louis Community College provides a comprehensive financial aid program funded by federal, state and private agencies. READ MORE
- STLCC provides a Net Price Calculator to help students estimate costs. READ MORE
- For information on STLCC Scholarships READ MORE.
- Additional Expenses: For this program you’ll need to purchase health insurance, and specific clothing may be required in fieldwork settings. Hospitals and facilities may mandate that a criminal background check and/or drug screening check (at the student’s expense) be conducted prior to placement. Students not passing these checks may be prohibited from participating in the field experience, thus rendering the student ineligible to satisfactorily meet the program requirements. For more information on these expenses contact the program coordinator.
- FAFSA Apply online
- Program Curriculum
Occupational Therapy Assistant (AAS) 67 Credits
Program total 67 credits I. Career General Education 29 credits ENG:100 Career English (or) ENG:101 College Composition I 3 COM:101 Oral Communication I 3 PSY:200 General Psychology 3 PSY:205 Human Growth and Development 3 SOC:201 Aspects of Aging 3 XXX:xxx Missouri State Requirement 3 BIO:207 Anatomy and Physiology I 4 BIO:208 Anatomy and Physiology II 4 BIO:209 Kinesiology 3 II. Physical Education Activity 2 credits III. Area of Concentration 36 credits OTA:101 Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy Assistant I 3 OTA:102 Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy Assistant II 4 OTA:103 Adaptive Activities I 2 OTA:104 Adaptive Activities II 2 OTA:203 Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy Assistant III 4 OTA:204 Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy Assistant IV 4 OTA:207 Health and Disease 4 OTA:208 Adaptive Living Skills 2 OTA:213 OTA Practicum I 4 OTA:214 OTA Practicum II 4 OTA:215 Management of Occupational Therapy 2 OTA:216 Level II Fieldwork Seminar 1 Note: All OTA students must complete Level II Fieldwork within 18 months following completion of academic coursework.
Prerequisites: The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is a selective admission, college-level program. Students must have successfully completed specific requirements prior to application, including:
- high school or college cumulative grade point average of 2.5
- minimum placement test scores or successful completion of specific courses
- successful completion of “Intro to Biology” or Biology 111 within the last five years
- completion of eight hours of observation with an OT or OTA, and submission of the OTA observation form
All OTA students must complete Level II fieldwork within 18 months following completion of academic coursework.
Please Note: Credits earned in STLCC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant AAS program generally do not transfer to occupational therapy master’s degree programs. The curriculum for an OTA degree is distinctly different from the curriculum for an OT degree. OTA focuses on technical skills and knowledge, while the OT degree emphasizes theory, research, and management. In addition, the OT degree is an entry-level master’s degree. In most cases, a student would need to complete a bachelor’s degree before beginning an OT degree program.
Also: STLCC’s OTA program requires students to obtain fieldwork experience as part of their coursework. Hospitals and facilities may mandate that a criminal background check and/or drug screening check (at the student’s expense) be conducted prior to placement in the field setting. Students not passing these checks may be prohibited from participating in the fieldwork experience, thus rendering the student ineligible to satisfactorily meet the program requirements.
We invite you to meet with an STLCC advisor for one-on-one help in planning your career pathway in this growing industry. CLICK HERE
- Additional Information
STLCC’s OTA Advisory Committee brings together top industry professionals. Advisory Board members serve for two-year terms, and the STLCC faculty works hand-in-hand with this elite group to evaluate and update our curriculum, stay up-to-date on the latest innovations, and promote networking.
What does an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) do?
Under the supervision of occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants work closely with clients, their families, and other members of the health care team. OTAs help their clients reach the highest functional level possible, lead balanced lives of work and leisure, and increase their self-reliance.
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational Therapy is a health profession concerned with promoting the quality of life of individuals as they participate in everyday activities. OTAs consider the entire person, and occupational therapy may be indicated for persons whose lives have been interrupted by injury or disease, or those who are developmentally delayed or who have problems associated with aging. Occupational therapy serves a wide variety of individuals of all ages.
What is the difference between an occupational therapy assistant and an occupational therapist?
An Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) is the graduate of a certificate or associate degree program. OTAs work under the supervision of Occupational Therapists (OTs), who hold master’s degrees. The OT supervises the OTA when delivering direct patient occupational therapy services, including the development and implementation of treatment plans.
An Occupational Therapist (OT) is the graduate of a college or university with a minimum of a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. An Occupational Therapist is responsible for the overall treatment of the client from initial evaluation to the discontinuation of services. The OT may also be responsible for management, education, and research activities.
How many hours per week are required for fieldwork?
Students enrolled in the OTA program complete fieldwork each semester. In the first three semesters of the program, students complete Level I fieldwork in addition to regularly scheduled class time. During the fourth semester of the program, students complete Level II fieldwork. Level II fieldwork is a full-time, 40 hour-per-week placement, and the student adheres to the established schedule at the fieldwork site.
Where do students complete their fieldwork?
Students complete their clinical work in a variety of places in and around the metropolitan St. Louis area, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, out-patient facilities, long term care facilities, community-based services, and private practice.
The STLCC OTA program develops these clinical sites and is responsible for assigning each student. The student is not responsible for establishing his/her own clinical placements.
Do I have to take a test when I'm finished? What is the pass rate on the National Certification Examination for an STLCC OTA graduate?
At the completion of the academic program and Level II fieldwork, students will earn an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. In order to become a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA), students must pass the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).
STLCC OTA graduates have an excellent pass rate on the national certification examination. For the most up to date results of NBCOT Certification Examination Scores for STLCC OTA graduates please go to: https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx
How does STLCC's program rank with other OTA programs in the area?
STLCC’s OTA program was established in 1983 and is the oldest OTA program in the St. Louis metropolitan area. It is a well-established, affordable program with an excellent pass rate. The program has a very low attrition rate and a high certification exam rate. For the 3 most recent calendar years (2012, 2013, 2014) the program admitted 72 students and had 68 graduates which is a graduation rate of 94%. During the same 3 year period the total number of graduates who took and passed the certification exam as new graduate test takers was 65 which is a 96% pass rate. To see the program’s current pass rate, check the NBCOT® National Certification website.
Occupational Therapy Assistant – Resources
The American Occupational Therapy Association is a national professional association established in 1917 to represent the interests and concerns of occupational therapy practitioners and students of occupational therapy and to improve the quality of occupational therapy services.
The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy is a not-for-profit credentialing agency that provides certification for the occupational therapy profession. NBCOT® serves the public interest by developing, administering and continually reviewing a certification process that reflects current standards of competent practice in occupational therapy.
The Missouri Board of Occupational Therapy, in collaboration with the Division of Professional Registration, is responsible for developing, implementing and administering the rules and regulations necessary to carry out the Occupational Therapy Practice Act.
The Missouri Occupational Therapy Association represents the needs of occupational therapy practitioners and students in the state of Missouri. It also is an affiliate member with the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Fieldwork Educator Resources
The links below contain materials helpful for fieldwork educators:
- Developing an Occupational Therapy Assistant Intern Fieldwork Manual
- Fieldwork Educator Information
- Fieldwork Educator Preparation
- Sample Weekly Review Form
- Sample Learning Contract
- The Fieldwork Experience
- Fieldwork Data Form
*STLCC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) 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 20824-1220. AOTA’s telephone number C/O AOTA is 301-652-AOTA. The website is www.acoteonline.org. For the most up-to-date information on STLCC’s OTA graduates’ certification exam scores please link to the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) at https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx
Years # of Students admitted Graduation % Rates % Certification Exam Pass Rate 2012 21 100% 88% 2013 24 74% 100% 2014 24 96% 100%
To see the program’s current pass rate, check the NBCOT® National Certification website.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program is offered at our Meramec campus. Students may take general education classes toward this degree at any of our four campuses, our five education centers, and online.