Occupational Therapy Assistant

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy

In the simplest terms, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Occupational therapy services typically include:

  • An individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person's goals
  • Customized intervention to improve the person's ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals
  • An outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan

Occupational therapy services may include comprehensive evaluations of the client's home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers. Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. (From AOTA Website, April 2011)

View program results online from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Criminal Record and Certification

Most states require licensure in order to practice, however state licenses are usually based upon the results of the NBCOT examination. Be advised that a criminal record may render an individual ineligible to take the certification exam and consequently ineligible to practice as an occupational therapy assistant. If you have concerns pertaining to a past criminal record, you should contact NBCOT at (301) 990-7979 to determine your eligibility for the exam.

Career Opportunities

OT assistant with patient

Nationally, job placement of occupational therapy assistant (OTA) graduates is excellent. The occupational therapy assistant profession is rated by the US Department of Labor® Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of the fastest growing professions through 2014. Starting salaries vary in range, but start at approximately $18 per hour. Licensure is required in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. OTA's work under the supervision of occupational therapists.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy

Completion and Graduation Information

The total number of graduates from the SFCC Occupational Therapy Assistant Program during the 5-year period of 2013-2017 was 75 with an overall graduation rate of 87%.

Graduation Year Student Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
2013 18/15 83%
2014 16/11 69%
2015 17/16 94%
2016 17/16 94%
2017 18/17 94%
Total 86/75 87%

SFCC offers a two-year program which includes study in anatomy and physiology, social science, occupation-based therapy courses and practical clinical experience in area health care facilities affiliated with the college. The technical courses for the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program are not designed to transfer to four-year schools.

Occupational therapy assistant duties include: a) designing therapeutic activity based treatments that are within the plan of care proposed by the occupational therapist; b) evaluating and training patients to use adaptive equipment that will make life easier; c) assisting the occupational therapist with data collection for evaluation purposes; and d) keeping records and reporting to the occupational therapist on the patient's progress.

Occupational therapist assistants work with all ages and are employed in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, pediatric facilities or school systems, private occupational therapy clinics, mental health hospitals or clinics, home health care agencies, and extended care facilities.

At the successful completion of the program, the student is awarded an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.


Person planting with arm brace

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at Spokane Falls Community College is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Accreditation will remain in place for 7 years, the program will undergo reaccreditation in 2020.

Address: ACOTE
c/o Accreditation Department
American Occupational Therapy Association
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Phone: (301) 652-2682
Website: www.acoteonline.org

During the accreditation on-site visit of Feb 2013, NO areas of deficiency were noted; compliance was awarded to all standards. Strengths of the program as noted by ACOTE include SFCC Administration support, highly experienced and dedicated Program Director and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, a very involved Advisory Board, availability of ancillary services on campus available to our students, and a highly capable and professional OTA student body.

Further questions about accreditation can be addressed directly with ACOTE at the address or phone number listed above, or with the Program Director of the OTA Program at SFCC at (509) 279-6083.


Occupational Therapy

Upon approval from the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), OTA graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification exam.

After successful completion of the examination, the graduate will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and be eligible to apply for state licensure.