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Central Community College of Nebraska    
  Nov 17, 2017
2013-2014 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Program Description

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) are health care practitioners who work with individuals, populations, and organizations to address limitations impacting a person's ability to participate in meaningful life activities and experiences (occupations). Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants work alongside of and under the direct supervision of Registered Occupational Therapists (OTRs). Their role is to assist in the occupational therapy process, which involves assessing individual and community occupation-related needs, determining therapeutic interventions, planning and implementing treatment activities, communicating with individuals, families, and health and human service providers, and documenting progress toward the achievement of individual and community identified and centered goals.

Note:  Program available at the Grand Island Campus only


The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220, (301) 652-AOTA. 

Student Learning Outcomes

Occupational Therapy Assistant graduates are prepared to be:

  • Program Goal 1: Critically Thinking
    • Use critical thinking strategies (gathering, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating) to guide the establishment and refinement of OTA professional beliefs, behaviors, and actions.
    • Use critically evaluated knowledge and ethical reflection to guide practice decisions.
  • Program Goal 2: Creative

    • Use creative thinking to transcend barriers to effective practice.
    • Use divergent and intuitive thinking to design solutions for existing problems.
  • Program Goal 3: Caring

    • Act with global consciousness, openly welcoming the multiplicity of experience, thought, behavior, and values of colleagues, clients, populations, and communities.
    • Display awareness and concern of health and social disparity limiting full participation in occupation and community life.
  • Program Goal 4: Socially Responsive

    • Question knowledge, beliefs, or behaviors that support or maintain existing systems and structures that restrict occupational engagement and human flourishing and learn ways to confront and challenge unjust and unethical practice.
    • Demonstrate entry-level generalist expertise that responds to the occupational needs of local and global communities.
    • Participate in local, national, and international endeavors that improve the quality of occupational therapy service delivery.
    • Act in solidarity to solve human problems and respond ethically to issues of social injustice.

Career Opportunities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook ( for occupational therapy assistants is expected to grow much faster than average. Job opportunities include work in health, wellness, and rehabilitation service areas, including hospitals, schools, day treatment centers, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and other for profit and nonprofit community agencies. Advanced practice positions are available in areas such as higher education and political advocacy.

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). Those who pass the examination are awarded the title of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. Occupational therapy is regulated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Different states have various types of regulation that range from licensure (the strongest form of regulation) to title protection or trademark law (the weakest form of regulation). State licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Exam and on the demonstration of continuing education and competency.

Admissions Information

Applicants to the Occupational Therapy Assistant program are required to have a high school diploma, GED, home school transcript, or equivalent documentation of educational preparatory coursework. Enrollment to the program is limited to 16 students annually. All students meeting academic eligibility and completing all OTA application requirements will be accepted into the program on a first come-first served basis. See the OTA program web page for the most current program information and admission requirements ( For more detailed information about admissions requirements, contact the Occupational Therapy Department.


Students are responsible for the cost of student-in-practicum insurance and a criminal background check. Fees to cover these expenses will be added to each student's tuition.

  • Course, laboratory, fieldstudy, and fieldwork practicum supplies, materials, fees, including transportation and accommodation expenses, are payable out-of-pocket.

  • Students must have current CPR certification at the health care provider level and maintain certification throughout the program.

  • Student membership in AOTA with continued active membership throughout the program is mandatory.

  • Students must remain current with all required immunizations with tests updated annually.

  • A $200 non-refundable deposit toward tuition is required at the time of admission to the program.

  • Students are responsible for the cost of sitting for the NBCOT examination and for State Licensure.

  • A felony and/or misdemeanor charge or conviction of any nature may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. (Please visit with the Program Director for additional information.) 

Typical Program of Study

To assist students in determining the sequence of courses they might take to complete their educational goal, the proposed program of study is provided. A student's final program of study will be influenced by factors such as placement test scores, prior college experiences, course availability, transfer requirements, program admission requirements, and special areas of interest. A student intending to major in this program must consult his/her adviser prior to any academic planning and registering.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is a full-time six consecutive semester program.The program includes 630 hours of level II Fieldwork. An optional third level II fieldwork experience is available for students wishing to gain skill in a specialized area of practice. In addition to 58 credit hours of OTA specific coursework, students complete 21 hours of CCC core curriculum and coursework that supports the major. This is an academically challenging program, and students should anticipate engaging in critical and creative collaborative thinking processes and daily out-of-classroom graded homework assignments. A commitment to a full-time course of study with daily attendance is mandatory. A student intending to major in this program must consult the Program Director.


Associate of Applied Science