Apr 25, 2019  
2015-2016 Catalog 
2015-2016 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

Students are prepared to:

  • Provide quality occupational therapy services in a variety of practice environments.
  • Meet the demands of current and future practice.
  • Demonstrate ethical reasoning, practice professional Code of Ethics, and professional integrity.

Career Opportunities

Employment of occupational therapy assistants is projected to grow 41 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities. More information is available online http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm. 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 18 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 (http://www.cccneb.edu/ota). 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, field study, 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.
  • Immunizations are required, see program director for the specific immunizations needed.
  • 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.
  • Required to earn a C or above for all courses needed for graduation including general education courses.
  • Students are required to complete a background check (at student’s expense) and admission to the program is contingent on the results of the check.

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 advisor prior to any academic planning and registering.



Associate of Applied Science