Occupational therapy assistant | Stark State College | North Canton, Ohio
Occupational therapy assistant

Occupational therapy assistant

The profession of occupational therapy provides services to individuals whose lives have been disrupted by accident or illness, birth defects, developmental problems, social or psychological problems. Occupational therapy personnel work in hospitals, schools, workshops, mental health centers, clinics and home-health agencies.

Occupational therapy assistants work under the supervision of the registered occupational therapist, helping patients achieve maximum independence in activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living, work, leisure and play, education and social participation.

Assistants help therapists evaluate patients to determine patient and family needs. Once treatment goals are set, the assistants may be responsible for implementing therapy by using selected activities. Assistants may also instruct patients in the use of specially-designed devices to allow people with physical disabilities to dress or feed themselves, take care of their homes or return to work.

Prospective students in the occupational therapy assistant technology program must have one year of high school biology or one semester of college anatomy and physiology.

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 individual will be a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, states licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.

Your pathway to a degree

Associate degree

Requirements for admission to the OTA program:

  • complete the College admissions process
  • submit health program application to Registration Office
  • preferred minimum GPA 3.0 for college (or high school within the last five years)
  • Biology 101 requirement with a B or better, or high school biology with a B or better within five years of graduation


The occupational therapy assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 510E, Bethesda, MD 20814 phone number 1-800-729-2682, www.acoteonline.org. 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). Information on the examination performance of Stark State graduates, as well as those from all other accredited programs, can be located at https://www.nbcot.org/Educators-Folder/SchoolPerformance.

COMMONLY ACCEPTED ACADEMIC STANDARDS: Program length must be reflective of commonly accepted standards for degree level as informed by the National Center for Education Standards (https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/glossary#m). Specific to occupational therapy entry level education for the occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant, ACOTE defines the following:

  • Associate’s degree: An entry-level occupational therapy assistant degree granted for the successful completion of an associate’s program of study, usually requiring at least 2 years (or equivalent) of full-time college-level study.

Program learning outcomes

Upon completion of the program, the student should be able to:

  1. Function as a generalist as an occupational therapy assistant and collaborate with the occupational therapist in a variety of delivery models and systems used in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service to utilize evidence-based practice to inform clinical decision-making and support critical thinking.
  2. Understanding the distinct roles of the occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant in the supervisory process of service delivery to provide therapeutic use of occupations to enhance occupational performance.
  3. Demonstrate an investment in ongoing intrapersonal growth, life-long learning, and development in an effort to successfully utilize therapeutic-use-of self by understanding issues with diversity in advocating for and adapting to the needs and behaviors of all clients.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of, and commitment to the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Code of Ethics, Core Values, and Principles & Standards of Conduct, and the State of Ohio’s Laws and Rules Regulating the practice of Occupational Therapy.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to advance the profession by applying theory to practice and advocating and demonstrating leadership in effectively communicating and working interprofessionally with all who provide services to persons, groups and populations by engaging in professional organizations, political advocacy, research, and general marketing initiatives.


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