Central Penn College - OTA program granted accreditation status

Central Penn College


Back to News and Event Listings

May 8, 2014 OTA program granted accreditation status

Central Penn College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) associate degree program, which has been working toward accreditation status since it was added as a career-focused program offering in fall 2011, has been granted a status of accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) for a period of five years. This accreditation is on top of Central Penn’s regional accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

“The ACOTE accreditation status provides our students with further opportunities for fieldwork placements, allows them to take the national occupational therapy assistant board exam, and ensures that our students are being educated to the highest standard to prepare them to be highly-qualified, entry-level therapists,” says Leanne Rutt, M.Ed., OTR/L, program director of the occupational therapy assistant program.

All new college and university OTA programs seeking accreditation go through the three-step ACOTE accreditation process: applicant program status, developing program status and accredited status. Central Penn was granted developing program status on August 9, 2011 and since then has successfully submitted its self-study report and hosted a three-day campus visit by ACOTE representatives in February.

This accreditation now has big meaning to the first group of graduating OTA students who participated in this year’s commencement ceremony on May 2 at the Forum in Harrisburg. With the College’s accreditation status, all Central Penn OTA graduates can now sit for their national certification exams administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Of the 14 students who walked in the commencement ceremony, eight are currently completing their level II fieldwork assignments, and six are currently in their final term on campus prior to completing their 16 weeks of level II fieldwork.

Central Penn limits its enrollment to the competitive program to 18 students every spring and fall. There are currently 43 students in the program, and there is a wait list for the fall 2014 term. The application deadline for the fall term is July 1.

Students interested in studying the program can come to the Summerdale campus on Wednesday, May 14 for an OTA Visit Day from 4-7 p.m. Students will have the opportunity to speak with faculty, review college policies and admissions requirements, as well as tour labs and student apartments. Online registration is required at www.centralpenn.edu/events.

In addition to offering an OTA lab with a simulated home environment, Central Penn has partnered with more than 100 local and national corporations for clinical fieldwork agreements on behalf of its students.

“The rapport between HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of York and the faculty and students at Central Penn College has created a professional and collaborative relationship,” says Tessa Goldner, senior COTA/L, CBIS, with HealthSouth York. “This will continue to ensure successful outcomes for students in the realm of occupational therapy."

ACOTE is recognized as the accrediting agency for occupational therapy education by both the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). ACOTE, an active member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA, currently accredits 317 occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs in the United States and its territories.


Central Penn College has been helping students turn potential into career success since 1881, now offering associate, bachelor's and master’s degrees in the fields of accounting, business administration, criminal justice, information technology, communications, healthcare, homeland security, legal studies and organizational leadership. The college, currently serving students at its Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lehigh Valley locations, attributes its high rate of student success to a caring faculty and its hands-on learning approach. Based on Central Penn’s most recent One-Year Graduate Survey, 87.8 percent of graduates were employed in their chosen field or continuing their education within one year of graduation. Central Penn College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. www.centralpenn.edu