Associate in Applied Science Degree
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Mission
The occupational therapy assistant program is dedicated to providing holistic active learning experiences to graduate competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapy assistants by instilling the values of evidence-based, ethical practice, professionalism, service and life-long learning.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Understand the structure and function of the human body, the sensorimotor, psychosocial and cognitive components and their development throughout the lifespan
- Apply knowledge of OT theory, principles and philosophies across all stages of the OT process
- Demonstrate clinical reasoning skills, solve problems, and offer innovative occupation-based treatments through ethical, evidence-based practice
- Distinguish between the distinct roles and responsibilities of the OT & OTA in the supervisory process
- Understand the necessity of life-long learning to support competence, service- minded behaviors and professional development.
- Demonstrate professional behaviors within the classroom, clinic and community settings.
Achieve entry-level competence by successfully completing academic and fieldwork
The Associate in Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)
prepares students for entry level general practice as an occupational therapy assistant
in a variety of clinical settings. Graduates may find jobs in physical rehabilitation,
mental health, pediatrics and with children/adults with developmental disabilities. The
program is based on a sequential curriculum design and developmental model. Early
coursework builds a foundation of knowledge in structure and function of the human
body, human development and behavior, sociocultural influences, socioeconomic
influences, and diverse lifestyles. Upon this foundation, occupational therapy principles
and clinical practices in pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, and physical rehabilitation
are introduced and mastered through integrated laboratory and observational (Level I)
Fieldwork Experiences. Coursework is layered with threads of evidence-based practice,
professional behaviors and lifelong learning practices necessary for achieving and
maintaining professional competence.
The OTA program culminates in 16 weeks of Level II Fieldwork Experiences, (internship),
which must be completed within 12 months after completing all other required
coursework. Due to the academic rigor of the program, students will be dismissed if
they receive a 77% or below in three core courses. A passing final grade of C+ (2.5 GPA)
in all OTA core courses is required in addition to achieving the necessary credit hours in
order to graduate from the OTA program.
The OTA program at Central Penn College is accredited by the Accreditation Council
for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc., located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814- 3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA. Graduates are 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, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. Any student having a criminal record will need to contact NBCOT directly to discuss eligibility for the examination: NBCOT, 12 South Summit Ave., Suite 100, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150, phone: (301) 990-7979. 80
The occupational therapy assistant program must limit enrollment due to classroom space and available clinical facilities. The OTA program accepts students based on the scores given for admissions criteria listed below. Admissions criteria include:
• Students are required to have earned a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. GPA is calculated off of all schools attended. Cumulative GPA is based off of school transcripts and pending all course completion.
• Two letters of professional reference
• Professional admissions interview
• On-site written essay
• Eight observation hours in the occupational therapy field
• SAT or ACT scores are not required, but are preferred for transfer students
• OTA core courses must be taken at Central Penn College. There will be no transfer
credits accepted for OTA courses.
Students should take into consideration that the OTA program, to meet legal standards, will require the PA State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigations Criminal Background Checks and PA Child Abuse History Clearance prior to beginning fieldwork (internship) experiences. Additionally, a felony criminal record may prohibit eligibility to sit for the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Certification Examination by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and to obtain licensure to practice as an occupational therapy assistant. Students with a criminal record will need to contact NBCOT directly to discuss eligibility for the exam (NBCOT, 12 South Summit Ave., Suite 100, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150, phone: 301-990-7979).
OTA Application Deadline: The OTA program has a rolling deadline and acceptance is on a first come first served basis for those who meet the criteria.
Clinical Fieldwork Considerations
Students enrolling in the OTA program will be required to participate in Level I Fieldwork
Experiences in conjunction with coursework, and Level II Fieldwork Experiences at
the conclusion of the program. These Fieldwork Experiences involve travel to locations off campus to observe and participate in occupational therapy practice in a variety of service delivery models working with clients from a variety of demographics. Students should expect to provide their own transportation to and from clinical fieldwork sites. While every effort will be made to place students in fieldwork sites close to where they reside, this is not always possible. Students will need to consider that the maximum for traveling to fieldwork is 90 miles.
Readmission to the OTA Program
1. If a student voluntarily withdraws from the college, the student will be granted the opportunity to re-apply for readmission into the OTA program with acceptance of credits already completed, if the time frame is more than one term, but less than one year. However, this is not a guarantee that the student will be re-accepted.
a. The student must submit a written readmission request to the Program Director. The request must include a statement showing how the student will successfully complete the program upon readmission. The decision to readmit the student will be determined by the full time OTA faculty, Program Director and the Dean of Nursing and
b. Prior to readmission, the student will be required to take a comprehensive examination covering the material of the previously completed OTA core courses. The student must score a 77% or higher in order for previously taken core course credits to be accepted/transferred. The purpose of this exam is to ensure that all students have the essential knowledge and skill level prior to participating in Level I and II Fieldwork Experiences.
c. If a student scores 77% or better on the comprehensive examination, yet would like to
review material from previously taken courses, the student may audit any previously
taken OTA courses as long as the instructor has available space to accommodate
2. After a period of one year, students electing to reapply for readmission to the OTA program will be required to retake the program in its entirety from the beginning. No credits will be accepted for previously taken OTA program core courses. Credits will be accepted for general education coursework that were successfully completed.
3. If a student does not pass one of the OTA core classes (OTA and ALH), they will
have one opportunity to re-take that class. If on the second attempt of taking a core class the student receives a final grade of “C+” or below (76%), the student will be dismissed from the OTA program and asked to change their major. If the failed course is a prerequisite for another core course, he/she may be unable to take classes the following term.
4. If a student is academically dismissed from the program or has been withdrawn due
to any reason other than stated in item #1 above, the student may re-apply for admission
to the program. However, this is not a guarantee that the student will be re-accepted.
The student must re-apply to the College for either the spring or fall term and proceed
through the entire application process again. The student will then be required to begin
the program under the current college catalog and no transfer credits will apply for
core OTA courses. Under this condition, the student will not be eligible to take the comprehensive examination and must start the program from the beginning of the course rotation.
In addition to the 36 credits of general education and elective requirements, students are required to take a core group of 43 course credits associated with the OTA major, to total 79 credits. To be eligible for internship, the student must have on file documented proof of required immunizations, liability insurance, and current CPR certification. Criminal background check, child abuse clearance and FBI fingerprinting will be required for all fieldwork placements.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Core Courses – 43 credits
ALH120 Anatomy and Physiology I + (offered spring and fall terms)
ALH120L Anatomy and Physiology I Lab + (offered spring and fall terms)
ALH130 Anatomy and Physiology II + (offered summer and winter terms)
ALH130L Anatomy and Physiology II Lab + (offered summer and winter terms)
OTA100 Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy + (offered spring and fall terms) OTA108 Therapeutic Techniques I + (offered summer and winter terms)
OTA110 Therapeutic Techniques II + (offered spring and fall terms)
OTA200 Developmental Occupational Therapy + (offered spring and fall terms)
OTA205 Occupational Therapy in Mental Health + (offered summer and winter terms) OTA210 Occupational Therapy in Physical Rehabilitation + (offered spring and fall terms)
OTA215 Developing Professional Behaviors in Occupational Therapy + (offered summer and winter terms)
OTA220 Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics + (offered spring and fall terms)
OTA230 Pathology and Function (C+ to progress) (offered summer and winter terms) OTA299 Level II Fieldwork Experience
(+) – C+ to progress
Beginning in Winter 2020, general education credits will decrease to 30 credits and core credits will increase to 49 credits in order to accommodate for the increased credit offering for OTA299 internship.
Progression Through the OTA Program
The overall goal of the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program is to prepare graduates for clinical practice as generalist occupational therapy assistants in a variety of practice settings and to achieve success on the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Examination offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. The core curriculum of the OTA program is sequentially designed to provide students with the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the field of OT. In order to ensure that students are graduating from the OTA program with the appropriate knowledge base, the following guidelines will be implemented:
1. All OTA core courses must be passed with a final grade C+. If a student does not pass one of the OTA core courses with a final grade of C+ or better, the student will have one opportunity to retake that class.
2. If on the second attempt to take the class, the student receives a final grade below a C+, the student will be automatically dismissed from the OTA Program and asked to change their major.
3. If a student in the OTA program scores a final grade of less than a C+ in any three total core courses, the student will be dismissed from the OTA Program and asked to change their major.
4. OTA students must maintain a GPA of 2.50 in their core courses. Failure to maintain this GPA for two consecutive terms will result in the student being dismissed from the OTA program and asked to change their major.
5. All (100%) of the competencies must be passed with an 80% or higher to successfully complete all core courses and progress in the program. Failure of any competency results in unsuccessful completion of the course with the highest grade earned being a “C-.”