Occupational Therapy Assistant

(2 Years)

Program Description Type Degree
Occupational Therapy Assistant, A.A.S.DegreeA.A.S.
Applied Science, B.A.S.DegreeB.A.S.
Health Science, B.S. with Concentration in Health OccupationsDegreeB.S.


The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is an associate of applied science program preparing students for licensure to practice as Occupational Therapy Assistants.

Occupational therapy is a profession that uses occupation to promote well-being and health among people of all ages and abilities. Occupations are goal-directed, meaningful pursuits that occupy a person's time each day. Occupations include work and productive activities, self-care or care of others, and leisure/recreational activities. Occupational therapists adapt the environment, tasks, or techniques to meet individual needs while helping each client develop new skills necessary to function productively. Occupational Therapy Assistants view every aspect of a client's life as important to his/her health.

Occupational therapy seeks to improve the quality of life for individuals who are at risk for physical, cognitive, mental, or psychosocial impairments. Demand for occupational therapy assistants will increase to address the needs of a growing population of aging adults, children with developmental disabilities and those who struggle with traumatic injuries and illness. Working under the direction of an occupational therapist, the occupational therapy assistant helps individuals experiencing physical or mental illness or injury return to valued occupations. 

The curative nature of occupational therapy is extremely broad and requires individuals with an interest in the complexity of humanity and occupations. One also needs an ability to think critically and creatively and be able to address occupational performance problems resulting from disease, trauma, and mental illness. To be well prepared, a student must enter the profession with a foundation in the liberal arts, biological, physical, and social sciences.

For information on entrance requirements and to obtain an information packet along with course descriptions, sequence, and financial information go to https://www.isu.edu/ota/.


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, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number is (301) 652-AOTA, and its Web address is https://www.aota.org/Education-Careers/Accreditation.aspx. 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, all 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. 

For details on OTA program accreditation please visit the ACOTE website.

Program Detail

  • New cohorts start in August.
  • Requires 2 years to complete (Year 1 - Fall , Spring; Year 2 - Fall, Spring).
  • Divided into three components: seated didactic instruction, laboratory demonstrations and practice, and practicum/externship placements.
  • Practicum/externship placements may require working evening or weekend hours, and outside of the local area.
  • Program requires the successful completion of 69-73 credit hours including prerequisites.
  • Each course must be completed with a C or better before the student can progress in the program.

Degree Options

  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Science (BS)

Career Opportunities

  • School Districts
  • Out-Patient Rehabilitation Clinics
  • Home Health Agencies
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Hospitals
  • ​Psychiatric Settings


OTA Courses