Occupational Therapy Assistant
The occupational therapy assistant works under the direction of an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy provides rehabilitation for people with mental, physical, emotional, or developmental impairments. As an occupational therapy assistant, you’ll be a member of a health care team whose goal is to help people improve the quality of their lives by overcoming or compensating for limitations they may have.
Please download and read over this important letter to all student interested in Occupational Therapy.
Please download and review our handbook specifically created for ICC Occupational Therapy Assistant Program students.
Please download and review all necessary handbooks.
- OTA Program and prospective students: Fieldwork Handbook
- First year OTA students: Level 1: Fieldwork Handbook
- Second year OTA students — Level 2: Fieldwork Handbook
Associate in Applied Science (Career Program)
Total Credit Hours: 66
Select a course number below to see a course description.
Required General Education Courses
|ENGL 110||COMPOSITION I **||3|
|COMM 110||INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION: PRESENTATION AND THEORY **||3|
|PSY 110||INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY **||3|
|MATHEMATICS/LABORATORY SCIENCE  *||3 to 4|
|BIOL 140||HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY ||4|
Required Program Courses
|HEOCC 200||DISEASE PROCESSES IN MAN ***||3|
|HUMAN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT ***|
|PSY 202||CHILD AND ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT ***||3|
|OTA 110||FOUNDATIONS FOR THE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT ||4|
|OTA 111||OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PROCESS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS ||4|
|OTA 112||MENTAL HEALTH AND FUNCTION ACROSS THE LIFESPAN ||4|
|OTA 114||TASK ANALYSIS, ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY AND THERAPEUTIC MEDIA FOR THE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT ||4|
|OTA 118||APPLICATIONS OF ANATOMY AND KINESIOLOGY IN THE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PROCESS ||4|
|OTA 210||OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PROCESS AND INTERVENTIONS IN PEDIATRICS ||4|
|OTA 211||OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PROCESS AND INTERVENTIONS FOR PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTION ||4|
|OTA 212||OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT LEVEL II FIELDWORK-PEDIATRICS ||5|
|OTA 213||OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT LEVEL II FIELDWORK-PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTION ||5|
|OTA 220||MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION FOR THE OTA ||3|
* See specific requirements for Associate in Applied Science Degree.
** Underlined courses may be taken prior to admission into the program
The certified occupational therapy assistant collaborates with the supervising occupational therapist to provide the use of occupations (everyday life activities) with individuals and/or groups across the life span. These occupations include ADLS (activities of daily living), IADLS (instrumental activities of daily living), education, work, rest, sleep, play, and social participation. Occupational therapy assistants provide services that will promote health, well-being, participation and engagement in occupation throughout one’s lifespan. Occupational therapy assistants apply a holistic approach and recognize the significance of the mind, body and spirit as they focus on areas of physical, cognitive, psychosocial and sensory impairment. The occupational therapy assistant may be employed in a variety of traditional and emerging practice areas. These practice settings may include but are not limited to: hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, out-patient facilities, schools, community based health agencies, behavioral health programs, and home health agencies.
Recommended Course Sequence
|Summer Semester||BIOL 140|
|Fall Semester 1||OTA 110; OTA 111; OTA 118|
|Spring Semester 1||PSY 110; HEOCC 200; OTA 112; OTA 114|
|Summer Semester||CHILD 120 or PSY 202; COMM 110; Mathematics/Laboratory Science|
|Fall Semester 2||ENGL 110; OTA 210; OTA 212|
|Spring Semester 2||OTA 211; OTA 213; OTA 220; Humanities|
Program Contact Information
Health Careers Department
Peoria Campus, Cedar 105
Illinois Career Cluster
Pathway programs at ICC have a map that shows the courses/degree requirements that will lead students to their desired education and employment goals.
Career Cluster: Health Science
Pathway: Therapeutic Services
ICC Pathway: Occupational Therapy
If you are a high school junior or senior, you can get a head start on your future by taking college-level courses now! Visit our Dual Credit webpage for a listing of area high schools with courses available.
COMM 110 | ENGL 110 | HLTH 121 | ICC 104 | PSY 110
Associate of Applied Science Degree
Occupational Therapy Assistant(66 credit hours)
Occupation Bachelor Degree Transfer Options
Bridge programs for COTA to Master’s in OT are available.
Many other degree completion programs are available.
Career Cluster Bachelor Degree Transfer Options
Program transfer guides layout course work to be taken at ICC and the transfer institution to complete specific programs of study or majors.
Many other degree completion programs are available.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program at ICC 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, c/0 AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA, and its web address is acoteonline.org.
Certification and Licensure
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 graduate will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, most states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. For more certification information, visit nbcot.org.
Important Felony Statement
Applicants seeking NBCOT certification and state licensure are required to report a history of a felony or misdemeanor. NBCOT will review the information submitted by the applicant and will determine if the applicant is eligible to sit for the certification examination. A history of a felony or a misdemeanor may jeopardize the applicant’s eligibility for certification or licensure. If you have a criminal history, it is recommended that the applicant complete a characterization review PRIOR to beginning the OTA program at ICC. For all certification information, please go to nbcot.org and click on Certification Candidates.
Each state also has specific requirements for licensure. Contact the appropriate state board or Department of Professional Regulation for more information: Occupational Therapy Regulatory Body Contact List by State.
The Importance of Program Evaluation
All occupational therapy education programs must evaluate the level of success for their programs — this is program evaluation. It is the responsibility of the Illinois Central Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program to communicate these findings to the public. The public may include interested students and their families, consumers, accrediting bodies, potential employers and the community at large.
Program evaluation allows faculty to objectively measure their strengths and weaknesses to improve the program. This information can be used by the public before applying to the program, hiring program graduates or investing resources. Evaluating a program is important to make positive pragmatic decisions that affect students, graduates, employers and the community at large.
Evaluation Measures Used
Here you’ll find:
- Graduation Rate: This data indicates persistence of students to graduation from the OTA program. The number of graduates that completed the OTA program in a maximum of 2 years (% of graduation rate).
- NBCOT Examination Results: The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy is charged with developing national examinations for students to take following their graduation from either OTA or OTR program. This examination is a bar that indicates that students who pass have the skills and abilities to be hired as entry level practitioners. These results are correlated to the quality of education that students receive. A high passage rate is one sign of a good program.
- Graduate Preparedness and Job Placement: Following graduation, the program tracks students to see how many successfully get jobs. Data is collected via survey and by talking directly with previous students. This is valuable data to evaluate. Being prepared and marketable is important.
- Employer Satisfaction: Evaluating how employers feel about our student’s skill and abilities is important. It is important that the students who are hired in local area meet the needs of the employers. The level of employer satisfaction is another quality measure of the program’s ability to develop qualified occupational therapy assistants.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Graduation Rate
Note: Graduation persistence data may seem to vary significantly from year to year because the starting cohorts are small.
Results of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Examination
Graduate Preparedness and Job Placement
Note: Data is based on response rate and not representative of all program graduates.
Note: New program evaluation measure in 2015. Data is based on response rate and not representative of all employers.
Essential Skills and Abilities
Becoming an occupational therapy assistant requires the completion of an education program that is both intellectually and physically challenging. The student will be expected to acquire knowledge, enhance motor performance and develop professional behaviors and attitudes that are necessary to provide ethical, safe, effective, compassionate care across the lifespan. The purpose of the core performance standards is to inform students of the occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program of the requirements that they can reasonably be expected to meet, with or without reasonable accommodation, while participating in the program.
Upon entering this program, students should consider the following: The Core Performance Standards are used to assist in the determination as to whether accommodations or modifications are necessary for a student to meet program requirements. A student who identifies potential difficulties with meeting the Core Performance Standards should communicate his/her concerns to the Program Director. The student has the responsibility to identify and document any disability and to request reasonable and appropriate accommodations as needed. All students must be otherwise qualified and able to perform independently in all areas. Determination is made on an individual basis as to whether any accommodations or modifications can be reasonably made. They are also reasonable expectations of employers; however, employers may have different standards. The ability to meet these standards does not guarantee employment upon graduation.
Student will need to communicate effectively and efficiently with peers, faculty, clients, families, caregivers and interprofessional team members both verbally and, in writing, and non-verbally. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Ability to read at a level that allows the essential skills and abilities of an assignment to be completed safely and effectively
- Clearly communicates the values and beliefs of Occupational Therapy, highlighting the use of occupation to clients, families, caregivers and interprofessional team members
- Clearly communicates the roles of Occupational Therapist and Occupational Therapy Assistant highlighting the use of occupation to clients, families, caregivers and interprofessional team members
- Apply health literacy concepts to effectively articulate and interpret information to clients, family members, caregivers, interprofessional team members and third party payers as appropriate
- Ability to recognize, observe, interpret and respond to nonverbal behaviors of self and others.
Student should demonstrate sound judgment; establish empathic and therapeutic relationships with clients and others. Student demonstrates the ability to perform in stressful situations and tolerates close physical contact with co-workers and clients. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Ability to work concurrently with interprofessional team members and multiple clients/caregivers
- Ability to work independently and in collaboration one or more partners
- Ability to work collaboratively with a diversity of populations, including OTA students and with program faculty in classroom, lab, and clinical settings
- Ability to respond constructively to feedback and appropriately modify behavior in response to supervisory feedback
- Demonstrate safe and effective coping strategies during stressful conditions, including but not limited to medically or emotionally unstable individuals, situations requiring rapid adaptations, such as the provision of CPR, or other emergency interventions
- Ability to prioritize multiple tasks, integrate information and make decisions for effective time management in order to meet established deadlines
- Ability to respect the diversity factors of others, including but not limited to: age, socio-cultural, socioeconomic, spirituality and lifestyle choices
- Ability to demonstrate a positive therapeutic use of self
- Ability to demonstrate values, attitudes, and behaviors consistent with the OT Professional Code of Ethics and Standard of Practice
- Ability to display professional appearance (appropriate dress and personal grooming) while involved in all school, clinical, and professional activities
- Ability to handle personal and professional problems appropriately so they do not interfere with classroom and clinical performance
- Demonstrate positive and expected work ethics including, but not limited to: attendance, punctuality, attending to task/submit assignments when due, adherence to classroom/clinical policies and procedures.
The student should have sufficient gross and fine motor capabilities to execute the movements and skills required to provide safe and effective occupational therapy treatment to complete full-time work weeks during OTA program participation. This includes, but is not limited, to:
- Sufficient coordination, speed, strength, and agility to safely assist clients who are walking, exercising, or performing other activities
- Ability to guide, resist, and assist clients and to provide emergency care, which involves activities including standing, kneeling, sitting, walking, and crawling
- Ability and dexterity to fabricate, apply, adapt and monitor assistive technology, perform and demonstrate occupational performance skills and administer components of sensory, motor and Activities of Daily Living/Instrumental Activities of Daily Living assessments and interventions
- Sufficient endurance to move about a variety of environments steadily throughout the day, including movement across distances, movement from one floor to another, and negotiation of small spaces
- Perform all essential skills and standards to complete full-time work week during OTA program enrollment
The student should have sufficient physical abilities to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces
- Assist all patients according to individual needs and abilities in moving, turning, and transferring from various surfaces without injury to self, patient, or others
- Be able to lift and carry 50 pounds
- Exert up to 100 pounds force or push/pull
- Must be able to walk and stand for extended periods of time without the use of an assistive device (such as walkers, canes, etc.) or use of a wheelchair
- Move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces
- Perform instruction by manual demonstration, as appropriate
- Must be able to lift and move supplies and equipment to shelves
Student should have sufficient sensory abilities to assess and monitor clients, observe physical movement, participate in physical measures, and recognize and respond to clients’ needs in unsafe situations. Student should have the ability to obtain information in classroom, laboratory, or clinical settings through observation, palpation and other measures, and requires abilities including, but not limited to:
- Visual ability (corrected as necessary) to recognize and interpret facial expressions and body language, to observe client performance in therapy, to read or set parameters on occupational therapy equipment, and to interpret and assess the environment.
- Auditory ability (corrected as necessary) to recognize and respond to verbal directions and requests, to be aware of safety mechanisms in the environment, and for effective communication between clients/families/interprofessional team members.
- Tactile ability to palpate muscle contractions, to discriminate hot and cold modalities, to exert the necessary pressure to fabricate splints, and to identify joint articulation.
- Olfactory ability to tolerate odors to allow care of patient, noxious odors, perfumes, and other body odors from wounds or skin conditions
F. Critical Thinking
Student should possess sufficient abilities in the areas of critical problem solving, reasoning, and assessment to be able to comprehend and process information in a timely manner. Student will be asked to prioritize, organize, and attend to tasks and responsibilities efficiently. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Ability to collect and interpret data
- Ability to prioritize multiple tasks, integrate information and make decisions
- Ability to research, identify and understand professional publications
- Ability to apply knowledge to the provision of occupational therapy care which includes the
- Ability to plan and implement treatment programs that are applicable and practical and provide creative treatment alternatives
- The ability to problem solve in order to act safely and ethically in the occupational therapy lab and clinic
G. Mathematical Skills
Student should demonstrate the ability to perform basic mathematical calculations
- Calculate range of motion of a joint using a goniometer
- Calculate strength of muscles using Manual Muscle Testing Grading Scale
- Calculate grip strength using a Dynamometer
- Calculate pinch strength using a Pinchmeter
- Determine amount of force to apply with exercise and/or other occupational therapy interventions
- Ability to collect and interpret data relevant to documented therapy goals, assessment and intervention
H. Additional Information
In order to be eligible for placement at a Fieldwork education site, students admitted to the program will need to:
- Obtain certification (health professional level) in cardiopulmonary resuscitation through approved course for health care providers
- Must complete training on blood borne pathogens
- Provide proof of health status including but not limited to proof of MMR and chicken pox vaccination, hepatitis B vaccination (or signed waiver), current Tdap immunization, and current TB test.
- Complete a criminal background check
- Complete other pre-clinical screenings as needed such as drug testing and fingerprinting
- Complete and provide all required documentation to the appointed facility
Students for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program are required to certify that these essentials have been provided to them. Individuals who believe they do not meet the essential requirements may request reasonable accommodation. It is the student’s responsibility to contact Access Services (309) 694-5749. Reasonable accommodations are arranged through Access Services.