Occupational Therapy Assistant - AAS

St. Catherine University founded the first two-year occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program in the country more than 40 years ago and has a long history of successfully educating certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs). Our associate of applied science degree program offers a 2-year (4 semester) campus-based track as well as a 16-month (4 consecutive semesters) online with face-to-face labs track. (These program lengths are the shortest period of time a student may take to complete the program.) The program is designed to help students master occupational therapy skills and develop and refine leadership, interpersonal and communication skills.

Students will benefit from personal attention in their didactic, lab, and fieldwork experiences. Each student completes more than 700 hours of directed fieldwork experience in a variety of healthcare and community settings. Students have practical experience opportunities within traveling distance of their homes as well as some out-of-state options.

COTAs make a difference in people's lives. Occupational therapy assistants work in collaboration and cooperation with registered occupational therapists to help people engage in human occupations or "day-to-day" activities that contribute to their physical, psychological and spiritual health, well-being and overall quality of life.

Students can interact with individuals and groups, including well populations and those with physical, psycho-social or developmental disabilities; work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, schools, rehabilitation facilities, community centers and clients' homes; and practice their profession in collaboration with other healthcare team members.

Graduates of the OTA program are able to sit for the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). NBCOT is located at 12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877-4150. The phone number for NBCOT is (301) 990-7979, the fax number is (301) 869-8492, and the website is www.nbcot.org. After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. Many states have some form of regulation in order to practice. Generally, state regulations are based on the successful completion of the NBCOT certification examination.

When graduates apply to take the certification examination with the NBCOT, they are asked to answer questions related to felony convictions. Graduates will also be asked questions about felony convictions as they apply for state licensure. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to complete fieldwork experiences, sit for the NBCOT certification examination, or attain state licensure. For further information on these limitations, contact NBCOT.

Most states have regulations that require that all students going into a clinical setting have a criminal background check. Background checks are done prior to classes starting or within the first two weeks of class each year and the University provides all forms. Any identified problems on a background check may have an impact on a student's ability to participate in fieldwork, and therefore progress in the program.

All OTA program students must be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This must be an American Heart Association certification and must be completed prior to the first Level I fieldwork. No other CPR certifications will be acceptable in meeting this requirement.

Students interested in entering the OTA program typically come to the University as LAS occupational therapy assistant students one or two semesters before beginning the OTA sequence of courses. LAS occupational therapy assistant students take prerequisite requirements and may also complete some of their liberal arts and science core requirements before beginning OTA program courses.

Students are strongly encouraged to research and understand the profession before beginning the program. Information regarding the profession and career options can be found on the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) website www.aota.org.

Accreditation - Campus-based and Online Tracks

St. Catherine University's 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, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. ACOTE's number at AOTA is (301) 652-2682.

Time to Completion - Campus-Based Track

In the campus-based track, students make take as few as two years to complete their studies. Students take liberal arts and science and OTA courses concurrently both years as needed, and Level II Fieldwork is completed in the same semester following the appropriate course work in accordance with the curriculum design and the program policies.

Time to Completion - Online Track with Face-to-Face Labs

In the online track, students complete their studies in as few as four consecutive semesters. Students take liberal arts and science and OTA courses concurrently each semester as needed. Level II Fieldwork is completed in semesters three and four following the appropriate course work in accordance with the curriculum design and the program policies.

Eligibility Requirements to Begin the Professional Sequence of Courses:

After admission to the University, students in both tracks must meet the following requirements to be eligible to begin the professional sequence of courses.

  • An overall GPA of 2.5
  • A cumulative prerequisite GPA of 2.5

Prerequisite Requirements

The following courses must be in process or completed at the time of application, and must be completed with a grade of C or better prior to beginning the program. These requirements apply to both tracks.

A minimum grade of C is required in these courses
BIOL 2400General Anatomy and Physiology with Lab 14
HIMP 1020Medical Terminology 11
PSYC 1000General Psychology4
PSYC 2020Lifespan Developmental Psychology 14
Total Credits13
1

 Must have been completed no more than five years prior to entering the University to be considered for transfer. 

Any of the above four courses, in which a grade less than a C is earned, must be repeated. Note that there is allowed a maximum limit of ONE repeat per each of these four courses. A grade of W (withdrawal) counts as a repeated course.

Students should strive for more than the minimum grade of C for all prerequisites. It is also recommended that students plan to have most if not all Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) coursework completed before beginning the OSOT courses.

See also: Pre-Professional Programs: Pre-Occupational Therapy, Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy (graduate catalog)

Curriculum

Required Prerequisite Courses

A minimum grade of C is required in these courses
BIOL 2400General Anatomy and Physiology with Lab 14
HIMP 1020Medical Terminology 11
PSYC 1000General Psychology4
PSYC 2020Lifespan Developmental Psychology 14
Total Credits13
1

Must have been completed no more than five years prior to entering the University to be considered for transfer. 

Required OSOT Courses

A minimum grade of C is required in these courses
OTA 1020Role of the OTA2
OTA 1030Human Occupations I with Lab2
OTA 1040Clinical Conditions2
OTA 1050Human Occupations II with Lab2
OTA 1215Client Support Skills with Lab4
OTA 1250Aging2
OTA 1275Level I Fieldwork2
OTA 1305Therapeutic Applications I with Lab3
OTA 2305Therapeutic Applications III with Lab3
OTA 2330Therapeutic Applications II with Lab2
OTA 2350Level II Fieldwork6
OTA 2360Level II Fieldwork6
OTA 2400Practice Models and Professional Issues I1
OTA 2410Practice Models and Professional Issues II1
OTA 3250Group Dynamics and Leadership2
Total Credits40

Liberal Arts and Sciences Core Requirements

A minimum grade of C is required in these courses
CORE 1000WThe Reflective Woman 24
ECOL 2000Human Ecology (or any liberal arts and science course)2
ENGL 2100Prose and Poetry (or any literature course)2
or ENGL 2500 The Short Story
PHIL 2030WHealthcare Ethics3
SSCS 2040WPower, Inequality and Social Change4
THEO 2040WThe Sacramental Life3
Total Credits18
2

 Must be completed no later than the first semester of OSOT program courses

Students are strongly encouraged to research and understand the profession before beginning the program. Information regarding the profession and career options can be found on the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) website www.aota.org.