Students enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program must complete 69 credits of course work. Full-time students begin the course of study in the fall and follow the prescribed course outline. Course work may also be completed successfully by part-time students upon approval by the occupational therapy advisor.
Students attend classes at a Penn State campus for four semesters. Level I fieldwork experience is integrated into the course curriculum. The fifth semester provides opportunities for students to engage in full-time Level II fieldwork, supervised by qualified occupational therapy personnel.
Students are responsible for living arrangements, transportation to the off-campus sites and all related expenses. Students must purchase professional liability insurance and have an annual health examination when enrolled in clinical fieldwork education.
Fieldwork Level II: Students must complete OT295A and OT 295B within 18 months of completing all OT didactic course work. Some fieldwork sites may require criminal and other background checks as a condition for acceptance at their facility.
Insurance & Background Checks
Students must carry personal general and professional liability insurance and have annual health examinations when enrolled in clinical fieldwork education. Some fieldwork sites may require criminal and other background checks as a condition for acceptance at their facility.
Upon graduation, graduates sit for the certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification
of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successfully completing this examination, the graduate will be a Certified
Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Most states require a license to practice, which is granted based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination.
National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT):
800 S. Frederick Avenue Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MD 2087
Essential Functions of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Student
To successfully complete the occupational therapy assistant program at The Pennsylvania State University, the student is expected to, with or without reasonable accommodations:
- Attend and successfully pass all occupational therapy assistant, general education, and supporting courses, and maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0;
- Attend and successfully pass all Level I and Level II fieldwork experiences;
- Participate fully in the academic and fieldwork portions of the program with reasonable accommodation, if necessary , that does not disrupt or compromise the integrity and the responsibilities of the academic program and the fieldwork site;
- Comprehend and use English language both verbally and in writing that is understandable and adheres to English rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence and paragraph composition and that reflects an understanding of complex and technical information;
- Communicate effectively, efficiently, and professionally through verbal, nonverbal, and written methods with peers, faculty, supervisors, other professionals, clients, their significant others, and the public, in one-to-one, small group, and large settings;
- Use professional terminology correctly and accurately interpret its meaning to others;
- Acquire, demonstrate, and apply the knowledge and skills of occupational therapy principles and practice;
- Demonstrate clinically appropriate judgement, flexibility, problem solving, and reasoning skills to achieve the learning objectives and responsibilities of the academic program and fieldwork sites;
- Attend to, prioritize, and complete multiple task responsibilities in an effective, accurate, and a timely manner;
- Apply effective and therapeutic teaching, dyadic, and group skills to complete the learning objectives and responsibilities of the academic program and the fieldwork sites;
- Demonstrate accurate, comprehensive observation and reporting skills regarding clients' verbal and nonverbal behaviors;
- Demonstrate accurate, comprehensive documentation skills that adhere to agency, funding, and occupational therapy guidelines;
- Demonstrate sensorimotor skills, mobility, and general endurance necessary to effectively and safely complete the learning tasks, contribute to the occupational therapy evaluation process, and implement treatment techniques in the academic and fieldwork environments;
- Navigate to and around the learning environments associated with the academic and fieldwork components of the program;
- Demonstrate personal, consumer, and environmental safety precautions;
- Work independently and collaboratively to achieve the learning objectives and responsibilities of the academic program and fieldwork sites;
- Demonstrate effective and adequate coping skills regarding the learning processes, fieldwork experiences, supervisory relations, interpersonal interactions, and professional and personal responsibilities associated with an intensive educational program in a timely and professional manner;
- Abide by the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice, and policies and procedures of the university, the program, and the fieldwork sites;
- Respect and demonstrate sensitivity to the contributions and cultural diversity of peers, faculty, supervisors, other professionals, clients, their significant others, and the public;
- Demonstrate sensitivity to and understanding of the needs, strengths, and diverse performance context of peers, clients, and their significant others;
- Effectively and appropriately participate in the assessment and direction of one's own learning processes and needs;
- Modify one's own behavior/performance in response to feedback from instructors, fieldwork educators, and peers to achieve the learning objectives and the responsibilities of the program and fieldwork sites.
Course syllabi and course objectives for each course and fieldwork experience of the occupational therapy assistant program outline specific learning and performance objectives. The course objectives are available electronically through the Pennsylvania State University WEB site and in print through the occupational therapy assistant program located at the Berks, DuBois, and Mont Alto campuses. They may be made available through other media, upon request to the Office for Disability Services Penn State University Park, PA. 16802, 814-863-1807.
Individuals seeking reasonable accommodations to complete the learning and performance objectives of the occupational therapy assistant program are encouraged contact the Office for Disability Services Penn State University Park, PA. 16802 814-863-1807 or the Disability Coordinator at each of the campuses offering the program.
- Associate in Occupational Therapy