Associate Degree

Occupational Therapy Assistant

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program prepares graduates to practice as an entry-level generalist occupational therapy assistant with children, adults and the elderly in a variety of practice settings, including but not limited to hospitals, schools, mental health facilities and skilled nursing facilities. A certified occupational therapy assistant helps people achieve independence and learn to live productive lives through the use of meaningful activities and life roles.

You Will Learn

This degree program prepares you to meet the eligibility requirements to take the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Certification Examination offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), and to meet the requirements of those states that call for additional steps to obtain occupational therapy licensing.

  • To demonstrate a thorough understanding of human occupation throughout the lifespan and its impact upon development and health and wellness for individuals and populations of diverse cultural, socioeconomical and environmental backgrounds
  • To demonstrate knowledge of the function of the human body
  • To describe and apply occupational therapy ethics, theory and models of practice
  • To administer treatments, assessments and screenings using appropriate procedures and protocols under the direction of an occupational therapist

Admissions Requirements

  • Secondary school courses: one unit of high school biology and algebra with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. A GPA of 3.0 or higher and SAT or ACT scores are preferred. If not completed in secondary school, students are able to complete the above pre-requsites at Central Penn.
    • Additional requirements apply to transfer students or students that have been out of High School for more than five years. Please contact an admissions counselor at (800) 759-2727 for more information.
  • Observation hours: While not required, up to 20 observation hours may be added to your application.
  • Recommendation letters: two professional recommendations; letters must be submitted to Admissions.
  • Background checks: PA State Police, FBI, PA Child Abuse History Clearance; drug testing may be required
  • In-person interview

Internship/Capstone Experience

As a career-oriented college and as an addition to our hands-on curriculum, Central Penn requires all students to complete an internship as part of their academic program. The OTA program refers to this requirement as fieldwork. This opportunity allows students to participate and experience their future careers in the real world. Students enrolling in the OTA program will be required to participate in Level I Fieldwork Experiences in conjunction with coursework, and 16 weeks of Level II Fieldwork Experiences at the conclusion of the program.

Potential Careers

Once Central Penn obtains accreditation of the OTA program, graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant, administered by 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.

Program Accreditation

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Developing Program Status 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/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA.

Middle States Accreditation

Central Penn College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (Ph: 267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.


For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please click here.

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Video Spotlight

Video Spotlight

It Takes Occupational Therapy

This broadly focused presentation opened The American Occupational Therapy Association's (AOTA's) 2003 Annual Conference & Expo to tremendous applause. It serves as a wonderful overview of what Occupational Therapy Assistants do on a day-to-day basis.

Program Documents

Graduate Success