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Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)

Are you interested in working in a healthcare environment where you can be creative? Does the idea of teaching clients how to adjust to life with a health condition appeal to you? Do you want a career that is challenging, rewarding and in high demand?

If any of these match your goals, a career as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) may be a great fit for you!

Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) help people learn the necessary skills to live independent, productive lives. They provide services to individuals whose abilities to cope with the tasks of daily living are threatened or impaired by developmental deficits, the aging process, physical injury or illness or psychological or social disability.

As an occupational therapy assistant (OTA), your work focuses on the use of purposeful activity with individuals who are limited by physical injury or illness, psychosocial dysfunction, developmental or learning disabilities, poverty and cultural differences or the aging process, in order to maximize independence, prevent disability, and maintain health. Specific OT services include: teaching daily living skills; developing motor skills and sensory functioning; developing play/leisure skills and work capacities; designing, fabricating, or applying selected devices or adaptive equipment; using specifically designed crafts and exercises to enhance functional performance; administering assessments; and adapting environments for the handicapped. These services are provided individually, in groups, or through social systems. (Adopted from the American Occupational Therapy Association.)

What are the features of Casper’s program?

The occupational therapy assistant program at Casper College is six semesters in length in which students complete five consecutive semesters of required academic course work, plus two eight-week fieldwork placements. The sequence begins with the fall semester and progresses through two years including one summer session. The courses build on information from previous semesters. After completion of academic course work, fieldwork is completed. Our faculty/student ratio of 1:12 means you receive more individual attention from instructors.

The OTA program is not a distance education program. Two prerequisite courses are offered completely online, face to face, or hybrid, a combination of the two. This gives students flexibility to explore the OTA program. Once a student is admitted into the OTA program, there are several hybrid classes and some courses are also available online. Students will use Moodle, the Learning Management System, in conjunction with field work assignments, to facilitate communication between the academic fieldwork coordinator and students. The faculty also utilizes Moodle to house learning materials for students and enhance classroom instruction. Technical support and training are available to any student using Moodle.

What can I do with this major?

Employment info

The occupational therapy assistant program is an associate of science degree major designed to prepare students to obtain employment as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA); or a related field.

Occupational Therapy Assistants work in a wide variety of settings, however, they are primarily employed in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation hospitals, community programs and public schools. Our graduates enjoy a high percentage of employability within months after graduation. Over 85% of our graduates are currently employed as COTAs.

The salary for entry level OTAs in this area (Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska) is usually $25-33 per hour.

What are the costs associated with this program?

Below are the estimated semester-by-semester costs for students in the Casper College occupational therapy assistant program. Note: This assumes the in-state tuition rate; not out-of-state or WUE. Fees are subject to change. Housing, meals, and fieldwork costs are not included.

SemesterTuitionStudent feeBooks and suppliesSub-Total
Fall Year 1$2,446$758$2,905$6,109
Spring Year 1$2,162$485$524$3,171
Summer Year 1$959$75$480$1,514
Fall Year 2$2,025$103$567$2,695
Spring Year 2$2,436$60$647$3,143
Summer Year 2$822$0$0$822 (Students are off campus during this time, completing their level II fieldwork rotations.)
Total$17,454

Are there any financial aid opportunities or scholarships available?

Yes. Many Casper College students receive financial assistance each year through grants, loans, work study opportunities and scholarships or a combination of these. Find out more about financial aid opportunities, scholarships and grants on our Cost and Financial Aid page.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

Students are provisionally accepted during their first fall semester. Then, at the beginning of the second semester, interviews are conducted and the available slots are filled. If the number of applicants exceeds the 24 available spaces students may be placed on a waiting list. The program requires completion of 76 semester hours. The last semester is spent working under the supervision of a practicing therapist for two 8-week sessions.

What courses would I take?

For requirements and more information about this program, view its listing in the academic catalog:

Accreditation

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program began offering class in 1996 and graduated its first class in 1997. Initial accreditation was obtained in 1997.

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Casper College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Pass Rates.

Feedback from fieldwork sites and employers indicated the graduates are well prepared for the positions they have been hired to work. The Casper College Occupational Therapy Assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. The AOTA’s phone number and website are 301-652-AOTA (2682),  www.acoteonline.org.

NOTE:  To ensure that occupational therapy practitioners meet ethical and professional standards prior to entering the profession, all applicants for initial certification are required to provide information and documentation related to any illegal, unethical or incompetent behavior.  Persons with a felony history may not be eligible to sit for the certification examination.  When you apply to write the certification examination with the National Board of Certification of Occupational Therapy, you will be asked to answer questions related to the topic of felonies.  For further information on these limitations, you can contact NBCOT at:

Graduation Year = 2021

  • Students entering/graduating = 12/6
  • Graduation rate = 50%
  • Number of students completing NBCOT exam in year of graduation = 7
  • NBCOT pass rates = 100%

Total Number of students entered/graduated: 72/40

Graduation rate:  55%

Graduation Year = 2020

  • Students entering/graduating = 10/7
  • Graduation rate = 70%
  • Number of students completing NBCOT exam in year of graduation = 2
  • NBCOT pass rates = 100%

Graduation Year = 2019

  • Students entering/graduating = 12/8
  • Graduation rate = 66%
  • Number of students completing NBCOT exam in year of graduation = 12
  • NBCOT pass rates = 100%

Program outcomes

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program will graduate students who are able to:

  1. Demonstrate adaptation and mastery over academic challenges as demonstrated by successfully completing their education at the associate level to earn their Associate of Science degree, in Occupational Therapy Assistant.
  2. Demonstrate mastery of academic and experiential learning and apply this knowledge to successfully pass the National Board of Certification of Occupational Therapy exam.
  3. Demonstrate professionalism and life-long learning by obtaining and maintaining licensure in the state of Wyoming and/or their chosen state of practice.
  4. Demonstrate integrity and professionalism while following American Occupational Therapy Association’s Code of Ethics, which is essential to work as a generalist occupational therapy assistant.
  5. Appreciate and implement evidence-based practice through client centered, occupation-based activities when serving the needs of a person, population and community.
  6.  Are self-directed, adaptive, and holistic generalist practitioners.
  7. Are lifelong learners and demonstrate stewardship to the occupational therapy  profession, populations served, and their communities.

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Contact Info

Lupe Kerr

Academic Assistant, School of Health Science

Cassady Hoff

Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Director

Jeff McCarty

Dean, School of Health Science