Occupational Therapy Assistant

Associate in Science Degree (AS)

An Associate in Science Degree can be obtained by completion of the required Occupational Therapy Assistant program requirements. The degree includes Occupational Therapy Assistant courses (43.5 units), Allied Health courses (5 units), and specific general education and science courses required for the program (18.5-25.5 units). Students must also take additional courses to meet graduation requirements of the college. Courses are scheduled sequentially for four semesters and two summer sessions. The shortest time to complete all requirements of the program would be two years after admission to the program. The Allied Health and OTA courses are offered Monday through Thursday in the evening and on Saturdays, with the exception of clinical fieldwork, which is scheduled during weekday business hours. Supervised clinical fieldwork experiences are integrated throughout the program. Students must complete fieldwork as a corequisite to academic course. The introduction to clinical practice courses, OTA 122, 132, and 142, require 40 hours of fieldwork (with 14 hours on-campus seminar for each class); OTA 152 requires 20 hours of fieldwork (with 7 hours on-campus seminar). There are two required full-time fieldwork experiences that take place during the student’s final semester, requiring completion of 320 hours in each setting, to be completed during regular business hours, Monday-Friday. These clinical rotations each have a separate and required on-campus seminar course, each for 27 hours. (Note: Due to site availability and unforeseen circumstances, not all sites may be assigned on the first day of the semester. All efforts are made to place students in fieldwork sites as soon as sites are available.) Fieldwork requires completion of a physical examination, immunizations, a TB test, current CPR certification for health personnel (level C), background check, fingerprinting, and drug screening. Fieldwork sites may have additional requirements specific to their site.

In addition to college enrollment fees, other estimated costs include: books and supplies ($850); lab fees ($100); background check and drug screening ($100); physical examinations and immunizations ($175); malpractice insurance ($30); fingerprinting ($150); and fees and related requirements for certification test and licensure ($850). Some clinical sites require that students have health and/or automobile insurance as a condition of acceptance for fieldwork placement. Students must also plan for travel costs to and from the clinical facilities, many of which are outside the Sacramento area. While all efforts are made to place students in locations near their residence, students need to be prepared to travel long distances to complete their fieldwork experiences. Some students may need to arrange for housing during the full-time fieldwork. The costs listed above are based on current fees and are subject to change without notice.

Students in the OTA Program will be required to practice skills on each other in a laboratory setting with instructor supervision. Courses in the OTA Program may include discussion of issues such as race, religion, sexuality, disability, and gender as related to the course content.

Accreditation/Certification: The 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, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s phone number, via AOTA, is (301) 652-AOTA, and their web address is www.acoteonline.org. Graduates of the program will be able to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), located at 12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150. NBCOT’s phone number is (301) 990-7979, and their web address is www.nbcot.org. After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Upon successful completion of the NBCOT Examination, graduates intending to practice in California are required to be licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy (CBOT), located at 2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 2050, Sacramento, CA 95815. Additional information about these practice regulations can be found at www.bot.ca.gov or by contacting the Board at (916) 263-2294.

Additional Information

About the Program: Informational meetings are held several times each semester and provide prospective students with information on program prerequisites, enrollment process, and other facts about the program. For information call (916) 558-2271 or visit the program website at http://www.scc.losrios.edu/ota/.

About Fieldwork Requirements: Students must be prepared to attend clinical fieldwork activities during weekday and daytime hours. Evening and weekend fieldwork is not available. Students are responsible for securing transportation to assigned clinical sites to complete the fieldwork component of the program. While all efforts are made to place students in geographically convenient areas, students need to be prepared to travel long distances to complete their fieldwork experiences in some settings. Due to the nature of clinical fieldwork placement, requests for placement on public transit lines are not available. The last semester of the program requires full-time clinical fieldwork during which students are unable to work in outside employment. Part-time placement is not available except for documented medical accommodations. Students should develop a financial plan that enables them to complete this required component of the program, which can take five to six months to complete.

The Sacramento City College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program reserves the right to make changes in the enrollment criteria, academic requirements, grading standards, and other processes without notice at any time.

Enrollment Eligibility

To be eligible for enrollment in the program, the student must meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of AH 110, and BIOL 100 or BIOL 430 and 431, OTA 100, and PSYC 370 or FCS 324 with grades of “C” or better and a cumulative GPA of 2.5 in these four (4) courses. Completion of ENGRD 110 with a grade of “C” or better or eligibility for ENGRD 310 as determined by the reading assessment process for all applicants who do not have an Associate Degree or higher. BIOL 100 or BIOL 430 and 431 or equivalent courses must have been completed within the last 10 years.
  • Courses passed with a grade “P” or “CR” will be calculated into the student’s GPA as a “C” grade.

Enrollment Process

Eligible students are selected for the program according to the following steps:

  • Applications to the program must be submitted by the posted due date, which can be found on the program website at http://www.scc.losrios.edu/ota/.
  • When the number of applicants exceeds the available seats, a random selection process is used to determine the roster of the incoming class.
  • All students accepted into the OTA Program must complete a background check and drug screen. Not a condition of acceptance, this helps identify the need for career-based counseling with the OTA Program Coordinator and/or the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Clinical sites may request this information as a condition of fieldwork placement. NOTE: A felony conviction may affect eligibility to sit for the national exam and/or complete the licensure process in California. For more information about an “Early Determination” review for the national exam, contact the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Their web address is www.nbcot.org. For more information about California licensure, contact the California Board of Occupational Therapy (CBOT). Their web address is www.bot.ca.gov.
  • Transfer students: Students from other accredited OTA programs may apply to transfer to the Sacramento City College OTA Program. Acceptance to the program depends upon evidence of completion of equivalent academic and/or clinical coursework and upon space availability in the program. Students requesting a transfer review must submit the following: transcripts, course syllabi, and a letter of introduction from the director of the program where the student was previously enrolled. Students should submit a written request to the OTA Program Coordinator and allow five to six weeks for processing. Incoming transfer students are subject to skills and theory testing to confirm current competency prior to final course placement. Students may not transfer to take only the Level II fieldwork courses.

Career Opportunities

This program prepares the student for employment as an occupational therapy assistant. Occupational therapy assistants work with people of all ages who, because of physical, cognitive, developmental, social, or emotional problems, need specialized assistance in order to lead independent, productive, and satisfying lives. They may work in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, school systems, psychiatric hospitals, private practice outpatient clinics, and emerging practice areas.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • recognize the theoretical frames of reference from which the practice of occupational therapy is derived.
  • demonstrate fundamental skills in the use of evidence to guide practice and participate in research activities as directed.
  • describe occupational therapy programs and practice as currently organized in health care delivery systems.
  • describe emerging and non-traditional practice areas and define the role of the OTA in these settings.
  • analyze tasks and environments to assess their therapeutic qualities and constraints.
  • perform evaluation procedures selected according to OTA practice guidelines.
  • assist in developing occupational therapy intervention plans.
  • implement an intervention plan to engage clients in purposeful activities related to occupation.
  • document factual client data for oral and written communication, using either traditional methods or new technologies.
  • maintain records and reports including counter-signatures, as guided by regulations for confidentiality, reimbursement, and quality assurance.
  • revise and implement OT intervention plans in ongoing collaboration with the supervising OT.
  • assess factors that warrant change or discontinuation of an established intervention plan, in collaboration with the supervising OT.
  • manage supplies and equipment necessary for OT intervention, demonstrating safety and appropriate infection control procedures.
  • access, reference, and abide by all state regulations.
  • locate, reference, and abide by all federal regulations, including HIPAA and ADA guidelines.
  • apply the OT Code of Ethics as an element of all professional interactions and service provision.
  • adhere to all OT department and agency policies and procedures.
  • explain the definition and role of occupational therapy to consumers and other health practitioners.
  • discuss how socio-cultural diversity may influence the therapeutic process.
  • demonstrate actions that reflect non-judgmental attitudes and values toward patient/clients, staff, and family members in professional situations.
  • exhibit behaviors that respect the client’s basic rights to quality service with minimum risk of further injury or insult.
  • demonstrate an attitude of professional responsibility for self-directed learning as a life-long process for acquiring new knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and refining clinical reasoning.

Associate in Science Degree

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate in Science (A.S.) degree may be obtained by completion of the required program, plus general education requirements, plus sufficient electives to meet a 60-unit total. See SCC graduation requirements.