Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

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 the graduation requirements of the college. Courses are scheduled sequentially for four semesters and two summer sessions. The OTA program is cohort-based. Students are expected to advance through the required curriculum each semester in the established sequence. 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 courses. The introduction to clinical practice courses, OTA 122, 132, and 142, requires 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 two semesters, requiring completion of 320 hours in each assigned setting, to be completed during regular business hours, Monday-Friday. Students must be prepared to begin these rotations on a full- time basis in accordance with the program sequence. These clinical rotations each have a separate and required on-campus seminar course, each for 27 hours. Start dates for each student may vary based on site availability. All efforts are made to place eligible students in fieldwork sites as soon as sites are available. All students must complete Level II fieldwork within 18 months of completion of the didactic component of the program. In addition to graduation eligibility, fieldwork eligibility requires having current documentation on file for physical examinations, 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 ($900); lab fees ($300); 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. All clinical fieldwork must be completed in California. 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. Lab practical examinations are given to establish skill competence. Students must pass all lab practicals in order to pass a course. Courses in the OTA Program may include discussion of issues such as race, religion, sexuality, disability, and gender as related to the course content.

Additional program requirements are outlined in the OTA Program Handbook provided to all students during the program orientation. These requirements and expectations are reviewed in the orientation and, as applicable, in each program course. Failure to meet all program requirements, perform lab and/or clinical skills safely with competence, or demonstrate legal and ethical behaviors may result in disciplinary actions and/or dismissal from the program.

Accreditation/Certification: Program accreditation standards drive the program’s curriculum and the majority of the program requirements. 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 important facts about the program. These meetings address critical factors for student success, including planning related to educational requirements, finances, transportation, release from work, and support needs. All interested students are strongly encouraged to attend. For dates, times, and other information, visit the program website at www.scc.losrios.edu/ota/.

About Fieldwork Requirements: Students must be prepared to attend clinical fieldwork activities during the 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 two semesters 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 several months to complete depending on individual circumstances. Success on the national certification exam is dependent on timely program completion. While students have up to 18 months to complete their Level II fieldwork to account for contingencies that may arise, prompt completion of this requirement supports student success on this high-cost examination. Students must pay full price for each examination attempt.

About Recency of OTA Courses: All courses with an OTA designator (except OTA 100) must have been completed within the last five years at the time of petitioning for graduation. This time frame is consistent with recency requirements for completion of the national exam and for licensure to practice in California. Students who do not meet this qualification must meet with the Program Coordinator and the Division Dean to review individual circumstances.

About Transfer Students: Students from other accredited OT or OTA programs may apply to transfer to the Sacramento City College OTA Program. Students must first apply to the program and be accepted before transfer credits are reviewed. Students must submit the following in order to complete a transfer credit review: transcripts, course syllabi, and a letter of introduction from the director of the program where the student was previously enrolled. Any OT/OTA coursework older than five years will not be considered for transfer. The review of transfer credit requires five to six weeks and cannot be completed if the materials provided are incomplete. A review of the proposed transfer courses does not imply or guarantee acceptance of the coursework. 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.

About Felony Convictions: 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.

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 – Effective for the Class Entering Fall 2019

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

  • Students must be eligible for graduation with the exception of OTA coursework.
  • Completion of AH 106, AH 110, AH 301 or ANTH 310 or SOC 300, BIOL 100 or BIOL 430 and BIOL 431, LIBR 307, NUTRI 300 or FCS 340 or HEED 300, OTA 100, PSYC 300 or PSYC 480, and PSYC 370 or FCS 324 with grades of “C” or better. BIOL 100 or BIOL 430 and BIOL 431 and PSYC 300 or equivalent courses must have been completed within the last 10 years at the time of application to the program.
  • Completion of SCC general education courses in the following areas: Area I – Humanities, Area II(b)- Communication and Analytical Thinking, Area III(a)- Physical Education, Area V(a)- American Institutions, and Area VI- Ethnic/Multicultural Studies.
  • Completion of SCC graduation competencies for reading, writing, and math.
  • Students must have an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Courses passed with a grade “P” or “CR” will be calculated into the student’s GPA as a “C” grade.
  • Students with in-progress coursework must show proof of enrollment at the time of application and submit proof of successful completion at the end of the semester to retain eligibility. Wait-listed courses are not eligible.
  • All official transcripts and approved course substitution forms for courses completed outside of the Los Rios Community College District must be on file with the SCC Admissions & Records office at the time of application.

Application Process

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

  • Interested students are strongly encouraged to attend a program information meeting prior to applying to the program. Dates and times can be found on the program website at http://www.scc.losrios.edu/ota/. In addition, those who have previously attended an information meeting must monitor the program web site to ensure they have the most current information as requirements may have changed. Students may also attend additional information meetings.
  • The program will implement a wait list effective Fall 2019. Qualified applicants will be notified of their placement on the list and their projected enrollment year. Once placed on the waitlist, the student is required to submit a renewal application each year to retain their eligibility and place on the list until they are enrolled in the program.
  • New applications and renewal 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/. All application types are accepted once a year and are submitted only online. New applicants must submit a complete and qualified application in order to be considered. New applicants must also submit proof of enrollment for in-progress courses in PDF format only, and transcripts for completed coursework must be on file in the SCC Admissions & Records department at the time of application. Renewal applicants must confirm each year that they would like to retain their eligibility on the waitlist.
  • When the number of applicants to a program exceeds the available seats, a random selection process is used to determine the roster of the incoming class, per California Education Code. Students who have submitted complete and qualified applications in prior sequential years will receive entries in the random selection equal to the number of years applied to establish the initial wait list during Fall 2019. Failure to meet any requirements will result in the application being categorized as a new application. The order of annual additions to the waitlist will be determined by random selection.
  • Selected students who decline their seat in the next cohort will need to re-apply as a new applicant during the next application cycle to return to the wait list.
  • Students selected to enter the program will be expected to fulfill additional requirements prior to their first semester to maintain their eligibility for enrollment. Examples of these requirements include completion of a background check, drug screen, physical examination, immunizations, CPR and HIPAA training; and purchase of malpractice insurance and a medical document manager subscription. Detailed instructions are provided at the time of eligibility notification. Costs of these requirements are the student’s responsibility. This list is not fully inclusive and is subject to change without notice.

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.OTA
  • demonstrate active involvement in professional development, leadership, and advocacy.

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.