Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)


Apply to the Program by Completing the OTA Application Packet (Required)

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The Associate in Applied Science Degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant is offered at two community colleges through Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market. 12-13 students are admitted from each college for an entering total of 25. Admitted students take general education courses on their own campuses and OTA courses together in a central laboratory. After classes and fieldwork internship are completed, they graduate at their entering college.

The OTA courses have both lecture and hands-on laboratory components. The majority of the OTA courses are direct face-to-face classes.  One course in the first semester and one course in the fourth semester are online. During the program, students will develop entry-level competencies necessary to provide services to persons of all ages who have functional loss due to physical, neurological, social/emotional, cognitive, or developmental disabilities.

The profession tailors rehabilitation individually for each client. Through evaluation and treatment, it seeks to restore or improve function in occupational performance. Treatment is provided within the context of the client’s life environments and relationships. Occupation may be defined as the ordinary things people do each day to work, to play, and to take care of themselves. Occupational therapy is based on the idea that our personal identity and feeling of value is closely tied to what we are able to do. We all choose many “occupational” roles that are important to us and make us excited to engage in life. When our function becomes impaired, we may lose both our independence and sense of self-worth.

The practice of OT utilizes the therapeutic use of purposeful and meaningful occupations in treatment, as well as focusing on these occupations as the goal of treatment. OT intervention may include restoration of performance abilities; instruction in compensatory techniques; adaptation of tasks, processes, or environments; disability prevention techniques; and health promotion strategies. Occupational therapy assistants, under the supervision of an occupational therapist, will directly work with persons to achieve a maximum level of independent living by developing the capacities that remain after disease, accident, or other disability.

OT serves a diverse population in a wide variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, facilities for rehabilitation, extended, and long-term care; sheltered workshops, schools, camps, private homes, physician’s offices, community programs, and private practice.

Admission Requirements

Persons seeking admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant program must meet the following criteria:

  • Meet all admission policies and complete all required admission forms of the college.
  • Be a graduate of an approved high school or demonstrate equivalent competency (GED examination).
  • Take the Health Occupation Aptitude Examination – Revised.
  • Submit a completed OTA application form and any official college transcripts to the college by March 31st.
  • Submit to a criminal background check and drug testing after admission into the program.

Accreditation Status

The SICCM 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. ACOTE’s phone number is c/o AOTA 301-652-AOTA. Program graduates will qualify to sit for the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT) national certification examination. This computer-delivered examination will be delivered on-demand, after determining eligibility. Successful completion of this exam confers the title of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Illinois and most states additionally require licensure to practice, usually basing this on the NBCOT exam results. A felony conviction may adversely affect ability to sit for the NBCOT exam and/or attain state licensure.


Career Clusters: Health Science

Career Pathways: Therapeutic Services

Possible Career Opportunities: Acute Care Occupational Therapy Assistant, Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA), Certified Occupational, Therapist Assistant/Licensed (COTA/L), Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA), Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant-Licensed (COTA-L), Licensed Occupational Therapy Assistant, Occupational Therapist Assistant, Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA), School Based Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Staff Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant/Licensed (Staff COTA/L)


Total projected program cost – $13,430/$13,570.00
Books not included in total projected program cost


Contact for More Information

Admissions and Advising
Email: admissions@shawneecc.edu
Toll Free: 1-800-481-2242
Phone:     (618) 634-3200