Which Colleges Offer Occupational Therapy Assistant Online Degree Programs?

Due to the clinical nature of the field, occupational therapy assistant online programs typically are not available. Hybrid programs are extremely rare, but there are several school options for on-campus programs to prepare for an OTA career. Schools offering Occupational Therapy Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Schools

Occupational therapy assistant (OTA) schools are available throughout the country and provide students with undergraduate degree programs in the field. Typically, OTA programs are available at the associate's degree level. Due to the hands-on nature of the field, online OTA programs are pretty much non-existent, and hybrid programs are rare. In the table below, you can explore a handful of occupational therapy assistant schools, their program format, and degree level in the field.

SchoolLocationProgram FormatDegree Level
St. Catherine UniversitySaint Paul, MNHybridAssociate's
Pima Medical InstituteDenver, CO (multiple locations)On-campusAssociate's
South CollegeKnoxville, TN (multiple locationsOn-campusAssociate's
University of Southern IndianaEvansville, INOn-campusAssociate's
Indiana Wesleyan UniversityMarion, INOn-campusAssociate's
Trinity Washington UniversityWashington, D.C.On-campusBachelor's

Source: School websites

Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree Programs

As mentioned, OTA programs are commonly offered as associate's degree programs. These programs typically take 2 to 2.5 years to complete and usually result in an Associate of Science (AS) degree. The programs help prepare students to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam that qualifies them to be 'Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants' (COTAs). Students practice hands-on skills through fieldwork and/or practicum experiences and may take courses in topics such as:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Occupational performance
  • Management for OTAs
  • Communication
  • Medical terminology

Although they are not as common, there are bachelor's degree programs available in OTA. These programs may be offered as a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program and may require students to complete general education and prerequisite requirements before applying to the OTA portion of the program. Bachelor's degree programs also help prepare students for the NBCOT exam and/or could be one of several major options for aspiring occupational therapists.

Online OTA Programs

Online occupational therapy assistant programs are extremely rare. In fact, there are very few, if any, schools that offer online physical therapy assistant programs or other kinds of therapy programs, due to the clinical requirements of these fields. Although also extremely rare, there are some hybrid OTA programs available.

These hybrid programs may be about 80% online with online courses, but then require students to complete their lab and fieldwork experiences in-person. These programs still prepare students for the NBCOT exam and cover many of the same topics as on-campus programs.

What Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Do?

Occupational therapy assistants work under the supervision of an occupational therapist but can help provide therapy directly to patients. They may lead patients through therapeutic activities, as well as perform various administrative tasks for the occupational therapist. Other job duties may include:

  • Teaching patients different stretches and exercises
  • Recording progress and other notes
  • Demonstrating how to use therapy equipment
  • Evaluating patients' activities
  • Reporting any changes to the occupational therapist

How Much Does an Occupational Therapy Assistant Make?

As of May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that occupational therapy assistants made an average annual salary of $60,410. Most of these assistants worked in the offices of other health practitioners and made an average of $60,540, but those OTAs that worked in other ambulatory health care services made the most with an average of $68,290.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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