Apr 16, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog Volume XXX Ver 2 
2020-2021 Catalog Volume XXX Ver 2 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Therapy Assistant, AS (Asheville)

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Study in the Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant includes topics in biological science, social science, communications, and mathematics. These courses are prerequisites to core occupational therapy coursework. Students will have access and hands-on opportunities to utilize equipment and supplies reflective of current practice in the geographic location. Integrated into a didactic learning, Level I Fieldwork experiences will provide exposure and guided practice in clinical environments, schools, and community settings. Following successful completion of academic course work, Level II Fieldwork will provide a full-time learning experience under the supervision of an OT practitioner to develop necessary skills for entry level practice.

OTA Program Mission

The mission of the OTA program is to prepare students with the technical knowledge and professional skills required by current and emerging local, state, and national occupational therapy work settings. The program subscribes to high educational standards to facilitate the development of creative problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, and the pursuit of lifelong learning to prepare students with skills to respond to ever changing environments and demands in healthcare. The faculty seeks to foster the growth of compassionate, ethical, and collaborative practitioners who identify the need and value to contribute to the profession and community.

OTA Program Goals

The following goals will represent the hallmark of graduates and will be reflective of the mission of the program and the college as a whole:

  1. Provide a comprehensive and challenging curriculum that prepares students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to function as an entry level occupational therapy assistant in current and emerging practice;
  2. Graduate OTAs who reflect a commitment to the profession’s core values and ethics, lifelong learning, and evidence based practice;
  3. Create a learning atmosphere that is safe and fosters personal and professional growth;
  4. Provide opportunities to develop clinical reasoning through experiential learning and exposure to a variety of professional experiences through partnerships within the occupational therapy community; and
  5. Foster development of the students’ interpersonal and collaborative skills to meet the complex challenges in providing quality client-centered care.

Learning Outcomes

The goal of the OTA program at South College is to develop occupational therapy assistants who possess the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for competent entry-level practice. Upon completion of the program, the graduate should be able to:

  1. Effectively communicate orally and in writing to meet demands and requirements of the profession.
  2. Utilize effective interpersonal skills with clients, families, and interdisciplinary team members.
  3. Review and incorporate evidence based material to deliver best practice.
  4. Exhibit conduct that reflects practice standards that are legal and ethical and integrate Principles of Occupational Therapy Ethics, as defined by the AOTA.
  5. Consistently demonstrate principles and techniques to ensure safety of the patient, oneself, and others.
  6. Employ the occupational therapy process for service delivery and differentiate the roles of occupational therapy practitioners.
  7. Respect client diversity, values, and individual preferences during service delivery.
  8. Analyze activity demands, performance skills, performance patterns, and client factors, within the context of occupational performance.
  9. Demonstrate competence in administration of selected assessments relevant to the role of an occupational therapy assistant.
  10. Select, prioritize, and sequence occupations, purposeful activity, and treatment techniques relevant to the goals and interests of individuals served in occupational therapy settings.
  11. Demonstrate competence in instruction, adapting, and grading of activities and techniques, and modifying environments to meet the needs of clients in their sociocultural context.
  12. Demonstrate clinical reasoning by prioritizing holistic needs of clients and engaging in creative problem solving.
  13. Utilize and teach compensatory strategies when desired life tasks cannot be performed.
  14. Assume roles of leadership and management of occupational therapy services relevant to the role of an entry level occupational therapy assistant.
  15. Understand federal and state regulations and their effect on delivery of occupational therapy and other health services.
  16. Demonstrate an awareness of professional and social responsibility, and advocacy including participation in national and state professional organizations, and community service organizations.
  17. Explore and utilize community resources to promote occupational function of clients in least restrictive environments.

Role of the Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy (OT) improves independence and quality of life for people of all ages. OT practitioners provide intervention in diverse areas including health care, education, and community-based programming. Occupational therapy assistants (OTA) work in collaboration and under the supervision of occupational therapists to serve individuals or groups who experience impairment or loss of ability to participate fully in meaningful occupations due to genetic or chronic conditions, illness, trauma, and psychosocial impairment. OTAs restore the individual’s ability to accomplish tasks they need, want or expect to do through participation in goal-directed activities.

OTA Program Accreditation Status

The South College AS 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 telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-6611 (www.acoteonline.org).

OTA Certification and Licensure

Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) (www.nbcot.org). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain licensure (www.acoteonline.org).

OTA Program Admission Requirements

The OTA program admits to the major curriculum twice per year for Spring quarter and Fall quarter starts. In order to be considered for starts, all admission materials are due to the OTA Department Chair. Review of application materials will begin February 1st for Spring quarter and August 1st for Fall quarter. Applications to the program after the deadline dates will be reviewed if seats are available for the cohort. Cohort admission is based on clinical rotation availability. Prospective students applying for admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program must meet the following requirements:

  1. Completion of the general admission procedures as outlined in the South College catalog including completion of the application to the college, all required forms, payment of application fees, and the completion of a personal interview with an admission representative.
  2. Complete all required prerequisite courses and earn a minimum grade of “C” or better in each course.
  3. Attend a required information/advising session provided by the OTA Department Chair.
  4. Submit the Applicant Checklist Form with Signature of Understanding and the OTA Program Application.
  5. Submit proof of at least eight (8) observation hours in a minimum of two (2) different settings offering occupational therapy using the form provided by the OTA program.
  6. Be able to commit to full attendance and participation in a rigorous educational program which requires class attendance, significant out-of-class preparation time, and clinical education assignments off-campus.

Students applying to the OTA program MUST be aware of the following:

  1. A felony conviction may affect ability to be placed in a clinical facility for education, to sit for the NBCOT Certification Examination, and/or to attain state licensure.
  2. Failure to produce proof of the following and the results in a timely manner will prevent completion of fieldwork courses and will result in termination from the program:
  • Negative TB test
  • Hepatitis B vaccination or waiver
  • Health release to participate in clinical internships. A physician’s certification that a student is in good general health
  • Other immunizations, such as MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella)
  • Annual flu vaccine-if required by the clinical site
  • Current CPR certification
  • Health insurance or signed waiver
  • Criminal background check*
  • Negative drug screen*
  • An additional background check and/or drug test may be required prior to beginning clinical experiences in the program.

Prospective students transferring credit into the OTA program should refer to the policy for transfer of credits and consult with the Dean of Academic and Student Services regarding transferability of credit. There is no guarantee that transfer credit will be given for any courses

Prospective students transferring credit into the OTA program should refer to the policy for transfer of credits and consult with the Dean of Academic and Student Services regarding transferability of credit. There is no guarantee that transfer credit will be given for any courses

Functional Standards For OTA

A candidate for the Occupational Therapy Assistant program must have abilities and skills in five categories: sensory, motor, cognitive, communication, and behavioral/social. Students must be able to perform the following essential functions in an independent manner, with or without reasonable accommodation. Considerations for students with documented disability will be given on an individual basis.

Sensory: Candidates must have functional visual acuity and perception to handle occupational therapy media, lectures, and laboratory activities. Auditory reception is required to participate in lectures and laboratory activities and interpersonal exchanges with instructors, fieldwork supervisors, and clients. Tactile sensation must be functional for activities requiring direct manipulation, such as range of motion or transfer training.

Gross Motor and Fine Motor: Candidates must have environmental accessibility to participate in tours and/or fieldwork experiences at clinical sites. Degrees of gross motor skills for running, jumping, balancing, reaching, lifting, lifting (up to 50 pounds), and bending for games and sensory integration equipment, manual muscle testing, range of motion, and transfers are required for laboratory and fieldwork experiences. Long periods of sitting, standing, or moving are qualities of work components that are expected during participation in full-time academic and fieldwork experiences. Manual dexterity and strength adequate to handle a variety of media and evaluative tools common in the profession is required.

NOTE: The above physical requirements are required to participate in the full scope of Occupational Therapy Assistant education and practice. Limitations may require adaptations or modification in school and/or the workplace. Although these modifications/hardships may be made without major hardship or voids in the academic process, there may be more stringent requirements in selected fieldwork sites, or in the job market. These factors will enter into the student advisement process on an individual basis

The following standards for cognitive, communication, and behavioral/social essential functions cannot be compromised:

Cognitive: Candidates must demonstrate skills for measurement, calculations, reading charts and graphs, and scoring. Clinical reasoning, which is the critical skill required of an OT practitioner, is needed in order to make safe clinical judgments; evaluate relevancy of data and prioritize for clinical decision making; identify need for changes in clinical applications; problem solve creative solutions for specific manifestations of behavior, treatment applications, and environmental modifications; generalize theoretical principles to treatment applications; and integrate and apply theory to practice (i.e., identify needs, establish goals, select appropriate interventions, and evaluate outcomes).

Communication: Candidates must be able to communicate effectively in both academic and fieldwork settings. They must show evidence of effective written and verbal communication skills - such as are needed to interact with instructors, supervisors, and superiors, and patients - individually as well as within a group setting.

Behavioral/Social: Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all academic and fieldwork responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and other members of the health care team are essential. The role of the Occupational Therapy Assistant requires flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, concern for others, and the ability to function in the face of uncertainties and stress inherent in clinical practice.

Termination from Program

Grounds for termination from the AS OTA Program include:

  • Insufficient academic progress.
  • Nonpayment of costs.
  • The conviction and/or known use of, distribution of, or possession of illegal drugs or controlled substances.
  • Failure to comply with rules and/or Code of Conduct.
  • Non-adherence to Attendance Policy.
  • Falsification of application to the college.
  • Unsafe or unethical classroom and clinical behavior.

Failure to meet the minimum grade required for any course will cause disruption in the program rotation, thus causing dismissal from the program. Any student wishing to reapply to the program must contact the Department Chair. The Department Chair will then initiate a formal review process. Following the review, students will either remain terminated or be allowed to re-enter during the next rotation on a space available basis. Only under severe mitigating circumstances will a student be reinstated into the program more than one time.

Voluntary Withdrawal

If a student voluntarily withdraws, there will be no guarantee that he/she will be readmitted. Re-admission will be based on results of the formal review process, scheduling, and space availability. Before voluntary withdrawal from any class, the OTA student should see the OTA Department Chair to determine the best course of action, since withdrawing may interrupt or stop continued education in the OTA program.

AS Occupational Therapy Assistant Curriculum: 121 Credits


Courses in BOLD must be completed prior to admission to OTA major courses. *One of the following can be completed after admittance to the major curriculum - COM 1261  Effective Speaking or PSY 1811  General Psychology or an Approved Humanities.

Fieldwork II must be completed within 18 months following completion of the didactic portion of the curriculum.

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