Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

Occupational Therapy Assistant header art

This full-time accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant educational program prepares individuals to work in a health profession which helps people of all ages prevent, lessen and overcome disabilities.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at South Suburban College is to serve our students by providing a quality and personally challenging educational experience while preparing for employment as entry level occupational therapy practitioners in a variety of diverse and challenging healthcare and social environments. The program provides students with the essential personal and professional skills to effectively practice as entry level Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants by providing a “Process” that emphasizes ethical, client centered and evidence-based practice rooted in core values and lifelong learning. The “Process” embraces a diverse student population to facilitate a learning community that reflects a culturally diverse society and an appreciation of individual’s unique set of circumstances to successfully engage in purposeful and meaningful occupations.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

The mission and philosophy of the SSC Occupational Therapy Assistant Program’s “Process” serves as the framework for the rigorous, holistic and comprehensive curriculum that ensures student success, personal and professional responsibility through the following program goals:

  • To Recognize and utilize the diverse attributes and talents of the SSC student population to foster the provision of occupational therapy services in an ever changing diverse socioeconomic and cultural healthcare, vocational and educational environment.
  • To prepare students for entry-level employment, certification and state licensure/registration.
  • To prepare graduates to address and respond to challenges within the field of Occupational Therapy and healthcare by recognizing the need for involvement in professional and civic organizations that promote and support the field of Occupational Therapy.
  • To encourage students to take personal responsibility in the areas of psychosocial and physical health, wellness and prevention of occupational dysfunction.
  • To provide students with the interpersonal and technical skills necessary to collaborate with the occupational therapist and other members of the healthcare/educational team in providing occupational therapy services that reflect client centered occupation based intervention in accordance with the profession’s core values, standards and ethics.

The total number of graduates from the South Suburban College Occupational Therapy Assistant program during the 3-year period of 2020-2022, 26 graduating and graduation rate of 72%. (Please note that some students complete their final internship after December 31st of the calendar year reported.).

Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
2020 12/10 83%
2021 13/10 77%
2022 11/06 55%
Total 36/26 72%

Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online.

Upon successful completion of all academic and fieldwork requirements, students receive an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree. 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). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) and is eligible to apply for credentialing throughout the United States.

Prior to enrolling in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, students are advised to review the applicable state credentialing procedures and requirements to ensure that they are eligible to receive state credentialing following completion of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at South Suburban College. Eligibility to sit for the NBCOT Certification Exam may be limited by the results of a criminal background investigation. Individuals who have been charged with or convicted of a felony and/or have had any other professional license revoked or suspended or have been found by any court to have committed malpractice, negligence or recklessness are advised to seek an Early Determination Review from NBCOT to determine their eligibility.

NOTE: Criminal background checks are required for all admitted students for fieldwork. Additionally, students may be subjected to fingerprinting and/or drug screening for specific fieldwork sites.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program begins in the summer semester. Students applying to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program must complete all OTA program prerequisites prior to the application deadline of February 1st. General education courses must be completed prior to starting the program. Be advised that BIO 185 and BIO 186 must be completed within the last 5 years to satisfy program requirements.

Prospective students should submit an SSC Application form and forward all official high school (or HSE/GED®) transcripts, as well as official college transcripts to the Office of Admissions no later than February 1st for credit evaluation. General education course transcripts must be submitted prior to the start of the summer semester.

Students that have completed the necessary prerequisite courses can submit the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Application form by mail or in person to the Allied Health & Career Programs in Room 4469L. The deadline for prerequisite course completion and application to be considered for the summer class each year is February 1st. Late applications will not be accepted.

A photocopy of the student’s current health care insurance must be submitted to each respective program coordinator in order to participate at any clinical education site. Failure to maintain comprehensive health care insurance will result in the student being immediately withdrawn from the clinical site and thereby receiving a failing grade in the clinical education class. Furthermore, the student will be financially responsible to pay all medical bills and copayments as a result of injuries or health issues that arise from participation of clinical education programs.

Admission Process Placement

The OTA program has a selective admissions process. Specific eligibility criteria are used to evaluate each applicant to admit those students with highest likelihood of success. Admissions to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program will be determined by the following criteria:

  1. Cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or better on program prerequisites.
  2. Minimum score of 75% on the Health Professions Examination.
  3. Consideration will be given for individuals with college degrees in other areas as well as military and /or related work experience.
  4. Completion of general education courses with a ”C” or better.

Admission to the College does not guarantee admission to the program.

Students will be notified of status by mail after April 30th. The SSC OTA program does not wait list applicants from one year to the next; therefore, applicants who are not selected must reapply for successive years.

All students must demonstrate a minimum math competency equivalent to Elementary Algebra (MTH 095) to fulfill the AAS degree requirement as well as complete all general education and OTA Program coursework with a “C” or better to progress to successive semesters, including fieldwork.

Overview for College Success

Overview for College Success (OCS 121) is a course is designed to assist students in the navigation of becoming successful in college and life. Major topics include setting academic, career and personal goals; effective communication strategies; study skills; critical thinking; self-discovery; and learning styles. In addition, this course delves into topics such as stress management, diversity and other well-being topics. Students will develop educational and career plans, learn to utilize college resources and receive extensive help in course planning. OCS 121 credit is not calculated in the course minimum credit totals listed in this section.

Students must take OCS 121 if they meet one or more of the following:

  • First time degree seeking students.
  • Transfer student with less than 12 credit hours and no evidence of similar course on transcript.
  • Registering for 6 or more credits.
  • Test into 2 or more developmental classes.
  • Currently does not have OCS credit or registered for OCS.


Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree (OTA.AAS)

Overview for College Success CREDITS
OCS 121 Overview for College Success 1
Prerequisites for Admission to the OTA Program
BIO 185 Human Anatomy & Physiology I 4
OTA 101 Introduction to Occupational Therapy 3
PSY 101 Introduction to Psychology 3
ART 112
ART 110
ART 109
Three-Dimensional Design
Metals and Jewelry
Ceramics I
General Education Requirements
ENG 101 Composition & Rhetoric 3
PSY 206
PSY 211
Three-Dimensional Design Abnormal Psychology
Human Growth & Development
BIO 186 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4
SPE 108 Oral Communication 3
HIT 102 Fundamentals of Medical Terminology 1

Once admitted, students must complete a physical and submit to a criminal background check. All students must be certified in CPR and hold a current card throughout the entire program.

Professional/Career Education Requirements

Summer Semester
OTA 108 Foundations of Occupational Therapy 2
Fall Semester
OTA 102 Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy 4
OTA 103 Practice Skills & Techniques I 4
OTA 104 Occupational Therapy Fieldwork I 2
OTA 105 Occupational Therapy Interactions 2
OTA 210 Practice Skills & Techniques II 3
Spring Semester
OTA 201 Principles of Psychosocial Dysfunction 3
OTA 202 Principles of Physical Dysfunction 4
OTA 203 Principles of Developmental Dysfunction 4
OTA 204 Occupational Therapy Fieldwork II 2
OTA 205 Professional Issues in OT 2
Summer Semester
OTA 212 Occupational Therapy Internship I 5
Fall Semester
OTA 213 Occupational Therapy Internship II 5
Minimum for Degree: 69