Occupational Therapy Assistant

This Selective Program has a competitive entry selection process based on a competitive point system. Application requirements are included in the description below.

Associate of Applied Science

The Occupational 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. AOTA’s phone number is 301-652-2682. Visit them online at: http://www.aota.org/Education-Careers/Accreditation.aspx.

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). This two-year program prepares individuals for careers as Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA). In Texas, the COTA must obtain state licensure to practice under the supervision of a registered Occupational Therapist (OTR). This program has a Competitive Entry selection process based on a competitive point system.

The mandate of the profession is to assist patients to develop life skills by providing services with the ultimate goal of increasing their performance and participation in desired daily occupations. The recipients of therapy are those who have encountered problems that interfere with their ability to function in any stage of their development. The scope of services includes physical, cognitive, and psychological and psychosocial disorders.

Occupational Therapy Assistants typically are employed in clinical or community settings working in out-patient clinics, in-patient rehabilitation centers, public schools, and/or patients' homes. Supervision by an Occupational Therapist is required for practice in Texas.

A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification or to attain state licensure. The Fieldwork Level II capstone courses listed in the fourth semester must be completed within eighteen (18) months after the end of the academic/technical courses.

Application Requirements

All applicants must:

  1. Participate in the required Prospective Student Information session. For the session schedule, access the information online at http://nah.southtexascollege.edu/ota/index.html or contact the Occupational Therapy Program at 956-872-3161 or 956-872-3035.
  2. Be admitted to the college as a high school graduate or GED equivalent
  3. Meet TSI College Readiness Standards, or meet TSI exemption standards.
  4. Complete all prerequisite courses with a minimum of "B" as listed in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Degree plan. BIOL 2401 Anatomy and Physiology I must be completed within the past five years and OTHA 1305 Principles of Occupational Therapy must be completed within the past two years.
  5. Complete the ACT Exam including the Writing component. Achieve an ACT composite of 19 or above and a minimum of 16 in all individual areas (English, Math, Reading, and Science). ACT Writing score must be a 6 or above. Scores must be current within the last 5 years. ACT Exemptions are not permitted.
  6. Earn a minimum grade of “B” in “Principles of Occupational Therapy” course within the last two years.
  7. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all courses, including transfer courses, and those completed at STC.
  8. Pass a criminal background check, 10-panel drug screen through approved providers, and complete all required immunizations including Hepatitis B series. Students with criminal histories must provide proof of licensure eligibility from the Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners (ECPTOTE). This process may take up to 6 months to complete. For more information contact the NAH Clinical Affairs Specialist at 872-3022.
  9. Submit Documentation of Experience Forms as evidence of a minimum of twenty-five (25) hours of volunteer or work experience under the supervision of a COTA or OTR in two different settings, for a total of fifty (50) hours. One experience should be completed in an inpatient setting (hospital or nursing facility), and the other should be completed in a different type of setting such as an outpatient clinic or pediatric center. Home Health hours are not accepted Therapists who supervise volunteer experiences cannot be a relative or personal friend of the student applicant.
  10. Meet Technical Standards as stated by the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.
  11. Submit a completed Program application by stated deadline. For more information contact Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at 872-3161 or 872-3035 or access the information online at http://nah.southtexascollege.edu.

Competitive Entry Selection Process

The OTA Program selection process is based on a Point System evaluation. Points are awarded for the following selection criteria: GPA of OTA Program prerequisite and general education courses, volunteer/experience forms, and other optional items listed on the Application Form. Qualified applicants are numerically ranked based on the number of acceptance points earned, and are either accepted, placed on an alternate list, or not accepted. Due to program size limitations, a number of applicants who meet the additional program application requirements may not be admitted to the program. The typical number of new positions available on an annual basis is 20; the final number is dependent upon available resources. Should any of the accepted applicants decline admission, an alternate may be offered acceptance to the program. In the case of tied applicants, finalists will be chosen based on

  1. previous alternate status
  2. date of application.

A new applicant pool is established for each admission period. Applicants who are not admitted for the current application period must re-apply to be considered for a later application period.

Program Application

OTA Program applications are available annually from the OTA Program Department. The deadline for submission is the fourth Friday in May of the current year. Selection of students is made one time a year during the summer. Newly selected students attend program orientation in the summer and begin program classes in the fall semester.

NOTE: Please see program web page for additional information regarding the application process at http://nah.southtexascollege.edu/.

Graduation Requirements

To earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, a student must meet college graduation requirements and complete all coursework as prescribed in the degree plan with a minimum grade of “C.”

Velma Esparza, OTR, McAllen
Jennifer Ybarra, OTR, Edinburg
Adina Santillan, COTA, San Juan
Iris Dovalina, COTA, Mission
Luis Martinez, OTR, Palmhurst
Hermelinda Garcia, COTA  Edinburg
Amanda Delgado, COTA  McAllen
Hortencia Villegas, COTA San Benito
Jesse Rodriguez, OTR  McAllen

Students interested in this program must complete the pre-requisite courses prior to applying for admission. Any of the other general education courses may also be taken before applying for admission into the program. Grades made in these courses will be computed using a “point system” for the student selection process.


Plan of Study Grid
Pre-requisitesCredit Hours
Humanities Elective 1 3
Select one of the following:
Introduction to Humanities I - Western  
Introduction to Philosophy  
Introduction to Logic  
Introduction to Ethics  
PSYC 2314 Lifespan Growth and Development 1 3
BIOL 2401 Anatomy and Physiology I 1 4
SPCH 1318 Interpersonal Communications 1 3
ENGL 1301 Composition I 1 3
OTHA 1305 Principles of Occupational Therapy 3
 Credit Hours19
First Semester
OTHA 1409 Human Structure and Function in Occupational Therapy 4
OTHA 1415 Therapeutic Use of Occupations or Activities I 4
OTHA 1341 Occupational Performance from Birth to Adolescence 3
 Credit Hours11
Second Semester
OTHA 1349 Occupational Performance of Adulthood 3
OTHA 2201 Pathophysiology in Occupational Therapy 2
OTHA 1419 Therapeutic Interventions I 4
OTHA 2335 Health Care Management in Occupational Therapy 3
 Credit Hours12
Third Semester
OTHA 1253 Occupational Performance for Elders 2
OTHA 2405 Therapeutic Interventions II 4
OTHA 2160 Clinical -Occupational Therapy Assistant 1
OTHA 2209 Mental Health In Occupational Therapy 2
 Credit Hours9
Fourth Semester
OTHA 2366 CAPSTONE: Practicum-OTA (A) 3
OTHA 2367 CAPSTONE: Practicum-OTA (B) 3
OTHA 2330 Workplace Skills for the OTA 3
 Credit Hours9
 Total Credit Hours60 Credit Hours

Identifies courses to fulfill minimum 15 credit hour General Education requirement

Students must complete all CAPSTONE coursework with a passing grade to be eligible for graduation from the OTA program.