Students enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program must complete 71 credits of coursework. Full-time students begin the course of study in the fall and follow the prescribed course outline. While there are opportunities to take general education courses on a part-time basis, all OTA courses must be taken in order and as prescribed.
Students attend classes at Penn State Berks for four semesters. Level I fieldwork experience is integrated into the course curriculum. The fifth semester provides opportunities for students to engage in full-time Level II fieldwork, supervised by qualified occupational therapy personnel in community settings.
Students are responsible for living arrangements, transportation to the off-campus sites and all related expenses. Students must purchase professional liability insurance and have an annual health examination when enrolled in clinical fieldwork education.
Fieldwork Level II: Students must complete OT395A and OT 395B within 18 months of completing all occupational therapy didactic coursework. Fieldwork sites typically require criminal and other background checks as a condition for acceptance at their facility.
Insurance and background checks
Students must carry professional liability insurance and have annual health examinations when enrolled in clinical fieldwork education. Fieldwork sites typically require criminal and other background checks as a condition for acceptance at their facility.
Upon graduation, graduates sit for the certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successfully completing this examination, the graduate will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Most states require a license to practice, which is granted based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may prevent a graduate from taking the NBCOT exam or obtaining a state license. See NBCOT’s Early Determination Review for additional information.
National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT):
One Bank Street – Suite 300
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
The following is a list of essential functions that a student must be capable of performing while enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.
A student in the Occupational Therapy Program will demonstrate physical motor skill capacities with sufficient levels of strength, endurance and fine and gross motor coordination to safely, accurately and effectively engage in a wide variety of therapeutic techniques, activities and occupations used in the occupational therapy intervention process including the ability to lift and move persons and objects. A student will also demonstrate adequate manual dexterity, arm and hand function needed to use tools and perform other manipulative activities. Students will also have adequate use of limbs and trunk in bending, twisting, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, pulling, pushing, walking, standing, sitting, handling and reaching.
A student in the Occupational Therapy Program will demonstrate sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control, eye/hand coordination, strength, and integrated function of the senses of vision, hearing tactile sense, vestibular and proprioception to manipulate and use common occupational therapy equipment, devices, materials and supplies. The student will also demonstrate competency in the use of these objects within the classroom and in treatment procedures commonly used in occupational therapy practice.
Cognitive/Behavioral and Social/Professional Standards
A student in the Occupational Therapy Program will demonstrate physical, mental and emotional capacity to work a 40-60 hour week while engaging in fieldwork Level II experiences, with industry standard productivity standards.
NOTE: More detailed technical standards are described in the Penn State Berks OTA Program and Fieldwork Manual.
Individuals seeking reasonable accommodations to complete the learning and performance objectives of the occupational therapy assistant program are encouraged to contact the Office for Disability Services at Penn State University Park by calling 814-863-1807, or contacting the Penn State Berks Student Disability Resource office, located in 161 Franco Building, via email at [email protected].
Syllabi and course objectives for each course and fieldwork experience of the occupational therapy assistant program outline specific learning and performance objectives.