Home > Programs > Medical and Dental Programs > Occupational Therapy Assistant
Do you like helping people? Does a career working in healthcare assisting patients relearn everyday skills needed for a happy life appeal to you? Then SJVC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program may be what you are looking for!
Our OTA associate’s degree program prepares California students to work in the medical field as an occupational therapy assistant. These medical professionals help patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. This can include helping patients use adaptive equipment or new techniques to relearn everyday skills such as getting dressed, applying makeup, emptying a dishwasher, texting and more. Occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in providing therapy to patients, and work under the direction of occupational therapists¹.
Interested in learning the difference between a career as an occupational therapy assistant and physical therapist assistant? Read this!
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that national employment of occupational therapy assistants is projected to grow 33 percent between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the average growth rate of all occupations². The BLS states multiple factors behind the growing demand:
In addition to projected employment growth, the BLS reports that the annual mean wage in the state of California for occupational therapy assistants was $67,470 in May 2018³. While this may not be a starting salary for an entry-level occupational therapy assistant, it shows that professionals in this healthcare support occupation can earn a decent wage.
SJVC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program is available at our Fresno campus. Students can complete the program in as few as 20 months, and graduates earn an Associate of Science degree.
For our program, classes are scheduled Monday through Friday during the day. Psychosocial Occupational Therapy Fieldwork 1, Conditions of the Adult and Geriatric Population Fieldwork 1 and Occupational Therapy Assistant Fieldwork Level II A & B experiences are scheduled weekdays and weekends with varying hours. Students can expect to attend classes four days a week during Terms 1, 2 and 3. Students can expect to attend Fieldwork Level II A & B experiences for 5 days a week during Term 4.
Students gain experience in a variety of Field Work environments including:
The SJVC Occupational Therapy Assistant program is in progress of seeking accreditation through 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. ACOTE’s telephone number, C/O AOTA, is (301) 652-6611, and its web address is www.acoteonline.org. At its meeting on July 26-28, 2019, ACOTE considered the Candidacy Application from the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at San Joaquin Valley College-Fresno Campus, Fresno, California, and voted to GRANT CANDIDACY STATUS. As a result of this action, the institution may admit students into the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program according to the approved timeline (March 2020) and may proceed to the Preaccreditation Review step of the accreditation process.
Upon completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination. This national certification exam for Occupational Therapy Assistants is administered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy. After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)®. Most states require licensure to practice, however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Exam. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT Certification examination or attain state licensure.
Occupational Therapy Assistants are employed in physical, occupational, audiologist and speech therapist offices, as well as hospitals, nursing care facilities, social assistance facilities, and educational services offices4. They perform the following job duties¹:
Courses* taken by our Occupational Therapy Assistant students include:
*Course listings are subject to change. Reference the SJVC College Catalog for the most current program information and to access full course information.
To be considered for admission to SJVC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program, applicants must have completed a minimum of 26 units of general education prerequisite coursework (GPA of 2.5 or higher) in the following subjects at a regionally or nationally accredited college or university:
*Requires a 2.0 grade or higher
Applicants must also:
The application process for the Occupational Therapy Assistant program is highly selective. The most qualified applicants meeting the prerequisites and minimum requirements will be selected using points earned from:
Only applicants with the highest point totals will be considered for an interview with the selection committee. Download the Occupational Therapy Assistant program application and admissions process packet. Applications for the March 2020 start will be accepted Sept. 3, 2019 – Feb. 26, 2020.
San Joaquin Valley College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at www.accjc.org.
Questions or requests to review documents pertaining to accreditation should be directed to:
Crystal G. VanderTuig, Accreditation Liaison Officer San Joaquin Valley College 3828 West Caldwell Avenue, Visalia, CA 93277 (559) 734-9000 Crystal.VanderTuig@sjvc.edu
CALIFORNIA SJVC is a private institution and is approved to operate as an accredited institution by the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). Approval to operate means that SJVC has been found in compliance with the standards set forth in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (as amended) and Title 5, Division 7.5, – Private Postsecondary Education of the California Code of Regulations. As a prospective student, you are encouraged to review this catalog prior to signing an enrollment agreement. You are also encouraged to review the School Performance Fact Sheet, which must be provided to you prior to signing an enrollment agreement.
A student or any member of the public may file a complaint about this institution with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education by calling (888) 370-7589 or by completing a complaint form, which can be obtained on the Bureau’s internet website (www.bppe.ca.gov).
View additional State Approvals for SJVC.
Step 1 of 2
Step 2 of 2
By submitting this form, I authorize and agree that a representative of SJVC can contact me about educational services and future offers by email, phone and/or text messaging at the email and telephone number provided above using an automated telephone dialing system, and/or an artificial or pre-recorded voice or text message. I understand that consent is not required to purchase any goods or services from this school and that my consent can be revoked at any time. Standard data rates may apply.
Take Your Prereqs at SJVC
View Consumer Information