A. S. in Occupational Therapy Assistant

A. S. in Occupational Therapy Assistant

Consider our Occupational Therapy program if....             

OTA Students completing an assessment

OTA Students

Image: Penn State

You want to prepare to be an occupational therapy assistant who is qualified to be employed by agencies that provide occupational therapy services. Think about what it's like to be physically or emotionally challenged to the extent that just living everyday life seems almost impossible. Then think about how you can make a differencein that life. If the thought of making a difference while earning a great living appeals to you, come to Penn State DuBois to obtain your Associates in Occupational Therapy. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the growth rate for the profession is much faster than the average for all professions.

#1 job in Best Health Care Support Jobs by U.S. News and World Report

Occupational therapy assistants earned a median salary of $56,950 in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the lowest-paid making $36,420 and the highest paid making upward of $76,790.  The BLS expects a huge increase in this profession of 43 percent by 2024, which translates to about 14,000 new jobs.

The American Staffing Institute’s 2014 list of the top 10 jobs noted that occupational therapy assistants were number 4 in the top 10 jobs in demand by employers in the United States (American Staffing Institute, 2015).

U.S. News & World Report full story 


Careers for Occupational Therapy program graduates

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA's) work in a variety of settings, under the supervision of occupational therapists. Young or old, we all have a job to do--the job of living. Learning, growing, playing, working, managing our homes, and caring for our families and ourselves are among the "occupations" of life. Sometimes physical, emotional, or other challenges prevent people from participating fully in the job of living. Stroke, injury, depression, and developmental disabilities, for example, can make it difficult for people to do everyday tasks or be as active and as independent as they'd like. Occupational therapy makes it possible for people to regain independence and to enjoy life to its fullest. By choosing a career in occupational therapy, you will make a difference. You will improve the lives of children, young people, and adults alike. Following graduation, students are eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.

You may access the direct link for NBCOT Accredited Occupational Therapy Education Program Performance Data on the NBCOT National Certification Exam

Career Opportunities for a graduate with an associate degree in occupational therapy may include working in public and private schools, early intervention programs, general, psychiatric, and pediatric hospitals, day treatment centers, hospices and home health agencies, rehabilitation hospitals and centers, skilled and intermediate care facilities, community living programs, community wellness centers, work hardening and adjustment programs, and/or hand therapy clinics.

The program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) through the 2023-2024 academic year.

For more information contact LuAnn Demi, Program Director of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, at 814-375-4748.

Remember, all programs are not the same. Check out the Penn State difference! Penn State Associate in Science in Occupational Therapy graduates are eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) Certification exam. Successful completion of this exam certifies the occupational therapy assistant as a COTA®. State licensure is required by all states and is usually based on the results of the NBCOT® certification exam.

What would prohibit a student from taking the certification exam?

If you have a felony conviction on your record, this may affect your ability to sit for the certification examination administered by NBCOT® after you graduate; this can subsequently affect your ability to attain state licensure. Before applying for the OTA program, you can contact NBCOT® for information on their early determination program to assess examination eligibility. Go to NBCOT and read the "Early Review" section for details.

Professional Organizations

The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA)
4720 Montgomery Lane
Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Phone: 1-800-SAY-AOTA (1-800-729-2682)


Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
c/o Accreditation Department
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
4720 Montgomery Lane
Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Phone: 301-652-6611 x2914


National Board for the Certification of Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT)
One Bank Street
Suite 300
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Phone: 301-990-7979
Fax: 301-869-8492