Occupational Therapy Assistant


Our program has been re-accredited for another 10 years!

Program Info:

  • Delivery: Daytime, Full Time
  • Start: Fall Semester
  • Location: Nursing and Allied Health Campus, 1101 E. Vermont, McAllen, Texas 78503
  • Advising schedule is as follows:
    TUESDAYS at 10:00 am (rm 331)
    Note: Students please email Mari Vargas for an advising appointment at marip@southtexascollege.edu

Major Description

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). The mandate of the profession is to assist patients to develop life skills by providing services with the ultimate goal of increasing their independence in daily functioning. 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.

In its simplest terms, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. (AOTA 2012)

Degrees & Certificates


The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program was granted re-accreditation for a period of ten (10) years on April 2014. The OTA Program is accredited by the:

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
American Occupational Therapy Association
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449

Graduates of the program will be eligible 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). Texas also requires licensure in order to practice. Regular licenses are issued by the state after the successful completion of the NBCOT certification examination.

The next on-site evaluation will be scheduled during the 2023/2024 academic years. A felony conviction may affect a graduates' ability to sit for the NBCOT Certification exam or to obtain state licensure to practice as a COTA. Applicants are required to clear a criminal background check prior to being accepted into the OTA Program.

OTA Student Outcomes

Students graduating in August of the following period: 3-year time period being reported 2011, 2012, 2013

  • Total number of program graduates during that period: 55
  • Average length of time those graduates took to complete the program: 24 months
  • Total number of first-time test takers of the national certification examination during that period: 55
  • Total number of the first-time test takers who passed the exam during that period: 55
  • Percentage of the total number of first-time test takers who passed the exam during that period: 100%
  • Percentage of graduates obtaining state licensure during that period: 100 %
  • Graduation Rate: 89 % (62 students began the program; 55 completed.)
  • National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) program data results:

Work Environment

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.

Potential Job Titles

  • Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)
  • Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)

Salary Data

National Average Wage: $26.56/hour (BLS, May 2013)
State of Texas Average Wage: $32.97/hour (BLS, May 2013)

Exam / Application Requirements

Applicants to the Program must complete an application for program selection by the last Friday in May, if they meet the requirements outlined in the College catalog.

Graduates of the Program are required to pass the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy before they can request a license to practice in the state of Texas

All applicants must:

  1. Meet general admission requirements to STC.
  2. Have a High School diploma or GED.
  3. TSI complete.
  4. Achieve an ACT composite score of 19 or above and a minimum of 16 in all individual areas (English, Math, Reading, and Science). Take the ACT plus Writing component Exam, the ACT Writing score must be a 6 or above. Scores must be current within the last 5 years.
  5. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all transfer courses if applicable.
  6. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all courses completed at STC.
  7. Complete all prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of "B" as listed in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program degree plan.
  8. Submit a completed Program application by stated deadline. For more information contact the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at 872-3161 or access the information online at www.southtexascollege.edu/nah
  9. Participate in student advisement per program requirements. For more information contact the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at 872-3161.
  10. Pass a background check and drug screen through approved providers. Students with criminal histories must provide proof of certification and licensure eligibility from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and the Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners (ECPTOTE). For more information contact the Clinical Affairs Specialist at 956-872-3022 or visit NAH room 1.602.
  11. Present documentation of volunteer experience of a minimum of 25 hours each at Pediatric and Adult client settings.
  12. Meet technical standards as stated by Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.


**** ......................Humanities Elective
PSYC 2314.........Lifespan Growth and Development
BIOL 2401...........Anatomy & Physiology I
SPCH 1318........Interpersonal Communications
ENGL 1301........Composition
OTHA 1405.........Principles of Occupational Therapy
Requires OTA Program approval to register for this course.

To register for OTHA 1405, please contact the OTA Program at (956) 872-3161 or email marip@southtexascollege.edu