Formal education programs for occupational therapy assistants are typically offered at the associate degree level and include coursework in physiology, psychology, human development and therapeutic techniques, as well as professional fieldwork.
Four of the top schools for aspiring OTAs include St. Catherine University, the Pennsylvania College of Technology, Touro College and Casper College. Two of the four-year colleges are among the top 15 regional schools, according to rankings by U.S. News & World Report for 2020, and all four of the following institutions have programs accredited by relevant industry organizations.
St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN
|School Highlight: St. Catherine University offers an online occupational therapy assistance refresher course.|
Located in the Twin Cities, with campuses in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, St. Catherine University ranked 27th among top performers in social mobility by U.S. News & World Report in 2020.
The university offers an Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assisting program at its Minneapolis campus. A Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy is also available at this location. All of St. Catherine University's occupational therapy programs, including the associate program, are accredited by American Occupational Therapy Association's Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA
|School Highlight:The occupational therapy assistance program at Pennsylvania College of Technology has access to and emphasizes cutting-edge technology and equipment.|
Pennsylvania College of Technology ranked 14th on the U.S. News & World Report survey of regional colleges in the North for 2020. An affiliate of Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania College of Technology offers an ACOTE-accredited Associate of Applied Science program for occupational therapy assistants, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Applied Health Studies with an occupational therapy assistant concentration. Students pursuing the associate degree complete a fieldwork requirement undertaken in two phases. The bachelor's degree program builds upon the concepts established in the associate degree program and provides the advanced education and training needed to assume leadership positions in the healthcare field.
Touro College in New York, NY
|School Highlight: Touro College in New York follows the Jewish calendar for class scheduling.|
Touro College is a private school in New York City that offers an Associate in Applied Science for occupational therapy assistants. Program emphasis is on learning how to empathize with patients in order to better support clients' needs. This 2-year course of study is comprised of 18 months of evening classes followed by five months of daytime fieldwork. The School of Health Sciences at Touro also offers a 3-year occupational therapy program that awards a joint Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. The school is accredited by ACOTE.
Casper College in Casper, WY
|School Highlight: Because of Casper's low faculty-to-student ratio, which is 1:12, students can get personalized attention from instructors.|
At Casper College, students can earn an Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant. This program has been accredited by ACOTE. While some of the prerequisite coursework is offered online, students must also take on-campus classes and complete fieldwork courses that provide hands-on training in the field. In total, students must complete 76 semester hours prior to graduation.
Top Schools with Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs
These colleges and universities also offer excellent programs for aspiring occupational therapy assistants:
- Mercyhurst North East in North East, PA, awards grants of up to $10,000 for graduates pursuing a higher-level degree at the university's main campus.
- Newman University in Wichita, KS, is affiliated with the Catholic Church.
- At Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, OH, the OTA curriculum requires a course in non-Western culture.
- Southwestern Oklahoma State University at Sayre oversees five residential sites for troubled youth where students may seek internships.
- The University of Louisiana at Monroe has a Student Occupational Therapy Association.
- The University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, IN, is home to the Southwest Indiana Area Health Education Center, where youths can learn about careers in health.
Students who want to become occupational therapy assistants can get the training they need from well-regarded community colleges and universities. There are ACOTE-accredited and highly-ranked schools that offer undergraduate degrees in this field.