Aug 08, 2020  
2019-2020 South University Academic Catalog Version II 
2019-2020 South University Academic Catalog Version II

Occupational Therapy Assistant (AS)

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Occupational Therapist Assistant Program

The occupational therapy assistant works under the supervision of the occupational therapist to help individuals regain or accommodate to decreased range of motion, muscle strength, coordination, perception and activities of daily living, which includes dressing, eating, toileting, hygiene and home management.  

The Associate of Applied Science and the Associate of Science degrees in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) degree program are dedicated to providing educational opportunities of the intellectual, social and professional development of a diverse student population. Through its carefully balanced and sequenced curricular design over eight quarters or nine quarters, the Occupational Therapy Assistant program is designed to prepare qualified graduates to seek entry-level employment as occupational therapy practitioners. The program prepares students with knowledge and skills for competent entry-level practice in a variety of contexts for an ever-changing world. The Occupational Therapy Assistant program further seeks to lead the profession and community through its contributions in educational leadership, community and professional service, lifelong learning, and scholarship.

The Professional Phase of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program is delivered on campus at each of the campuses wher the program is offered.  It is offered on the Virgina Beach cain two modalities: fully campus-based or blended.  Students enrolled in the blended modality meet face-to-face in the classroom and asynchronously online over the 11-week quarter.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

The OTA program goals address student competency in the following areas

  1. Prepare occupational therapy assistants who appreciate and adapt to diverse and alternative cultures, settings, systems, processes, and ideas. (adaptation thread)
  2. Foster student skill in accessing relevant literature and information, using research-based evidence to make informed decisions in occupational therapy practice. (information literacy thread)
  3. Cultivate student skill in effective critical thinking, problem-solving, and clinical reasoning with clients across the lifespan in diverse practice settings. (critical thinking thread)
  4. Foster development of student's communication skills to promote effective, appropriate interaction with all stakeholders. (professionalism thread)
  5. Instill in the student the values, attitudes and behaviors consistent with the occupational therapy profession's philosophy, standards and ethics. (professionalism thread)
  6. Provide the student with opportunities to acquire skills in advocacy for the profession of occupational therapy to other professionals, service providers, consumers, third-party payers, regulatory bodies, professional associations and the public. (professionalism thread)
  7. Provide the student with a challenging curriculum is designed to prepare graduates to deliver occupational therapy assistant services with entry-level competency under the supervision of an occupational therapist in a variety of practice settings. (professionalism and critical thinking threads)
  8. Impart to the student a passion for lifelong professional development to meet changing societal needs. (lifelong learning thread)
  9. Provide ongoing opportunities for stakeholders in the OTA program to have input into the development and evaluation of the OTA program to ensure the program remains true to its mission and philosophy. (information literacy thread)


The Occupational Therapy Assistant program at South University, Columbia, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Tampa and West Palm Beach are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE's telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA. 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). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. More information on ACOTE may be obtained at

Effective April 1, 2017, ACOTE changed the accreditation status of the Associate of Science degree offered by the OTA Program on the South University-West Palm Beach campus to Probationary Accreditation for noncompliance with ACOTE Standard A.5.6 (certification exam pass rate).  The program remains accredited. In April 2018 ACOTE granted to extend the period for compliance with the Standards A.5.6 until March 2020.

Effective March 27, 2020, ACOTE changed the accreditation status of the Associate of Science degree offered by the OTA Program on the South University-West Palm Beach campus to Probationary Accreditation - Inactive. 

Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant: 109 Credits

Offered at South University, Columbia; South University, Tampa; and South University, West Palm Beach

Area I Core Curriculum: 43 Credits

1st Quarter

Area II Professional Curriculum: 84 Credits

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