At a Glance:
Walker: Lisa Carruth
M.S., St. Joseph's College of Maine; B.S., Medical College of Georgia
Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA3)
Offered at the Following Campus
- Walker County Campus
The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is designed to train students to implement treatment procedures and plans for clients with limitations in occupational performance under the supervision of an occupational therapist per AOTA standards and State Regulations. Other occupational therapy assistant responsibilities include record keeping, and assistance with appropriate evaluation. The Occupational Therapy Assistant program meets the accreditation requirements of the American Occupational Therapy Association and program graduates may become certified by the National Board after passing the National certification Board examination before licensure by the State. The program provides learning opportunities which introduce, develop, and reinforce academic and occupational knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for job acquisition, retention, and advancement. Program graduates receive an Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate of Applied Technology degree.All coursework in the OTA program must be satisfactorily completed in order to graduate. Only students who have completed the required coursework and received the A.A.S degree will be eligible to sit for the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination. After successful completion of this examination, the graduate will be a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). Most states, including Georgia, require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure (ACOTE Accreditation Standards for an Educational Program for the OTA Standard A.4.13). Contact the Georgia Board of Occupational Therapy (478) 207-2440 and the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), (301) 990-7979 for further information.
All level II fieldwork must be completed within 18 months of completion of academic preparation.Accreditation: The Georgia Northwestern Technical College OTA program is accredited by 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-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. Graduates of the program will be eligible to apply 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.
Entrance Dates: Beginning of any semester for pre-occupational curriculum. Fall semester for occupational curriculum.
Age: 17 years old for entrance into Health Technology pre-occupational curriculum
18 years old for entrance into Health Technology programs
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program-Specific Admission Requirements:
Selection for admission to the OTA program is based on a competitive admission point system which includes consideration of all pre-requisite course grades with added points for all courses completed at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC), and the Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) Health Occupations Aptitude Test (HOAT) scores. A minimum of 30 hours of volunteer work in at least two different clinical sites and settings with registered occupational therapist (OTR) or certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) supervision are also required. A positive recommendation must be received from the supervising OTR or COTA. Selection for entrance into the fall class will be made during the prior summer semester. An application to the OTA program (available in office 5200) must be completed and received during the final semester of completing pre-requisite courses for inclusion in that year’s applicant pool for the following fall semester. Applications received after this date will not be considered. By the end of the spring semester prior to selection, the applicants must have:
1) Official admission to GNTC and have declared OTA as your major;
2) Completion of all Learning Support courses;
3) Completion of required Biology courses within the last five years;
4) Submission of the OTA student application for the OTA program the final semester of completing pre-requisite courses;
5) Submission by December 31st of the year prior to desired acceptance, a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer work in at least two different clinical sites and settings with OTR or COTA supervision. A positive recommendation must be received from the supervising OTR or COTA;
6) Taken the Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) Health Occupations Aptitude Test (HOAT) entrance examination and scored at least 50th percentile or above in the vocational adjustment index. If after a third attempt at the entrance examination you have not achieved a score of at least 50 percent, you will need to make an appointment with your advisor to discuss alternatives;
7) Achieved a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 calculated for the program required pre-requisite courses completed (the highest grade will be included in the calculation if a course has been repeated);
8) Be able to meet the technical standards listed under "Essential Requirements for OTA" and "Physical and Clinical Requirements".
OTA Selection Process Students who submitted an OTA application to the Division secretary by the deadline will receive a letter notifying them of the dates, times, location, and cost of the PBS HOAT entrance exam. Should a student register for the exam and not take it on the assigned date, the cost of the exam will be forfeited. That student will not be considered for selection. When exam results are received and spring quarter grades have been posted, the selection process will be finalized using a competitive admission point system which includes consideration of all pre-requisite course grades with added points for all courses completed at GNTC, and the PSB HOAT scores. Students will be officially notified by letter that they are accepted or not accepted. Students who are not accepted will have the opportunity to be considered for the next year’s class. They will have an opportunity to retest the following year if they so desire or they may keep their current scores. Students who retest must pay an additional exam fee.
Once students are selected for admission to the OTA program, they must attend a mandatory orientation session. The dates and times will be included in the acceptance letter. During the orientation, the students will receive additional information about program requirements. This will include but is not limited to:
1) American Heart Association CPR certification for the Healthcare Provider,
2) Student liability insurance,
3) Personal health history,
4) Physical assessment by a healthcare provider,
5) Record of immunizations and titers,
6) Health Stream programs,
7) OTA Program requirements,
8) National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination.Upon admission to the program, students must also have a mandatory background check and a mandatory annual random drug screen performed at students’ expense.
Essential Skill Requirements:
In order to complete the OTA program at the college, students will be required to meet the essential skill requirements of the program described below:
1) Be able to read and interpret documentation;
2) Be able to follow policies and procedures required in work setting and field work setting;
3) Be aware of personal performance and identify need of supervision;
4) Be physically capable of lifting, transferring, and moving patients, equipment, etc.;
5) Demonstrate independent skills without need of constant supervision;
6) Demonstrate and maintain professional behavior;
7) Demonstrate warmth and patience to ensure trust and respect from patients, colleagues, etc.;
8) Be able to use imagination and ingenuity in adapting to meet the environmental needs of others;
9) Be flexible and willing to change as necessary to meet the environmental needs of others.
Physical and Clinical Requirements: Students will be involved in field work experiences in various settings including hospitals, long term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, home health, school systems, and mental health settings. Students may be exposed to communicable diseases and incur strains due to lifting, transferring, and moving patients. Students may also be exposed to body fluids and blood. A moderate amount of strength is needed for lifting and transferring patients, as well as assisting patients with his or her treatments. The job can be tiring due to frequent stooping, kneeling, reaching, standing, sitting, and/or walking. Manual dexterity is needed for manipulation of treatment equipment. The ability to communicate and express ideas by spoken words and written expression is required. There may be added mental and physical stress in this Health Technology field.
Transfer Students: Students transferring from regionally accredited colleges must meet all of Georgia Northwestern’s general and OTA program-specific admission requirements. Transferring students will not be given priority over currently enrolled or returning students. In addition:
1) Transfer students must be in good standing at his or her previous institution;
2) Transfer students must submit a letter of recommendation from a professor at his or her previous institution;
3) Transfer students may be required to document proficiency or repeat occupational therapy courses taken more than three years prior to admission to the OTA program;
4) Transfer students may be required to document proficiency or repeat science courses taken more than three years prior to admission to the OTA program;
5) Only courses with a grade of “C” or better will be acceptable;
6) Prior OTA coursework will be evaluated for compatibility with Georgia Northwestern OTA curriculum.
1) OTA students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to remain in the program;
2) OTA students must maintain a “C” (70 or higher) grade in each course including fieldwork in order to progress to the next quarter of the OTA program;
3) OTA students must attain a 70% test average in all OTA courses;
4) OTA students must follow all policies and procedures outlined in the OTA Student Handbook;
5) OTA students must maintain CPR certification;
6) OTA students must maintain liability insurance.
1) Only one readmission into the OTA program is permitted;
2) After an unsuccessful OTA course, students are required to wait until that OTA course is taught again;
3) Students withdrawing or failing an OTA course and who are unable to complete the OTA course the next time the course is offered must be readmitted to the OTA Program and repeat all OTA coursework;
4) Students seeking readmission must meet all current admission requirements;
5) Classroom and fieldwork sites must be available;
6) Students must undergo a repeat drug screen during the quarter of readmission;
7) Students seeking readmission must be in good standing with the college and the OTA program, i.e., no disciplinary or academic misconduct on record;
8) Students seeking readmission must notify the OTA faculty;
9) Students seeking readmission must fulfill specific requirements, including but not limited to, repeating OTA course, as directed by the OTA faculty and/or dean of Health Technologies.
Specific Fieldwork Requirements:
1) Submit the results of a physical examination one month prior to Level I Fieldwork, which will include immunizations, titers, TB skin test, and a dental assessment;
2) Documentation of CPR certification prior to Level I Fieldwork;
3) Documentation of Liability insurance paid through Georgia Northwestern prior to Level I Fieldwork;
4) Completion of Health Stream, JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organization) requirement prior to Level I Fieldwork;
5) Completion of background check as required by Georgia Northwestern prior to Level I Fieldwork;
6) Clean drug screen test results as required by Georgia Northwestern prior to Level I Fieldwork. A random drug screen may be required any time a student’s behavior warrants.