Occupational Therapy

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy

In the 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. Occupational therapy services typically include:

  • An individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person's goals
  • Customized intervention to improve the person's ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals
  • An outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan

Occupational therapy services may include comprehensive evaluations of the client's home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers. Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. (From AOTA Website, April 2011)

View program results online from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Career Opportunities

OT assistant with patient

Nationally, job placement of occupational therapy assistant (OTA) graduates is excellent. The occupational therapy assistant profession is rated by the US Department of Labor® Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of the fastest growing professions through 2014. Starting salaries vary in range, but start at approximately $18 per hour. Licensure is required in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. OTA's work under the supervision of occupational therapists.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy

Completion and Graduation Information

The total number of graduates from the SFCC Occupational Therapy Assistant Program during the 4-year period of 2013-2015 was 42 with an overall graduation rate of 82%.

Graduation Year Student Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
2013 18/15 83%
2014 16/11 69%
2015 17/16 94%
Total 51/42 82%

SFCC offers a two-year program which includes study in anatomy and physiology, social science, occupation-based therapy courses and practical clinical experience in area health care facilities affiliated with the college. The technical courses for the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program are not designed to transfer to four-year schools.

Occupational therapy assistant duties include: a) designing therapeutic activity based treatments that are within the plan of care proposed by the occupational therapist b) evaluating and training patients to use adaptive equipment that will make life easier; c) assisting the occupational therapist with data collection for evaluation purposes; and d) keeping records and reporting to the occupational therapist on the patient's progress.

Occupational therapist assistants work with all ages and are employed in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, pediatric facilities or school systems, private occupational therapy clinics, mental health hospitals or clinics, home health care agencies, and extended care facilities.

At the successful completion of the program, the student is awarded an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.


Person planting with arm brace

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at Spokane Falls Community College is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Accreditation will remain in place for 7 years, the program will undergo reaccreditation in 2020.

Address:   ACOTE
c/o Accreditation Department
American Occupational Therapy Association
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Phone: (301) 652-2682
Website: www.acoteonline.org

During the accreditation on-site visit of Feb 2013, NO areas of deficiency were noted; compliance was awarded to all standards. Strengths of the program as noted by ACOTE include SFCC Administration support, highly experienced and dedicated Program Director and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, a very involved Advisory Board, availability of ancillary services on campus available to our students, and a highly capable and professional OTA student body.

Further questions about accreditation can be addressed directly with ACOTE at the address or phone number listed above, or with the Program Director of the OTA Program at SFCC at (509) 279-6083.


Occupational Therapy Upon approval from the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), OTA graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification exam.
After successful completion of the examination, the graduate will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and eligible to apply for licensure in the states of Washington or Idaho. Washington and Idaho require licensure in order to practice.

View Occupational Therapy Career Guide


Class Credits
OTA 101Foundation of Occupational Therapy 3.0
OTA 102Occupational Therapy Terminology 1.0
OTA 103Applied Anatomy 1.0
OTA 104Survey of Pathophysiology 5.0
OTA 105Introduction to Neuroscience 4.0
OTA 106Regional Human Anatomy and Physiology 5.0
OTA 107Human Development Through the Lifespan 2.0
OTA 110OTA Procedures 1.0
OTA 111Activity Analysis 3.0
OTA 112Occupational Performance and Physical Disabilities 3.0
OTA 113Occupational Therapy Principles 3.0
OTA 114Therapeutic Activities 3.0
OTA 120OTA Procedures Lab 2.0
OTA 122Occupational Performance and Physical Disabilities Lab 2.0
OTA 123Applied Anatomy Lab 2.0
OTA 124Therapeutic Activities Lab 2.0
OTA 127Human Development Through the Lifespan Lab 1.0
OTA 151Level I Clinical Fieldwork I 1.0
OTA 161Level I Clinical Fieldwork I Seminar 1.0
OTA 201Issues in Occupational Therapy and Health Care 2.0
OTA 202Group Dynamics 2.0
OTA 203Management for the Occupational Therapist 2.0
OTA 210Occupational Performance and Mental Health 3.0
OTA 212Occupational Performance and Children 3.0
OTA 220Occupational Performance and Mental Health Lab 2.0
OTA 221Occupational Performance and Aging 3.0
OTA 231Occupational Performance and Aging Lab 2.0
OTA 232Group Dynamics Lab 1.0
OTA 242Occupational Performance and Children Lab 2.0
OTA 251Level I Clinical Fieldwork II 1.0
OTA 252Level I Clinical Fieldwork III 1.0
OTA 253Level II Clinical Fieldwork I 1.0-10.0
OTA 254Level II Clinical Fieldwork II 10.0
OTA 261Level I Clinical Fieldwork II Seminar 1.0
OTA 263Fieldwork II Seminar 1.0-4.0

OTA Fieldwork Educators

Who can be a OTA fieldwork educator? An OT practitioner (OT or OTA) with a minimum of one year experience and who meets the following criteria:

Fieldwork is a collaborative effort between students, clinicians and educators. Ideas for placement may originate with an academic program or with a practitioner. The following criteria may help indicate whether your practice would be appropriate as a fieldwork placement.

  • Your practice provides opportunities for a student to:
    • learn OT skills & concepts, either general or specialized
    • apply OT skills & concepts, learned in the academic setting
    • experience success as a result of their OT intervention
    • communicate with other individuals in a professional manner
  • You are interested in supervising students
  • You are willing to collaborate with an academic fieldwork coordinator to plan and implement a student placement

From: AOTA, (2007). Recommendations for expanding fieldwork. www.aota.org. Retrieved April 11, 2012.

What can help me create site- specific learning objectives for my level II FW OTA student?

Objectives provide helpful structure to the level II fieldwork experience and can be site specific per FW evaluation items and/or week by week objectives. ( Objectives are required by ACOTE)
  • Please email Carol.Gauper@sfcc.spokane.edu for a document created by the Florida OT Education Council which has checkboxes under each item of the OTA FW evaluation, allowing you to individualize each item to your site! Ask for the “FLOTEC” form

Where can I learn more about being a fieldwork educator?

  • www.aota.org ( Educator-Researchers tab: fieldwork)
  • The following articles are available on a limited basis to OT practitioners who are ,or are considering being, SFCC OTA Fieldwork Educators. Email Carol.Gauper@sfcc.spokane.edu for a copy of:

    • "Becoming a Fieldwork Educator: enhancing your teaching skills" AOTA CE article from October 2009, OT Practice, 14 (19).
    • "Transformative learning: facilitating growth and change through fieldwork" AOTA CE article from October 2010, OT Practice, 15(19).
    • "Designing learning experiences that lead to critical thinking and enhanced clinical reasoning" AOTA CE article from August 2008, OT Practice, 13 (15).


  • The Essential Guide to Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Education: resources for today’s educators and practitioners by Donna M. Costa, MS, OTR/L. Bethesda: AOTA press.(2004).
  • Supervision in Occupational Therapy by Donna M. Costa. Bethesda: AOTA press, (2007

OT/OTA Student Supervision & Medicare Requirements

  • A document available to all AOTA members on the educators: fieldwork site. ( If you are not a member of AOTA, but are a fieldwork educator for SFCC, or are considering being a fieldwork educator for SFCC OTA program, please email Carol.Gauper@sfcc.spokane.edu for a single copy of “OT/OTA Student Supervision & Medicare Requirements”.)
Occupational Therapy

Contact Us

For further information on the program, or to request a paper copy of the application, please contact:

Tamara Burt, OTR/L, MEd- Program Director
Phone: (509) 279-6083
Email: Tamara.Burt@sfcc.spokane.edu
Fax: (509) 279-6095
Allied Health Sciences Department Secretary
Phone: (509) 279-6073
Email: Dorian.Nabors@sfcc.spokane.edu
For questions regarding transferability of previous college credits, please contact
Loren Pemberton
Phone: (509) 533-3503
Email: Loren.Pemberton@sfcc.spokane.edu

To Apply

Warning! Please refer to the following booklets for important information about the application process.

Effective March 2015: The TOEFL will be required for all English as Second Language (ESL) applicants applying to the SFCC OTA program. A minimum score of 85 within the last 2 years is required. Please request a paper score be submitted to the SFCC OTA Program Director (mailing address is listed in our booklets) upon completion of the TOEFL prior to sending in your program application. Please refer to www.ets.org/toefl for more information.

Occupational Therapy Program

SFCC's OTA program incorporates a selective process for admission. This process uses a point system based on coursework and experience as outlined in the application. Please be aware that the completion of all prerequisites does not ensure admission to the program.

Admission Requirements
  • Completion of the online Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Application Booklet. Applications are accepted during the winter quarter preceding fall quarter entry into the program. See the booklet for specific due dates. Entry into the program is only one time a year, fall quarter.
  • Appropriate placement scores in assessment tests for ENGL& 101 and Math.
  • Preferably a minimum of 2.0 in BIOL& 241.
  • Documentation of paid or volunteer experience in a medical setting (40 hour minimum volunteer hours under supervision of OT or OTA, students graded to 100 hours).
  • Completion of 3 essay questions related to occupational therapy.
  • Professional Reference (mailed separately to Dean's office).
  • If application is complete, student will be required to participate in a group interview/activity session prior to selection.
  • Upon acceptance, current immunizations and passing of physical examination, drug screening and Washington State Patrol criminal background check.

NBCOT Pass Rates

After completion of the academic and fieldwork requirements in the OTA program, successful graduates are required to take a national certification exam through NBCOT (National Board Certification in Occupational Therapy). Graduates must pass this exam in order to proceed with licensure through the State of Washington.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Spokane Falls Community College has the following pass rates:

  • 2013: 100% Pass rate
  • 2014: 100% Pass rate
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