Occupational Therapy Assistant

The Application Procedure Deadline is March 1st of each year.

The application deadline for the Fall 2015 program has been extended to April 30, 2015. Those who apply and qualify for enrollment between March 2 - April 30 will be placed on a waitlist.
Click here for an application.
Only 5 students are admitted each year.


Click here for the SICCM pre-program information sheet.

This has contact information if you have any questions, and the step by step process of preparing to apply for the OTA program.


  1. Graduate (or anticipate graduation by college entrance) from an approved High School or demonstrate equivalent competency (G.E.D. examination).
  2. Satisfy all general entrance requirements for admission to the college to which you applied prior to the application deadlines for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.
  3. Take the Health Occupation Aptitude Examination – Revised (HOAE-R) by March 1.
  4. Submit completed OTA application form by March 1.
  5. Request official transcripts from previous college experience if desiring to transfer any coursework.

**A felony conviction may adversely affect the graduate's ability to sit for certification examinations and/or obtain certification, registration and/or licensure to practice in Illinois and other states.  Therefore, accepted students are required to complete a criminal history background check prior to beginning the program.  Information about the process will be provided to the student when he or she is informed of acceptance into the program.

What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

Occupation may be defined as the ordinary things we do each day to work, to play, and to take care of ourselves. Occupational therapy is based on the idea that our personal identity and feeling of value is closely tied to what we are able to do. Each of us chooses many occupational roles that are important to us and make us excited to engage in life. We may, for example, choose occupational roles of a parent, a homemaker, a student, an athlete, etc., with many tasks in each that are important for us to carry out independently. When our function becomes impaired in these roles, we may lose both our independence and our sense of self-worth. Occupational Therapy is the art and science of helping people achieve independence with, and through, the use of everyday activities. It focuses on those aspects that give quality and purpose to performance.

The practice of occupational therapy utilizes the therapeutic use of purposeful and meaningful occupations in treatment, as well as focusing on these occupations as the goal of treatment. OT intervention may include: restoration of performance abilities; instruction in compensatory techniques; adaptation of tasks, processes, or environments; disability prevention techniques; design, fabrication and use of assistive technology and/or orthotic devices; and health and wellness promotion strategies. Occupational therapy assistants, under the supervision of an occupational therapist, will work directly with persons to achieve a maximum level of independent living by developing the capacities that remain after disease, accident, or other disability.

The occupational therapy practitioner works with people who are limited by physical injury or illness, psychosocial dysfunction, developmental or learning disabilities, poverty and cultural differences, or the aging process in order to maximize independence, prevent disability, and maintain health. The profession tailors rehabilitation individually for each client. Through evaluation and treatment, it seeks to restore or improve function in occupational performance. Treatment is provided within the context of the client=s life environments and relationships and is guided by the concerns of the patient. Functional performance is considered within the areas of work, self-care, and leisure; with treatment developed to minimize the effects of disability and maximize existing ability.

The occupational therapy assistant is an integral part of the rehabilitation team focused on providing optimum patient care. Occupational therapy assistants, supervised by occupational therapists, possess the technical skills to provide services to individuals of all ages who have physical, psychological, or developmental disabilities; which may include but are not limited to those suffering from strokes, heart diseases, arthritis, diabetes, serious burns, spinal cord injuries, and psychiatric disorders. Occupational therapy serves a diverse population in a variety of settings such as hospitals and clinics, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, extended care facilities, sheltered workshops, schools and camps, private homes, and community agencies.

For more information on the profession you may also go to the following websites: (The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.) (The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.)

What should I expect as an Occupational Therapy Assistant student?


General education courses are taken on the home campus, but OTA core courses are taught either at the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market Regional Instructional Center or within patient/client care agencies. After all classes and fieldwork internship are completed within the OTA program, students graduate from their entering college.

Because the regions of the five cooperating colleges are large, traveling is an integral element of the consortium program. Time commitment is significant in this intense curriculum, and includes travel to OTA classes and fieldwork assignments. Efforts are made to minimize travel where possible, accomplished by grouping classes and incorporating web-based instruction into coursework.

The OTA curriculum is designed to provide a progressive transition from beginning student to entry-level clinician. During the coursework and internships, students will develop entry-level competencies necessary to provide services to persons of all ages who have functional loss due to physical, neurological, social/emotional, cognitive, or developmental disabilities. The occupational therapy assistant graduate will possess the technical skills necessary to collaborate with the occupational therapist in providing occupational therapy services, incorporating values and attitudes that reflect the profession's practice standards and ethics. Expected program outcomes are that the student will:
1. Complete program coursework and fieldwork successfully,
2. Pass national certification examination for occupational therapy assistant upon graduation,
3. Demonstrate ability to provide high quality entry-level occupational therapy assistant services, under the required supervision of an occupational therapist, in consumer and client-care environments,
4. Incorporate values and attitudes congruent with the profession=s core values and code of ethics,
5. Demonstrate the understanding of need for life-long personal and professional growth, and
6. Recognize employment opportunities in traditional and non-traditional settings.

There are eight general education courses and fourteen OTA courses. The OTA courses have both lecture and hands-on laboratory components. A substantial portion of one OTA courses is web-based and the rest include computer, internet and web-use. Students quickly become adept at communicating with each other and the faculty via the Internet and using the computer as a research, learning, and communication tool. It is helpful for students to have use of a home computer, although computers and Internet access are available on all college campuses. The OTA classrooms also have computers and Internet access available for students use.

The OTA program is full-time only, with courses offered in specific sequence. All OTA courses in a semester must be taken and passed in order to progress to any OTA coursework of the next semester. Both OTA and general education courses must be passed with a grade of a C or better. Laboratory hours are based on a 1:3 ratio, with three class contact hours required for every registered laboratory credit. The program is designed to be completed within two academic years, including one summer session. Supervised Level II Fieldwork comprises 640 hours (16 full-time weeks) of the final semester. This fieldwork must be successfully completed within 18 months following completion of academic preparation.

What costs are associated with this program?

Costs will vary and are subject to change. Within this highly mobile program, admitted OTA students will be responsible for the following expenses:
1. Examination fee for Health Occupation Aptitude Examination -Revised ($35.00, prior to admission),
2. Tuition (Currently $92.00 per credit hour at Southeastern Illinois College for in-district students),
3. College fees, which include:
- Malpractice/liability insurance (up to $15 annually),
- Program fees ($200.00/OTA Course),
4. Books,
5. Costs of transportation to centralized laboratory for OTA courses, hospitals and other clinical sites, and mandatory fieldwork experience,
6. Professional attire including khaki pants, polo shirts, and possible lab coat
7. Occasional minor laboratory supplies and equipment,
8. Physical examination,
9. Tests: TB skin tests and/or possible chest x-rays, Rubella titer, possible Varicella and Pertussis titers,
10. Immunizations:  Hepatitis B Virus - series of 3,  possible Rubella, Rubeola, Tetanus,
11. Demonstration of personal health insurance or Medicaid,
12. Application fee for national certification examination (approx. $600.00),
13. Application fee for state licensure (approximately $ 25.00),
14. Costs for CPR certification (approximately $20.00 each year),
15. Cost for background check (approximately $35),
16. Cost for drug screen ($35)
17. Professional organization fees

  • Student membership in the American Occupational Therapy Association (standard membership $53, student-plus membership $75)
  • Student membership in the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association ($25)

Click here for a curriculum guide for OTA.


The SICCM Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Assoc. (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. ACOTE=s phone number c/o AOTA is 301-652-AOTA. Graduates of the SICCM OTA Program will qualify to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) national certification examination. This computer-delivered examination will be administered on-demand, after establishing eligibility. Successful completion of this exam confers the title of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Illinois and most states additionally require licensure to practice, usually basing this on the NBCOT examination results. A felony conviction may adversely affect ability to sit for the NBCOT exam and/or attain state licensure.

Click here for a curriculum guide for our Occupational Therapy Program.