Occupational Therapy Assistant

This two-year program prepares individuals for careers as Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA). In Texas, the COTA must obtain state licensure to practice under the supervision of a registered Occupational Therapist (OTR). The mandate of the profession is to assist patients to develop life skills by providing services with the ultimate goal of increasing their independence in daily functioning. The recipients of therapy are those who have encountered problems that interfere with their ability to function in any stage of their development. The scope of services includes physical, cognitive, and psychological and psychosocial disorders.

In its 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. (AOTA 2012)

Students must complete all Level II fieldwork within 18 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program.

OTA Program Application

Download OTA Program Application

Application Deadline: July 17, 2023 at 12:00 p.m.

Information Sessions

Students interested in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program are required to attend an OTA Program information session. We will discuss program requirements, application process, and point system evaluation.

Day/Time: Tuesdays at 3 p. m.
Location: STC Nursing & Allied Health Campus - McAllen

To receive an invite to one of the OTA Program Information Sessions, please email:
Maria Ponce-Vargas, Guided Pathways Specialist at

Please provide the following information in the email:

  • Name
  • Student ID #
  • Preferred Email
  • Phone #

For additional information contact:
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Department
Maria Ponce-Vargas, Guided Pathways Specialist


The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association. (AOTA). The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program was granted re-accreditation for a period of ten (10) years on April 2014.

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929

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). Texas also requires licensure in order to practice. Regular licenses are issued by the state after the successful completion of the NBCOT certification examination.

The next on-site evaluation will be scheduled during the 2023/2024 academic years. A felony conviction may affect a graduates' ability to sit for the NBCOT Certification exam or to obtain state licensure to practice as a COTA. Applicants are required to clear a criminal background check prior to being accepted into the OTA Program.

OTA Student Outcomes

Students graduating in August of the following period: 3-year time period being reported 2020, 2021 and 2022.

  • Total number of OTA program graduates during that period: 41
  • Average length of time those graduates took to complete the program: 2 years
  • Total number of first-time test takers of the national certification examination during that period: 36
  • Total number of the first-time test takers who passed the exam during that period: 34
  • Percentage of the total number of first-time test takers who passed the exam during that period: 94.44%
  • Percentage of graduates obtaining state licensure during that period: 94.44%
  • Graduation Rate: 83% (53 students began the program; 41 completed.)
  • National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) program data results:

Work Environment

Occupational Therapy Assistants typically are employed in clinical or community settings working in out-patient clinics, in-patient rehabilitation centers, public schools, and/or patients' homes. Supervision by an Occupational Therapist is required for practice in Texas.

Potential Job Titles

  • Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)
  • Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)

Salary Data

National Mean Average Wage: $30.56/hour
National Mean Annual Salary: $63,560
Texas Hourly Mean Wage: $34.02/hour
Texas Annual Mean Salary: $70,770

Bureau of Labor and Statistics May 2021

Apply Prerequisites Program Tuition and Fees Links

Exam / Application Requirements

Applicants to the Program must complete and submit an application for program selection by Friday, May 26, 2023, if they meet the requirements outlined in the College catalog.

Graduates of the Program are required to pass the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy before they can request a license to practice in the state of Texas

All applicants must:

  1. Meet general admission requirements to STC.
  2. Have a High School diploma or GED.
  3. TSI complete.
  4. New: Complete the HESI A2 (Admissions Assessment) Exam as follows: Achieve an English Language Composite Score of 75% or higher, a Science (Anatomy & Physiology) Score of 75% or higher, a Math Score of 75% or higher, and a Composite Score of 75% or higher. Scores must be current within the last 2 years. HESI A2 Exemptions are not permitted(view testing requirements). 
  5. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all courses, including transfer courses, and those completed at STC.
  6. Complete all prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of "B" as listed in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program degree plan.
  7. Submit a completed Program application by stated deadline. For more information contact the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at 872-3216 or access the information online at www.southtexascollege.edu/nah
  8. Participate in student advisement per program requirements. For more information contact the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at 872-3216.
  9. Pass a background check and drug screen through approved providers. Students with criminal histories must provide proof of certification and licensure eligibility from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and the Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners (ECPTOTE). For more information contact the Clinical Affairs Specialist at 956-872-3022 or visit NAH room 100 A.
  10. Present documentation of volunteer experience of a minimum of 25 hours at one Pediatric setting and a minimum of 25 hours at one Adult setting. Substitution: May complete all 50 hours at one location, either a Pediatric or Adult setting.
  11. Meet technical standards as stated by Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.


Course Description
**** Humanities Elective*
*the only Humanities Electives accepted are: Phil 1301, PHIL 2303, PHIL 2306 and HUMA 1301
PSYC 2314 Lifespan Growth and Development
BIOL 2401 Anatomy & Physiology I
SPCH 1318 Interpersonal Communications
ENGL 1301 Composition
OTHA 1305 Principles of Occupational Therapy
Requires OTA Program approval to register for this course.

To register for OTHA 1305, please contact the OTA Program at 956-872-3161 or email marip@southtexascollege.edu. This course is offered in a hybrid format. 

OTA Program Cost

In District Costs Prerequisites Fall Year 1 Spring Year 1 Summer Year 1 Fall Year 2 Spring Year 2 Total
Tuition $1463.00 $847.00 $770.00 $154.00 $693.00 $693.00 $4,620.00
Differential Tuition $1,045.00 $605.00 $550.00 $110.00 $495.00 $495.00 $3,300.00
Student Fees $1,081.00 $689.00 $640.00 $248.00 $603.00 $675.00 $3,936.00
Books and Supplies $770.00 $490.00 $50.00 $290.00 $260.00 $0.00 $1,860.00
Complio $0.00 $85.00 $0.00 $0.00 $85.00 $0.00 $170.00
Supplies $0.00 $25.00 $85.00 $0.00 $25.00 $0.00 $135.00
Test Preparation Workshop $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $140.00 $140.00
$4,395.00 $2,741.00 $2,095.00 $802.00 $2,161.00 $2,003.00 $14,161.00

Occupational Therapy Assistant Program costs reflect the 2022 -2023 academic year and are subject to change.

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