Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational therapy assistants help address the quality of life of people who are unable to fully participate in meaningful tasks and activities of daily life because of physical, psychological or social conditions or environmental or attitudinal barriers.

The Grand Island Campus offers Nebraska’s only two-year occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program. Graduates receive an associate of applied science degree and are eligible to take the licensing exam required to become a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). Please go to our online catalog for information about admissions, program requirements and course descriptions.

People with a strong interest in health and wellness, psychology, sociology, and behavioral studies are encouraged to apply to the program.

Occupational therapy assistants:

  • Work with people of all ages and ability levels — from serving on early intervention teams to implementing aging-in-place programs for community elders.
  • Assist occupational therapists in assessing individual and community occupation-related needs. Help develop therapeutic intervention plans.
  • Use purposeful activities, creative arts, environmental modification, adaptive equipment and technology and the therapeutic use of self to facilitate engagement in meaningful activity.
  • Assist with planning and implementing treatment activities.
  • Communicate with individuals, families and health care providers.
  • Document progress toward the achievement of individual and community identified and centered goals.

 Working Conditions

Occupational therapy assistants work in a variety of settings including:

  • Skilled nursing facilities.
  • Schools
  • Rehabilitation hospitals
  • Day treatment centers
  • Out-patient and community-based clinics
  • Acute care hospitals
  • Home health

Job Outlook

This field is ranked as the 8th fasted growing occupations, with employment expected to increase by 43 percent during the decade ending in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported median annual earnings of $48,940 for occupational therapy assistants in 2010, the last year for which income information is available.  


The occupational therapy assistant program has been granted accreditation through 2016 by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA. For more information, go to www.acoteonline.org. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Exam and on the demonstration of continuing education and competency.


For detailed information, click here to access the Occupational Therapy Assistant Handbook.

Admissions Documents

Admissions Packet

NBCOT, Recruitment and Retention 

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)   

Return to program list.


Written by Jim Strayer   
Last Updated on Friday, 14 November 2014 19:36