Occupational Therapy Assistant
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Join a rewarding and exciting career assisting people to realize the full capacity of their independence.
The College of Western Idaho (CWI) Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is based on the philosophical belief that all people have an innate drive to create meaning in their lives through active engagement in purposeful pursuits across the lifespan.
CWI's Occupational Therapy Assistant Program utilizes a problem-based theoretical approach, fostering problem-solving through solid critical inquiry and assisting the development of a solid foundation in occupational-centered professional skills. Courses combine didactic, lab, service learning, and fieldwork experiences.
This program honors an experiential education that brings the student and the educator into a collaborative relationship that shares and builds upon the prior knowledge and life experience of each, just as occupational therapy practitioners must do with each client.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program education integrates:
- historical and theoretical philosophies and frames of reference,
- practical and technical skills,
- values and ethics, and
- the promotion of health, wellness, and occupational participation.
The course sequence allows the student to approach the client from a developmental perspective across the lifespan and recognizes the uniqueness of person, group, and population.
At the conclusion of this two-year program, you will have received the education and skills training necessary to complete clinical fieldwork and sit for the national exam to become a certified occupational therapy assistant.
The College of Western Idaho Occupational Therapy Assistant Program seeks to prepare future Occupational Therapy Assistant leaders for employment in traditional and emerging practice areas and who will serve to enhance the health, well-being, and prosperity of the people and the communities they serve through the facilitation of meaningful and successful occupational engagement.
Vision Statement: With passionate belief in the strength and resilience of the human body, mind, and spirit, and a firm commitment to the principle of engagement in meaningful occupations, the CWI Occupational Therapy Assistant Program envisions being a premier Occupational Therapy Assistant Program that focuses on inspiring future Occupational Therapy Assistant leaders to use best practice and evidence to carry forward and represent current and emerging practice trends in the field of occupational therapy.
Why this Career
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2018 to 2028, the job market for occupational therapy assistants will increase by 21%, much faster than average. In June 2017, of the 19 best jobs for community college graduates, U.S. News and World Report ranked occupational therapy assisting as number one. In August 2019, Market Watch listed occupational therapy assisting as the fastest-growing, highest-paid job in California and Michigan.
Through service-learning projects each semester, Occupational Therapy Assistant students will have ample opportunity to work directly with the public and with vulnerable populations. This direct exposure to real people with real limitations will provide the student with hands-on learning opportunities that will set them up for success with fieldwork and future employment.
HEALTHCARE INFORMATION SESSIONS
Want to learn more about this program and other healthcare programs at CWI? Join a Healthcare Information Session to learn about the programs, what you can do to prepare for the programs, meet advisors and instructors, and ask questions.
Application process and requirements
The application period for the Fall 2023 Occupational Therapy Assistant Program will open on March 1, 2023, through the deadline of April 30, 2023, with a priority deadline of April 1, 2023. Applicants who apply by the priority deadline will receive up to 5 additional points towards their competitive entry application.
It is recommended to attend a Healthcare Information Session
- Complete CWI Associate Degree or Technical Certificate application and be accepted to CWI.
- If you have completed a bachelor's or master's degree, submit a Bachelor's Degree Transfer Credit Request form.
- Complete your prerequisites and verify the coursework:
- Review the program Plan of Study on the Requirements tab and meet with a advisor for prerequisites
- View Your Progress on my.cwi.edu (Learn How)
- Have you completed courses at another institution? Contact us today to discuss transferrable prerequisite credits.
- Complete the Occupational Therapy Assistant Application and Materials, and submit by the due date:
For help or questions regarding the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Application, please contact:
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Cost of Attendance
Cost of Program Pre-requisites
2021 Fall Semester 1
2022 Spring Semester 2
2022 Fall Semester 3
2023 Spring Semester 4
Program (2-yr program 2021-2023)
Books & Supplies
Total Cost of Attendance
Statement of Accreditation Status
The associate-degree-level occupational therapy assistant program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Preaccreditation Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org. The program must complete an on-site evaluation and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates 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). In addition, all 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.
Requirements and Costs
Degrees and Certificates
Occupational Therapy Assistant - Associate of Applied Science
Important Dates for Credit Programs
|Summer 2023||Fall 2023||Spring 2024|
|Priority Registration Begins1||N/A||Apr 10||Nov 13 (2023)|
|Open Registration Begins||Feb 27||Apr 17||Nov 20 (2023)|
|Financial Aid Priority Deadline||May 13||Jul 29||Dec 16 (2023)|
|Admission Deadline2||May 27||Aug 12||Jan 6|
|Last Day to Register for Classes||Jun 2||Aug 18||Jan 12|
|Tuition and Fees Due||Jun 2||Aug 18||Jan 12|
|Classes Begin3||Jun 5||Aug 21||Jan 16|
|1 Priority registration is limited to continuing students. Students are assigned a registration time based on their cumulative credits earned. Students should check myCWI and their CWI email to learn their assigned registration time. Students may register online anytime on or after their assigned registration time.|
|2 The admission deadline for international students is earlier than the deadline for non-international students and is only available during the fall and spring semesters. Please consult the Academic Calendar for the international student admission deadlines for the fall and spring semesters.|
|3 Classes in shorter sessions (including 4-, 5-, and 8-week sessions) may begin before or after this date. Please refer to the Registration and Refund Deadlines by Class Section Dates (located beneath each semester) of the Academic Calendar for more information.|
Navigating your way through college can be confusing, especially if you try to go it alone. CWI offers advising assistance to help in deciding which courses you need to take to reach your education and career goals. Visit Advising or contact One Stop Student Services for more information.
Both the College of Western Idaho and the OTA program actively strive to improve student success, persistence, retention, and course and program completion. The College’s Student Advising and Success program is provided by Student Services and will support the student throughout their college career. Once a student is admitted to the OTA program, they are assigned an OTA faculty advisor to guide them through the rigors of the formal program.
What are the pre-requisites for the OTA Program?
Review the Plan of Study under the Degrees and Certificates information above.
How do I apply to the OTA Program?
Review the Application Process and Requirements on the Overview tab.
Connecting With Ideas
Connecting With Ideas (CWI 101) is the first semester student success course designed to help CWI students become engaged members of the academic community and cultivate habits for lifelong achievement and success. Each semester, students can select from a variety of themes. More information about next semesters CWI 101 themes
Look beyond your degree at CWI and plan for continuing your education by working closely with CWI advising and representatives of your intended transfer school. Planning before you transfer can save you time and money. Visit Transfer Information for more information or contact One Stop Student Services.
Financial Aid Available
Did you know that as a student in this program you may be eligible for financial aid? Through grants, scholarships, and loans, more than 60 percent of first-time, full-time CWI students receive some form of financial assistance. To learn more about financial aid options and whether you may be eligible, visit Financial Aid.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition for a full-time CWI student averages half the cost of a state university and a third of the cost of a private college. Tuition and fees vary based on program and residence. Visit Tuition and Fees for more information.
Industry Associations & Boards:
- The American Occupational Therapy Association
- The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.
- The Idaho Occupational Therapy Association
- The State Occupational Therapy Licensing Board
In your Occupational Therapy Assistant career, you can choose from a number of opportunities, including working with children, adults with disabilities, and the elderly. You will have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings where you will enhance the health, well-being, and prosperity of the people and communities you serve. Practice Settings:
- Acute Care Hospitals
- Rehabilitation Centers
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Out-Patient Clinics
- Pediatric Facilities/School Settings
- Home Health Agencies
- Traveling Therapy Companies
Professional Licensure & Online Program Disclosure
Requirements for professional licensure in fields, such as health care and other fields, vary from state to state. If you live outside Idaho and are considering enrolling in a College of Western Idaho program that leads to a professional license, we highly recommended you visit the appropriate state licensing agency website in your state, or the state where you intend to work, to find the most up-to-date information about state licensure requirements before beginning the program. Find more information regarding licensure for this program.
Program Department Chair
College of Western Idaho is committed to maintaining a Respectful Community by providing equal opportunity for all individuals and does not discriminate in services, benefits, or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, veteran status, age, or any other legally protected status. More on Title IX
News and Blogs
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program students and sisters, Kim Shores and Leslee Tate, are gaining the skills and training to graduate CWI’s healthcare program and make a difference in people’s lives — just as others have done for them.
Applications are now being accepted for College of Western Idaho’s Health Science programs.
Occupational Therapy Assistant students spent the day talking to Idaho lawmakers and learning about their industry’s advocation to improve access to services in the state.
Students with College of Western Idaho's Occupational Therapy Assistant program helped put on a Halloween themed obstacle course for Boise students last Friday.
College of Western Idaho invites anyone interested in or thinking about pursuing a career in healthcare to attend the 2022 Health Professions Open House Tuesday, Nov. 1.
College of Western Idaho’s Occupational Therapy Assistant students were able to provide information and screenings to senior citizens about fall prevention and risk reduction.
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