Occupational Therapy Assistant

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Join a rewarding and exciting career assisting people to realize the full capacity of their independence.

College of Western Idaho's (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.

Industry Partnership:

CWI is excited to partner with Saint Alphonsus to provide opportunities for individuals to expand their education and grow in their careers. Learn more about this partnership.


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.

Additional Opportunities

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 iconHEALTHCARE 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.

View Upcoming Sessions

Apply iconApplication process and requirements

The application period for the Fall 2023 Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is now closed.

Application Process

It is recommended to attend a Healthcare Information Session

  1. Complete CWI Associate Degree or Technical Certificate application and be accepted to CWI.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

Mel Henderson

Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Cost of Attendance

Current Cost

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)








Student Fees







Books & Supplies







Total Cost of Attendance



Accreditation iconStatement of Accreditation Status

The occupational therapy assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) ACCREDITATION COUNCIL FOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY EDUCATION ACCREDITATION MANUAL VI.E. Revised December 2017 Section VI - Page 19 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. 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). 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.

Respectful Community

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

Michelle Wooton tending to a garden

Occupational Therapy Assistant student, Michelle Wooton, is learning the tools and skills to impact lives around her — even in the most unlikely of places.

Leslee Tate and Kim Shores standing in front of a tree

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. 

Health Sciences students with medical equipment tool box

Applications are now being accepted for College of Western Idaho’s Health Science programs.

Occupational Therapy Assistants at Idaho State Capitol

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.

OTA Students in Halloween costume

Students with College of Western Idaho's Occupational Therapy Assistant program helped put on a Halloween themed obstacle course for Boise students last Friday.

Dental assistant students in lab

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.