Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program
Occupational therapy is a health care profession that focuses on helping people – The practice of occupational therapy means the therapeutic use of everyday life activities – or “occupations” – with individuals or groups for the purpose of participation in roles and situations in home, school, work place, community, and other settings. Occupational therapy services are provided for the purpose of promoting health and wellness to those who have or are at risk for developing an illness, injury, disease, disorder, condition, impairment, disability, activity limitation, or participation restriction. Occupational therapy addresses the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, and other aspects of performance in a variety of contexts to support engagement in everyday life activities that affect health, well-being, and quality of life (AOTA Practice Framework definition). OTAs must complete a 2-year associate’s degree and are licensed health care providers. Occupational therapy is a health care profession that focuses on helping people of all ages regain, develop, or master everyday skills in order to live independent, productive, and satisfying lives. For a more complete description of careers in occupational therapy, refer to the American Occupational Therapy Association website.
BPCC’s OTA Program consists of a Pre-OTA component (qualification courses) and a program component. Students may work at any pace (part time/full time) to complete the OTA qualification courses and other requirements. When courses have been completed (with a “C” or better), students apply for admission to the program component. Applications for the OTA program component are taken each spring, with a new OTA class beginning in third summer session (Session C). The program is designed so that a student may complete the OTA qualification course component in 1 year and the program component in 18 months.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program prepares students to work under the direction of occupational therapists to provide patient care in a variety of clinical environments. The mission of the OTA Program at BPCC is to provide students with the academic instruction and support services necessary to earn an associate degree in occupational therapy assistant and graduate well-qualified and board eligible occupational therapy assistants committed to serving the needs of the occupational therapy community, state and nation. The OTA Program supports OT services that promote the therapeutic use of occupation and activity during the OT process to increase a person’s health, wellness and personal satisfaction.
We believe that individuals are intrinsically motivated, functionally active and holistically unique in their pursuit of occupation and that all individuals have the right to participate in society and make personal choices. We believe each person has unique personal characteristics which affect their ability to participate in necessary occupations that may impact his or her quality of life. We believe that human development has multiple influences on human behavior which in turn affects occupational performance and outcomes. The OTA faculty believes that OT practitioners are deeply cognizant and keenly aware of the diversity of issues related to a person’s ability to successfully engage in meaningful occupations. We support OT services that promote the therapeutic use of occupation and activity during the OT process to increase a person’s health, wellness and personal satisfaction.
The selection process for the OTA Program component begins each spring. Students should be aware of the following requirements and procedures regarding program selection:
- Students must submit a completed OTA Program Application Packet by the application deadline of April 15th.
- Pre-program (qualification) courses must be completed by the end of the spring semester in the application year.
- Transfer students must apply for college admission to BPCC and complete all requests for official transcripts to be sent to the BPCC Admissions Office from all previously attended institutions by April 15.
- Admission to the OTA Program is based upon a competitive selection process that occurs once a year. All applicants are ranked by the OTA Program Selection Committee on predetermined criteria that are both academic and non-academic. Cumulative GPA for eligibility to apply is 2.0 or higher. Qualification course GPA must be 2.75 or higher with a “C” or better in all required courses.
- Students must complete a minimum of 20 hours of observation in two different occupational therapy settings under the supervision of two different licensed occupational therapy providers by the application deadline.
- Interviews are conducted in May of each year. The top scoring 50 qualified applicants will be notified by mail of their scheduled interview day/time.
- The Program Application Packet includes additional eligibility requirements, detailed instructions, deadlines and procedures for program application. The top ranking 20 applicants are offered admission to the OTA Program that begins in the summer semester, session “C”
- Students who are selected for the OTA program must be available for daytime, evening and occasional weekend classes. One course is offered online only in the first summer session which is taken concurrently with an on-campus course. All other didactic courses in the following fall and spring semesters are on the BPCC main campus.
- OTA program students must be prepared to complete one or more full-time fieldwork rotation assignments (each rotation is 8 weeks in duration during the second fall semester) in an out-of-town facility. These rotations must be completed within 16 months of completion of didactic coursework.
- Students selected for the OTA program must adhere to the OTA Clinical Requirements related to additional tests/immunizations required, documentation submission and policies/procedures of the division/program. Immunization documentation is NOT required during the application process.
- Students who are selected to the program will receive information about additional tests/immunizations that are required for the OTA program at the mandatory orientation in June.
- Students selected for the OTA program pay a clinical fee, in addition to regular tuition, each program semester.
Click here to view the program curriculum.
|Current Cost||OTA Program 2022 Summer Semester||OTA Program 2022 Fall Semester||OTA Program 2023 Spring Semester||OTA Program 2023 Fall Semester||Total Cost of
2022-2023 OTA Program
|Books & Supplies||~90||~475||~235||~800|
According to FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), cost of attendance is defined as total amount of attending the program, which includes tuition and fees, books, supplies, transportation, loan fees as well as fees associated with distance education.
Fees are assessed on all students who enroll at BPCC. The amount of fees is determined in accordance with the residence status of the student and the number of semester hours (credit and audit) for which the student enrolls. Louisiana residents and audit students pay only the resident fee. The College reserves the right to change fees without prior notice. Click here for more information on fees.
The chart below indicates the number of students who graduated from the program and the graduation rate for each class for the past three years. The graduation rate is determined by the number of students who started the program and completed Level II fieldwork requirements within 16 months of completion of didactic coursework.
|Graduation Year||Students Entering/Graduating||Graduation Rate|
Please see the following link for details on the pass rate:
Program Performance Data on the NBCOT® National Certification Examination
Clinical/Program Application Instructions
NOTICE: It is the responsibility of the applicant to carefully read all of the information on this page to ensure that program requirements and deadlines are met to satisfy eligibility.
- Deadline for submission of online OTA Program Application is April 15.
- Deadline for submission of Clinical Observation Rating forms from OT practitioners is May 1.
BPCC College Admissions
- Complete all BPCC College Admissions Forms if you are not a current BPCC student.
- Transfer students must complete requests for official transcripts to be sent to the BPCC Admissions Office from all previously attended institutions. This process should begin as soon as possible to allow time for processing.
Application Eligibility Requirements
- Completed a minimum of 30 college hours of OTA qualification (pre-requisite) coursework by the end of the spring semester of application year.
- A minimum of a 2.75 pre-requisite GPA and a “C” or better in each qualification course.
- Verified that all official and final transcripts from other institutions have been received by the BPCC Admissions Office and that applicable transfer courses are accessible in LOLA and visible on your BPCC transcript.
- Verified that you have a minimum of a 2.0 cumulative GPA on all attempted college coursework.
- Preregistered for all remaining OTA qualification courses with potential to finish in the spring semester, if applicable.
- Note that applicants may submit an application before completing all qualification (pre-requisite) courses if above criteria is met.
Applicants who are selected for an interview will be required to bring a Clinical Observation Experience Narrative Summary. The summary should be typed and double spaced with 12” font, and should include:
- Overview of types of diagnoses observed
- Overview of treatments observed
- Discussion of most interesting and least interesting components of experiences
- Discussion of your goals and reasons for pursuing occupational therapy assistant as a career choice
To Submit your OTA Program Application:
- Contact Ms. Brandon or Ms. Allison by email requesting a review of your transcript and eligibility requirements. You will be informed if there are additional requirements that must be completed prior to submitting the application form.
- The OTA Program has established Essential Requirements, identifying occupational-specific technical standards required of students in the program. Please read this document prior to completing the program application. If you have questions or concerns related to your ability to meet these described requirements, please contact your academic advisor.
- The BPCC OTA Application link will only be accessible from December 15th through April 15th. Click on the link below to complete and submit your application.
- In addition to the OTA Program Application, the following documents are required for your application packet to be complete.
Clinical Observation Rating Form (minimum of two)
- You are required to complete a total of 20 observation hours in a minimum of two different settings with two different licensed occupational therapy practitioners (licensed occupational therapists or licensed occupational therapy assistants). This process is not directed by the BPCC OTA faculty. Applicants are required to locate, contact, and schedule these experiences.
- Plan ahead and start early – It is recommended to begin scheduling observation experiences in the fall semester. Completed Clinical Observation forms are due by May 1st of application year.
- Applicants who are selected for an interview will submit a written summary of observation experiences.
- Observation Rating forms will be kept on file by the OTA Program Director for two years and will be valid for two consecutive OTA application cycles.
- Please inquire about the dress at each facility prior to arrival.
- Observation forms completed by an OT practitioner who is a family member of the applicant will not be accepted.
- Print one Clinical Observation Rating Form for each OT/OTA you observed (2 forms minimum) prior to observation experience. The forms can be mailed to the address below or emailed to email@example.com.
- If the form is to be mailed, you are required to provide an ADDRESSED and STAMPED envelope. The OT/OTA should be asked to complete the form (including contact information), seal it in the provided envelope, sign across the seal and mail directly to the college at the address below.
Bossier Parish Community College
Attn: OTA Program Selection Committee
6220 E. Texas St.
Bossier City, LA 71111
It is the responsibility of the applicant to follow up with the OT or OTA completing the observation forms to assure the forms are mailed with a postmark date of no later than the May 1st deadline.
- April 15 – Program application deadline
- May 1 – Clinical Observation Rating Forms deadline
- May 2023 – OTA Interviews; A mandatory interview process will be conducted. All applicants will receive notification by email of their eligibility for interview. Details regarding times and locations will be provided in the correspondence.
- June 2023 – Mandatory one day orientation
- June 28 – Summer Session C – Program courses begin
The associate-degree-level occupational therapy assistant program is accredited 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.
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.
After completion of the OTA program, graduates are required to take and pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Examination to be eligible to apply for a license to practice as an OTA in the state of Louisiana.
Absolutely. While the majority of our applicants and clinical students live and plan to work in this area, we encourage and are in fact actively recruiting students from other regions of the state. Job availability and salaries continue to grow in those communities not served by a local OT or OTA program and we receive frequent calls from rural hospitals and clinics seeking OTA graduates. If you are from out of town and are interested in pursuing an OTA degree from BPCC you are encouraged to contact an OTA advisor for additional information and to request a personalized transcript review.
The job market and salaries in the Shreveport-Bossier City area are very good (starting salaries range from $35,000 to $45,000 per year). The available jobs and salary ranges in more “rural” areas outside Shreveport-Bossier City tend to be even higher.
More information on the job descriptions, job outlook and salaries for OTAs can be found on the website for the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
The majority of the pre-OTA curriculum (qualification courses) for this Program may be completed at any accredited 4-year university or community college (near your home). In addition, the scheduled clinical practice experiences/“fieldwork” that occur during the program component (final year) (each 8 weeks in length) may be scheduled in hospitals/OT clinics in or near your hometown. Your required time in Bossier would include:
- A summer semester for didactic (class/lab) OTA program courses (OCTA 200/online only and 201)
- A fall semester for didactic (class/lab) OTA program curriculum (OCTA 203-OCTA 208). Courses during the fall semester meet 5 days a week.
- A spring semester for didactic (class/lab) OTA program curriculum (OCTA 210 – OCTA 218). Courses during the spring semester meet 5 days a week.
While it is likely that within your degree you have taken some or even most of the pre-requisite course requirements, there is a strong possibility that you may be lacking one or more of the required classes. You should request that an OTA advisor review your transcript and help you identify what may be missing. Additionally, if a significant amount of time has passed since the completion of your degree, your advisor may recommend re-taking or auditing particular courses so that your knowledge in that content is current.
The selection process for the OTA professional program is based 50% on academic criteria and 50% on non-academic criteria. Those factors include:
- Non-science pre-OTA coursework grades
- Cumulative science pre-OTA coursework grades
- clinical observation rating form scores (completed by the OTs or OTAs you observed)
- interview score
We accept a maximum of 20 students per year into the OTA Program.
We encourage any applicant not selected for the OTA program to meet with an OTA advisor to review strengths/weaknesses of their application packet. Options for students not selected include (a) pursuing another allied health program at BPCC (b) working on improving an application score with re-application to the OTA program the following year (c) working toward completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field or (d) investigating OTA Program application at another institution.
The pre-OTA component (qualification courses) of the program has only those costs associated with regular tuition per credit hour which is the same for all BPCC students. Once accepted into the OTA program there are additional costs related to clinical fees, uniforms, immunizations, etc.
You can find out about resources available through BPCC at the Financial Aid Scholarship page, and resources available through the American Occupational Therapy Association.
|Occupational Therapist||Occupational Therapy Assistant|
|Master’s or Doctoral degree in Occupational Therapy (a Graduate School Degree)||Associate or Baccalaureate degree in OTA|
|Starting Salary: Approximately $60,000 in Shreveport, LA||Starting Salary: Approximately $35,000 - $45,000 in Shreveport, LA|
|Responsibilites: Evaluate patients, Develop plan of care to improve patients’ functional abilities. Treat patients||Responsibilites: Collaborating with the OT in gathering data, planning goals and strategies, implementing treatment programs according to the plan of care, reporting to the OT on patient’s response, and documenting patient treatment and response; works under supervision of an occupational therapist|
|Patient Conditions Treated: Stroke, Spinal Cord, Injury, Sports Injuries, Back Injuries, Work-related Injuries, Neurological Disorders, Heart Attacks, Following Surgery, Physical Trauma||Patient Conditions Treated: Same as Occupational Therapist|
|Work Place: Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Home Health Agencies, Private Practices, School Systems||Work Place: Same as Occupational Therapist|
|Requires Licensure Exam To Work: Yes||Requires Licensure Exam To Work: Yes|
|Schools That Offer Training:||Schools That Offer Training:|
Two tracks are available to become an OT.
- A student may complete a graduate school level program in Occupational Therapy. In Louisiana, there are 2 institutions which offer that degree program – LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport and LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Acceptance into the OT Programs in Louisiana is on a selective/competitive basis. In order to apply for admission to those programs, you must first obtain a Baccalaureate Degree. Additionally, that B.S. degree must include all of the pre-requisite (pre-OT) courses required by the respective programs. For a more complete description of the pre-requisite requirements and application/selection process utilized by those programs we encourage you to review the website of the LSUHSC OT Program in Shreveport and/or New Orleans, and contact those faculty advisors/instructors with questions. Obtaining an Associate Degree in OTA first is not necessary. Please be aware that the OTA Program at Bossier Parish Community College and the OT Program at LSUHSC are in no way linked or affiliated. Additionally, please be aware that graduates of the BPCC OTA Program are not given preference in the selection process for the LSUHSC OT Program.
- While completing an Associate Degree in OTA is not the most typical “route” to take in pursuing a degree in Occupational Therapy, it is one option. OTA to MOT Bridge programs are available to Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants. The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers an OTA to MOT Bridge Program which is a 2.5 year combination onsite/online program. Applicants must be a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) with a minimum of one year experience or 1000 hours as a practicing COTA, have obtained a bachelor’s degree, and have met the pre-requisites prior to applying. For more information, please review the website ULM OTA to MOT Bridge Program, and contact the ULM MOT advisors.
- Contact an OTA advisor to answer any questions related to the Program and request a transcript review. While you are welcome to call, the most efficient way to correspond and receive responses is by e-mail.
- Complete an online application or contact the Admissions Office for assistance (318-678-6004). Be sure to select OTA as your major.
- The Classes & Schedules is available online. The academic bulletin will contain all the important dates for the semester as well as courses that will be offered during the semester. It will also include registration dates and times.
- Request information on financial aid by visiting the Financial Aid Office on the main campus, or by calling 678-6000. Be aware that if you do not qualify for financial aid, you may still request a deferment of fees, which allows you to pay tuition in parts rather than all at once.
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 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.
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 to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification exam. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. Therefore, it is the responsibility of a student with a felony conviction to contact the state licensing board and NBCOT prior to the application process to the program to determine eligibility status.
Kelly Brandon, M.S., LOTR
OTA Program Director
Michele Allison, LOTR
OTA Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
Sarah Codarin, COTA