Occupational Therapy Assistant

Students practicing hands-on skills with coaching from instructor

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Associate Degree

64 Credits | 2 Years

Financial Aid-Eligible

Ashland*, New Richmond*, Rice Lake* 

*via Hybrid instruction

Career Cluster: Health Sciences

Students in selected health sciences programs will travel to the Shell Lake Health Education Center. Travel requirements are customized to meet individual program course competencies.

Occupational therapy assistants help people participate in things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Occupational therapy is both an art and a science. Being an occupational therapy assistant allows you to “think outside the box” while applying science in order to best meet the needs of clients.  

Program Overview

Occupational therapy assistants work with individuals of all ages, from the first day to last day of life. We work with those who are recovering from disability and disease, those who are working to overcome mental health challenges, and those who need support with healthy living and lifestyle changes.  

In traditional settings, occupational therapy assistants work under the supervision of the registered occupational therapist to provide hands-on services.  Some settings allow for more creativity than others but all settings require an occupational therapy assistant to use individualized approaches to help clients perform their daily occupations. 

Occupational therapy assistants can work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, psychiatric facilities, day treatment, geriatric settings, community based practice and private practice. 

Program Outcomes

Occupational Therapy Assistant graduates will be able to:

  • Practice within the distinct role and responsibility of the occupational therapy assistant
  • Serve a diverse population in a variety of systems that are consistent with entry level practice
  • Seek out learning opportunities to keep current with best practice
  • Apply occupational therapy principles and intervention tools to achieve expected outcomes
  • Demonstrate professional behaviors, ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession
  • Advocate for the profession, services, and consumers

The OTA classes are very relevant to industry and instructors come with years of experience in the field. Students gain practical information and see the full scope of occupational therapy. 

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Learn by doing.

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Experienced instructors.

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Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTA) work with individuals whose ability to participate in everyday activities is complicated by developmental disability, physical and/or emotional illness, injury or aging. 

100% Pass Rates

The OTA Program has a 100 percent pass rate on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Exam in 2023. 

In-Demand Career

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of occupational therapy assistants is projected to grow 40 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. 


In the 4th semester of the OTA program, students complete fieldwork in the community. Students complete full time fieldwork working directly with an occupational therapy practitioner to apply occupation based intervention to clients. 

Required Courses

The OTA program uses technology to connect Ashland, New Richmond and Rice Lake to experienced instructors for theoretical coursework. Each location has expert instructors for in-person, hands-on lab experiences.  

Explore the Required Courses

Featured Occupational Therapy Assistant Courses

| 2 CR
Provides instruction in activity analysis with hands-on experience in activities across the lifespan. Students apply the teaching/learning process and adhere to safety regulations. PREREQUISITE: Admission to OTA program and COREQUISITES: 10514171 Introduction to Occupational Therapy, 10514172 Medical and Psychosocial Conditions, and 10806177 General Anatomy and Physiology.
| 5 CR
Develop skills and behaviors necessary for entry-level occupational therapy assistant practice. Provides a different clinical practice setting than OTA Fieldwork IIB. PREREQUISITES: All required courses with a grade point of 2.0 or better and COREQUISITES: 10514185 OT Practice and Management and 10514187 Fieldwork IIB.
| 3 CR
Introduces medical and psychosocial conditions as they relate to occupational therapy practice. Topics include etiology, symptomology, treatment, and contraindications. PREREQUISITE: Admission to OTA program and COREQUISITES: 10514171 Introduction to Occupational Therapy, 10514173 Activity Analysis and Appl, and 10806177 General Anatomy and Physiology.

Admissions and Tuition

Northwood Tech has an easy admission process that can be completed in one visit. Please see the details under the "Requirements and Application" section to get started.

Requirements and Application

Tuition and Fees

Northwood Tech breaks down the cost of education, so you'll have a good idea of how much your education will cost.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to help you pay for your education. It can come in the form of grants, loans, federal work-study, military and veterans benefits, division of vocational rehabilitation benefits, and scholarships. 

Learn More About Paying for College

Cost of Attendance

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the costs that you may incur while attending Northwood Technical College.

Learn More About Cost of Attendance

Estimated Total Program Tuition 2024-25*

Occupational Therapy Assistant

64 Credits | 2 Years


*Tuition is an estimate and does not include any miscellaneous fees for various courses, tools, books, supplies or uniforms. Program book costs are in addition to tuition and fees and vary depending on course selection and where the books are purchased or rented. 

After the Northwood Tech Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

Upon completion of the program, you will earn an Occupational Therapy Assistant associate degree.

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Transfer Center

Transfer your Northwood Tech credits to a four-year college to earn your bachelor's degree and beyond. 

View Transfer Center


Career Outlooks

Northwood Tech's graduates experience success. Learn more about the types of careers you can get after graduation.

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ACOTE logo

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 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 501E, Bethesda, MD, 20814. ACOTE's telephone phone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and it's 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.

Professional Licensure and/or Certification Information

Northwood Tech’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program is designed to prepare students to meet the educational requirements for licensure to be employed/practice in the state of Wisconsin and Minnesota. The College has not determined and does not guarantee its required courses meet the requirements for preparation, examinations, or licensure in states/territories other than Wisconsin and Minnesota as documented on the licensure and certification disclosure webpage. Students who may be seeking professional licensure or certification in states/territories other than Wisconsin or Minnesota should contact the appropriate licensing board in the state to verify that the Northwood Tech program meets licensure or certification requirements. To be eligible for testing and/or licensing in the state of Wisconsin or Minnesota, you may be required to obtain a social security number.

Out-of-State applicants sign a Professional Licensure Disclosure Form. 

Please click below to review more details about accreditation and licensure:

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services 


Choose a campus to view contact information, or for general assistance, please contact us.

Rice Lake Admissions Contact

Nicole Messicci

Admissions Advisor



Ashland Admissions Contact

Jennifer Bednarik

Admissions Advisor



New Richmond Admissions Contact

Sherry Rehnelt

Admissions Advisor



Superior Admissions Contact

Anna Kalin

Admissions Advisor



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