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Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

What is the format of the OTA Program coursework?

The OTA Program is now offered in a fully hybrid format. At this time, the majority of our lecture courses are online. However, in total credit hours, the majority of hours (35 of our 59 program–59%) are actually lab and/or clinical hours which are face to face, on campus and off campus.

Students must come to campus for lab classes, as well as lab practice and testing, lecture presentations, special events and community service projects. Students are divided into different lab sections, which generally meet on alternating weeks.  The time commitment on-campus varies with the semester and the time of year.  At a minimum, students will be on campus 3 – 5 days every other week.

It is possible for students to live outside of the Springfield area and still take advantage of the OTA hybrid format.  For those students, it is helpful to have room and board available in Springfield for times there is bad weather or when courses require more on-campus practice time.

The hybrid program allows for more flexibility in a student’s schedule, including more time for family and work responsibilities while going to school full-time.  However, faculty recommend a minimum of 30 hours of devoted study time for a 15 credit hour semester in OTA.  Due to the nature of the learning material, it would be very difficult for a student to hold a full-time job while participating in the OTA Program, but we have many students who continue to work while in the program.

Clinical experiences are held in various clinics, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and schools around the Springfield area, in Missouri, and in other states.  Students work with our Academic Fieldwork Coordinator to schedule these experiences while in the program.

What can I do to improve my chance of admission?

These requirements must be met in order for a student to be admitted:

  • Submit application on time (before 4:00 p.m. on April 15)
  • Submit a complete application
  • Meet the minimum GPA requirement in pre-requisite courses

What is the average GPA of admitting students?

The average GPA is 3.6 out of 4.0 for students selected to the OTA program.

How do I calculate my pre-requisite GPA?

To find your pre-requisite GPA, take the number of credit hours and multiply it by the following letter grade scores: A=4, B=3, C=2. The program does not accept grades of D or F as having met the pre-requisite standards. Calculate the total for all pre-requisite courses and divide by the total number of credit hours possible.

What is the required GPA for admission to the program?

Students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA in pre-requisite courses in order for the program to consider their application.

Improving knowledge of the OTA profession for the application process

The program does not require the following for admission but does suggest them for improving both your knowledge of the OTA profession and your chances for success in the OTA Program.  Applicants should plan to COMMUNICATE this knowledge in the application and interview processes.

Understanding the Profession

  • Shadow an occupational therapy practitioner in several settings (nursing home, schools, hospitals, outpatient centers). Contact any facility, ask for the OT department and they will be able to tell you their shadowing procedures.
  • Obtain a job in a healthcare environment.
  • Visit and read about the profession.
  • Read journals or magazines such as OT practice, Advance for OT or the American Journal of Occupational Therapy
  • Do volunteer work, or participate in health-related activities outside of school.
  • Take college coursework in related areas such as: adult and child development, geriatrics, computers,  medical terminology, study skills, biology, psychology or education.
  • Take online courses prior to entering the OTA Program.

What if I haven’t had any previous experience in healthcare?

Students come to the OTA Program with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Some have years of experience, and some have none at all. Both types of students can be successful. However, the more a student understands the profession, the more satisfied one will be with the choice to pursue an OTA degree.

Which classes do I need to take before I apply?

The Preferred Course Sequence (outlining the prereadmission requirements) is located on the OTC website.

ENG 101(3CH), PSY 110(3CH), SOC 101(3CH), BCS 145*(4CH), BCS 146* (4CH), COM 100**(3CH), PLS 101(CH)***

*Students may substitute BCS 165/205 for the 145/146 combination.
**Students may substitute COM 105 for the COM 100 requirement.
***Students must take the Political Science course for OTA, though History will meet the rquirement for OTC graduation with other degrees.

Since the admission deadline is April 15, can I take courses in the spring or summer and still be admitted for the fall?

In order to guarantee all points for admission into the OTA Program, all students must:

  1. Finish all pre-requisite courses prior to the admission deadline.
  2. Enroll in remaining pre-requisite courses during the spring semester in which application is made.
    1. The program allows students to submit an application so long as they enroll in pre-requisite courses by April 15th. Students enrolled in spring courses will be scored using their midterm grade during the admission process. Students must provide proof of midterm grades when submitting their application packet if enrolled in spring coursework. If the program admits a student taking classes in the spring, the admission will be contingent on the student receiving a “C” or better in that course.
  3. If a student still has pre-requisite courses to finish in the summer after the April deadline, he or she is still eligible to apply for the OTA Program. However, he/she will receive a score of zero for any classes not started or completed by April 15. This will affect the student’s ranking in the admission process. How much it affects the ranking will be dependent on the strength of other the applicants’ files.

How many times can I repeat a course to improve my GPA?

Repeating Courses

The Allied Health Department allows students to repeat a course twice. If a prospective OTA student cannot achieve a “C” or better in a pre-requisite course on the second attempt, the program will not count this course in the application scoring process. These students become ineligible for admission to the OTA Program. Please see the OTC Student Handbook for repeat procedures.

Do I need my transcripts sent to OTC?


All college transcripts must be sent to OTC prior to applying for the OTA Program.  Transcripts sent to OTC Admissions can be viewed electronically in the Allied Health department.

What if I took classes several years ago and want to apply to the OTA Program?

The program accepts most pre-requisite coursework as eligible to meet requirements, even from courses taken several years ago. Students must have a “C” or better in all pre-requisite coursework.

EXCEPTION: The program only accepts students who have taken anatomy and physiology within the last 5 years before application is made.   If a student is applying for admission in 2015 and took this course in 2009, he or she will have to repeat the course in order to be eligible for admission.

How many people apply to the OTA program?

Each year the program has 60 – 80 applicants.

How many students are accepted into the program?

We accept an average of 28 students for the program each fall, depending on the scores of the cohort.

I want to be an OTA, but I had to enroll in the BCS Degree at OTC. What does that mean for me?

BCS Degree

To receive financial aid, students must enroll in a degree program. We suggest you enroll in the BCS degree, then start by taking the OTA pre-requisites on your list of required courses. By doing this, students accepted into the OTC Program will not spend time and money on extra, unneeded courses. If a student does not get in the first time, they will still be enrolled in a degree track and can finish the degree if they choose to do so. So, again, the student will not waste any money or time.

What type of computer system do I need?

Students taking online courses at OTC must have access to a computer that meets OTC’s Computer Requirements for Online Courses. You can find this on the OTC website at If you have any questions about these computer requirements, please email

What are the criteria for acceptance?

Students receive admission scores for:

  • Academics: 60%
    • Pre-requisite GPA (6 pre-requisite courses ONLY)
    • Prior OTA coursework at OTC/Prior OTA coursework at a different college
  • References: 10%
  • Essay: 10%
  • Interview: 20%
  • Students will also receive additional points for the following:
    • Having a prior college degree (points are pro-rated for level of degree)
    • Attending one group advising session during the fall or spring prior to admission

Click HERE for group advising sessions.

Who should I use as my references?

Students should request references from people who are able to speak to the criteria on the reference form.

The program bases scoring for references on the points assigned to the different qualities of the applicant (found on the back of the reference form). Students do not receive extra points for additional letters sent to the committee.

Do I get credit for applying in previous years? Do I get credit if I was an alternate last year?

The program does not give credit for previous applications or previous alternate status. However, it encourages applicants who given alternate status and not selected to apply again.

What is the application timeline?

The timeline provided is tentative and may vary slightly as needs and schedules change.

  • April 15—application deadline
  • End of April—files reviewed by Program Director/Faculty
  • 1st Week of May—letters regarding regret/acceptance for interviews mailed
  • Week after finals in May (date selected by committee & varies with the year)—Interviews
  • End of May—letters of acceptance/alternates/regret sent
  • August—new student orientation for all new OTA students

What if I’m selected for an interview and/or admission, and I change my mind about continuing with the admissions process?

The admissions committee understands that unexpected changes happen which may limit your ability to participate in the admissions process. We only ask that you contact the Allied Health office as soon as possible (preferably several days prior to your interview) so that other applicants may be called to take your place. As it speaks to an issue with professional behavior, any applicant who misses the interview and does not call to cancel in an appropriate amount of time will be ineligible for admission in future years.

If I’m not accepted, can I apply again?

For most students, there is no limit to the number of times a student can apply for the OTA program.

Reactivating your Application

If the program does not accept a student, he or she should contact the Allied Health office at 447-8954 to activate the application for the next year. OTA applications will be good for one year from the date of the first application. After one year, students will need to reapply for admission. The program encourages students to update any or all of their application materials from a previous year in order to show currency in their activities.

I don’t want to do anything else but be an OTA. What if I don’t get in the first time?

Because there are usually more applicants than open positions, the program faculty encourages all students to reflect on his or her long term goals when applying. As members of the admissions committee, we want to maintain an unbiased review of all applicants.


Here are some ideas of how to proceed if the program does not admit you:

  • Retake courses to achieve a higher GPA (if possible and desirable to do so).
  • Take a year off to work and reapply the next year.
  • Continue taking coursework which supports the profession of OTA or work toward an additional degree until the next admission period.
  • Review your application file for areas where materials could have been more thorough (i.e. Did you use references who could speak to your skills? Did you communicate your experiences in your biographical essay? Did you speak specifically and confidently in the interview?).

Take steps to improve your skills or update application materials. Remember, there are over 3 times as many applicants as there are positions. You must set yourself apart from the other applicants by submitting your best application. Now is the time to put your best foot forward and help us see why you are choosing this profession.

Does the A.A.S. Occupational Therapy Assistant degree transfer?

Yes. This degree will transfer into Drury University’s Bachelor of Science in Health Services.  Click here for more information.

For more information regarding OTA specific information or the profession of the Occupational Therapy Assistant, please contact:

Becky Jenkins, MS, OTR/L
OTA Program Director

For more information regarding the OTA application process and OTA advising please contact:

Sandy Scroggins
Admissions, Allied Health Office

For more information regarding OTA advising, please contact:

Anita Beeler
Allied Health Advising

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