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Occupational Therapy Assistant

“Occupation is the very life of life” — Harold Bell Wright

Are you interested in a career that helps people live life to the fullest? If assisting people in regaining control of their lives and bodies one step at a time is something that sounds interesting to you, Allegany College of Maryland's Occupational Therapy Assistant program may be right up your alley.


Two OTA Students Practicing

Occupational therapy (OT) focuses on a person's ability to participate in all chosen occupations; that is, all the things that an individual wants and needs to do everyday. Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) - under the direction of occupational therapists - work with individuals whose ability to participate in occupations is impaired or limited due to injury, disease, aging, or developmental delays.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is a 1+1 program. This means that students are required to complete all General Education requirements (Phase 1) before applying to the clinical phase of the program (Phase II).

Phase I courses include:
  • Freshman English
  • Math elective (Elements of Math, College Algebra or Statistics)
  • General Psychology
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Musculoskeletal Anatomy OR Anatomy and Physiology 1
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology OR Anatomy and Physiology 2
  • Physical Activity elective
  • Humanities elective
  • Introduction to Occupational Therapy
  • Cultural Diversity and Treatment Planning


Phase II of the program includes occupational therapy assistant courses, as well as fieldwork opportunities in a variety of settings, both locally and abroad. As you work towards earning your Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant, you'll also be required to join the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) to gain access to their website for valuable learning resources, as well as discounts on textbooks and educational workshops.

The ACM Occupational Therapy Assistant program is designated as a Health Manpower Shortage Program by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). Maryland residents from counties other than Allegany County who register in this eligible program will be charged the out-of-county tuition rate. However, these students may be eligible to receive reimbursement for a portion of the cost difference between the in-county and out-of-county tuition rates. Funding availability for this program is based on funding from the state of Maryland and is thus subject to change each semester. Some restrictions apply. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

The OTA program at Allegany College of Maryland is accredited (2014) by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. ACOTE, c/o Accreditation Department, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD  20814-3449,, (301) 652-2682. Students who graduate from the Occupational Therapy Assistant program are eligible to sit for the national certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), One Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878,, (301) 990-7979.

Course Info

As an Occupational Therapy Assistant program student, you'll expand your knowledge and gain career training through a variety of challenging courses, including:

  • Introduction to Occupational Therapy
  • Intervention Techniques I
  • Neuroscience Concepts
  • Dynamics of Human Motion
  • Cultural Diversity and Treatment Planning
  • Intervention with Physical Rehabilitation
  • Mental Health Concepts and Techniques
  • Clinical Applications to Neuroscience
  • Group Dynamics
  • Intervention Techniques II
  • Intervention with Children and Adolescents
  • Occupational  Therapy Specialty Skills Development
  • Intervention with the Older Adult
  • Documentation for Occupational Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy Program Development
  • Clinical Internship I & II

A full listing of program courses and their descriptions can be found in the credit catalog.
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Upon completion of the program students will have accumulated over 500 hours of clinical training. The program is affiliated with over 50 facilities such as Western Maryland Health System, Washington County Hospital Association, WVU Hospitals, Somerset Hospital and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center - Lee Regional.  OTA also has several corporate contracts including Nova Care and Healthsouth.


Career Info

Occupational Therapy Assistant program graduates enjoy enriching and rewarding careers at:

  • Home health care
  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Mental health facilities
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Schools

Occupational therapy has been named one of the nation’s “150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs” (JIST, 2008). 

Occupational Therapy Assistants have the opportunity to continue their education by receiving a Master's degree in OT. There are many Occupational Therapy programs designed to prepare Occupational Therapy Assistants to become Registered Occupational Therapists. A list of such programs is available through the American Occupational Therapy Association by calling 1(800) 729-2682 or Admission requirements for these programs vary from one program to another and making contact with a specific program is the best way to ensure admission.

View Salary Information from the U.S. Dept. of Labor

Career Coach - Helping Students Set Career Goals

Faculty/Staff Info
Jamie Andres, Administrative Associate

Allied Health 234

A.A., Allegany College of Maryland

Sharon Leonard, OTR/L, Assistant Professor and Program Director

Allied Health 234D

B.S. Mt Aloysius College, PA

OTD Candidate, Rocky Mountain University, UT

Media Gallery
OTA Innovation
Since 2011, the OTA program has been able to offer the opportunity for students to do international fieldwork in Ibarra, Ecuador. The students accompany an occupational therapist from the Cumberland area, and spend 6 weeks working with clients in two sites: a school for developmental disabilities, and also a senior center. While there, the students have the chance to immerse themselves in the unique culture of the area. Watch the video to hear accounts from students who participated in this exciting opportunity!