Program Description There have been dramatic shifts in U.S. population as a result of an increased average
life span. This phenomenon, along with advances in science, technology, wellness,
and medicine has brought occupational therapy into the forefront of the health care
field. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected
employment of occupational therapists to increase by 16% and of occupational therapy
assistants to increase by 32% between 2019 and 2029. United States Department of
Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports a 2019 mean annual income of $61,880
for occupational therapy assistants.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant curriculum prepares entry-level occupational therapy
assistants to work in community and institutional health care programs, providing
direct and consultative occupational therapy services to individuals, groups, communities,
The Occupational Therapy Assistant curriculum combines Occupational Therapy Assistant
and general education courses with selected laboratory experiences. Program courses
cover theory and application of theory, development across the lifespan (birth to
death), therapeutic use of self, pediatric/adult/and geriatric patient/client treatment,
physical disabilities/mental health, research, evidence-based practice, technology
and documentation. The Occupational Therapy specific classes are complemented with
general studies in anatomy, physiology, psychology, sociology, and English composition.
Although the Occupational Therapy Assistant curriculum is designed to be completed
in two academic years, students may take a longer time to fulfill their degree requirements,
depending on individual circumstances.
In the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, students receive instruction in theory
and develop practical skills relating to occupational therapy through classroom, laboratory
and fieldwork settings. Through second year course work, students participate in fieldwork
practice settings to include general physical medicine and psychiatric centers, developmental
disabilities, schools, nursing homes and community agencies. In these experiences,
students work with and teach patients and clients methods for engagement in self-care,
work, play/leisure, education, social skills, rest/sleep, and home/community living
Technical Ability Standards do exist for the OTA Program and they are a reality of
the profession. However, due to the diversity of occupational therapy practice areas,
OTA Education lends itself toward attracting students of diverse abilities. The Erie
Community College OTA Program is committed to the notion of dis-ABILITY as diversity.
Provided a student has the capacity to successfully navigate the program, graduate,
and pass their certification exam, it is our goal to provide reasonable accommodations
to facilitate every student’s success. Please read, “Special Admission Requirements/Pre-requisites:
Technical Ability Standards,” as listed below for more information.
High School Biology, High School Psychology, High School Anatomy & Physiology, High
School Math-Algebra, Geometry, Statistics & Probability, HS Physics, HS English &
Writing Courses, Volunteer experience in health care settings.
Pre-Admission Recommendations: 80% High School Average, 2.80 GPA within 5 years of prospective admission for Undergraduate
College Students, Placement test, waiver or completion of developmental English and
Math courses. See admission requirements listed below.
Special Admission Requirements/Prerequisites "Technical Ability Standards" "Technical ability standards" for the Erie Community College Occupational Therapy
Assistant Student are essential functions or abilities required to meet the physical
and intellectual demands of an OTA student while participating in the program. Technical
ability standards can be met with or without reasonable accommodations. Students must
demonstrate good physical endurance and good health. Sufficient physical strength
is required for lifting and moving the human patient in a clinical setting. Additional
required skills for a clinical setting include: visual observation of patients and
clients in treatment sessions; manipulation and handling of therapy equipment; and
ability to demonstrate cognitive skills relative to problem solving, clinical reasoning
and handling stress. If you have any concerns that you might not meet these standards,
please contact the OTA Department to set up an appointment for advisement. Additionally,
as a student of the SUNY Erie OTA Program, students must conduct themselves in a professional
manner adhering to the American Occupational Therapy Association Code of Ethics, Standards
of Practice, client rights, and confidentiality. Note that a felony conviction may
prevent a student from completing our academic program through fieldwork, a degree
requirement, required for degree completion.
Introduction of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with
Disabilities Act requires that no qualified individual with a disability shall, by
reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits
of SUNY Erie Community College's services, programs or activities or be subjected
to discrimination by SUNY Erie. The term "qualified individual with a disability"
means an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications
to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication or transportation
barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility
requirements for the receipt of services or for participation in programs or activities.
Students must be able to perform the essential functions of the program in order to
meet certain minimum academic and technical standards.
Essential Functions as needed for typical program success: Motor Capability:
Move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces
Transfer patients who may require physical assistance
Guard and assist patients with ambulation
Perform exercise techniques, including applying resistance during exercise. Therapeutically
Lift and carry up to 50 pounds, and exert up to 100 pounds force for push/pull
Squat, crawl, bend/stoop, reach above shoulder level, kneel, use standing balance,
and climb stairs
Use hands repetitively; use manual dexterity. Ability to use fine skilled movements
such as finger dexterity and eye-hand coordination, for effective tool use, dressing,
personal hygiene, grooming, cooking, and communicating
Adjust, apply, and clean therapeutic equipment
Travel to and from academic and clinical sites
In the average clinical day, students sit 1-2 hours, stand 6-7 hours, travel 1-3 hours
Coordinate verbal and manual instruction
Assess a patient from a distance that allows visual observation of patient posture,
response to treatment, and interpretation/assessment of the environment
Respond to a timer, alarm, or cries for help
Monitor vital signs
Possess auditory, visual, and tactile abilities sufficient to assess patient status
and perform treatment (including seeing skin color changes, seeing facial expressions
and non-verbal communication, hearing heart/lung sounds, and feeling for muscle contractions/to
discriminate hot vs. cold/to fabricate splints).
Possess the ability to effectively attend to multiple features of a task, personal
interaction, and/or group to include ability to selectively focus and attend to key
features, use divided and alternating attention between two or more features in a
quick and safe manner.
Communicate effectively in English with patients, families, and other health care
providers, both in person and through documentation (including explaining treatment
procedures, teaching patients and families, documenting in charts)
Effectively adapt communication for intended audience
Interact, and establish rapport with individuals, families, and groups from a variety
of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds
Assume the role of a health care team member
Function effectively under supervision and effectively communicate with supervisor
Problem Solving Ability:
Function effectively under stress
Respond appropriately to emergencies
Adhere to infection control procedures
Demonstrate problem-solving skills in patient care (including reasoning, prioritizing,
and synthesizing data or information)
Use sound judgement and safety precautions
Address problems or questions to the appropriate person at the appropriate time
Organize and prioritize job tasks, materials, and schedule
Follow policies and procedures required by clinical and academic settings
Social-Emotional Capability and Professionalism:
Possess the ability to use effective work ethic skills to include attendance, punctuality,
positive work attitude, respect, cooperation, teamwork, professional manners, productivity
appropriate to course and job role requirements and to work with persons of diverse
Possess the ability to use basic computer (word processing/PowerPoint/Excel), electronic
communication and on-line course skills on a regular basis.
Possess the ability to access, evaluate, and use a variety of information resources
such as library services, electronic catalogs, and databases in an efficient, ethical,
and legal manner.
SUNY Erie OTA seeks to create an inclusive learning environment. If there are aspects
of the curriculum that result in barriers to a student's inclusion, they are strongly
encouraged and invited to notify the Department Head. Our program mission involves
serving our students which means making course materials accessible and fostering
student success. Students taking classes in the Occupational Therapy Department at
Erie Community College who are considering requesting reasonable accommodations or
academic adjustments are encouraged to contact Students Access Center at 716-851-1487.
The need for adaptations within the typical OTA program as determined by essential
functions may preclude specific OT practice areas for fieldwork placement. For example,
an individual who cannot lift and carry up to 50 pounds or exert up to 100 pounds
of push/pull force would not be best suited for a traditional clinic-based adult physical
disabilities fieldwork placement. For another example, an individual who does not
possess the sensory-motor skills to fabricate an arm/hand splint would not be eligible
for fieldwork placement in hand therapy/orthotics. Due to the diverse practice areas
of occupational therapy, placement is possible in mental health settings, as well
as emerging practice areas.
Other Relevant Admission Requirements/Prerequisites
In addition to the requirements of the SUNY Erie Admissions Department which include
an application indicating OTA as the program of choice for the semester of interest,
transcripts, and Placement Testing or waiver, OTA applicants must also meet special
admission requirements. All applicants are encouraged to contact the Admissions Department
to check the status of their application and verify receipt of all required documents
(transcripts, proof of virtual shadow hours, letters of recommendation). All intended
majors are encouraged to make sure that they communicate with the Admissions Department
to add an OTA Program focus or interest.
Applicants should have an 80 percent or above high school average within five years
of prospective admission for applicants without any college credit. Should an individual
only have high school GPA information older than 5 years, they need to establish an
undergraduate college GPA with at least some of the OTA general education courses.
A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 is required for all undergraduate colleges attended
within five years of prospective admission. Should an individual only have undergraduate
college GPA information older than 5 years, overall undergraduate college GPA will
Applicants will comply with the college’s math and English competency requirement,
as well as complete developmental coursework prior to admission into the program.
Applicants must either surpass the MT 006 level in math placement testing or be waived
from math placement testing based on data (high school average of math courses [75+],
GED score of 450 or higher, TASC math score of 500 or higher). If not successful,
applicant must complete and pass MT 006. Any math developmental course must be successfully
completed with a minimum passing grade of “C.”
Applicants must pass the SUNY Erie English Placement Test at the EN 100 level or above
unless waived from taking the test. Any English developmental course must be successfully
completed with a minimum passing grade of “C.”
Complete virtual shadowing as made available to applicants and submit the required
proof of virtual shadowing document as part of your application process, as a document
upload. Reach out to OTA@ecc.edu with any questions about this requirement.
Secure two letters of recommendation for admission into the SUNY Erie Occupational
Therapy Assistant Program, from past or current teachers, volunteer coordinators,
employers/work supervisors, spiritual leaders, coaches, or mentors. Ensure that both
letters of recommendation are dated and have included a signature, as well as contact
information including name, phone number, and e-mail address. Ensure that both letters
of recommendation include a description of your relationship with the provider of
the letter. Ensure that both letters speak well to your strength of character, basic
professionalism, and personal ethics. Submit both letters of recommendation by uploading
them as part of your application process. Reach out to OTA@ecc.edu with any questions
about this requirement.
It is strongly recommended that interested students meet with a Health Sciences Admission
Counselor to support their application process and help determine viability for applying
to the program. Students with an OTA focus, or interest, should meet with OTA Department
Head for advisement and for consideration of transfer credit. Acceptance into General
Studies does not guarantee future entrance into the Occupational Therapy Assistant
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is housed at North Campus and admits students
in the Fall Semester only. Application deadline is February 15. All pieces of the
application packet must be submitted by the deadline of February 15 (online application,
high school and all college transcripts, proof of virtual shadowing, and letters of
recommendation as specified above).
Meeting program admission requirements does NOT guarantee acceptance into the Occupational
Therapy Assistant Program. Viablity of candidates is assessed through admissions artifacts.
Admission is based on the academic qualifications, critical thinking skills and soft
skills of the student (academic transcript, virtual shadowing response, letters of
recommendation). Admission is also based on space availability.
If an applicant is not selected for admission, they must submit another application
packet for the following admission term to be reconsidered. Applicants re-applying
must submit proof of virtual shadowing, and letters of recommendation for each time
that they apply to the Program. Proof of shadowing hours questions are subject to
change annually and the updated document must be used by applicants.
SUNY Erie OTA does not have a waiting list. If an accepted applicant declines their
seat, the Department will contact the next most qualified candidate based on rubric
scores, provided their are other existing viable candidates.
According to FAFSA (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
Academic Year 2021-22
OTA Program Fall Semester
OTA Program Summer Semester
OTA Program Spring Semester
OTA Program Academic Year
Total Cost of Program (2 Year Program)*
Erie County Resident
$5,047 + 1 Summer of $844
New York State Out of County Resident***
$10,094 + 1 Summer of $1,688
Out of State Resident
$10,094 + 1 Summer of $1,688
$1,448 + 1 Summer of $210
OTA Books & Supplies2
Distance Education Fees4
Erie County Resident
$7,295 + 1 Summer of $1,054
New York State Out of County Resident**
$12,342 + 1 Summer of $1,898
Out of State Resident
$12,342 + 1 Summer of $1,898
* Estimated projected cost as tuition increases are determined annually by the Board
of Trustees. ** Amount includes a summer semester, per the OTA course sequence. *** New York state out of county residents can secure an out of county resident form from
SUNY Erie, have it signed by the appropriate party in their home county, and turn
the form into the bursar’s office at SUNY Erie within the first 30 days of school.
This allows SUNY Erie to bill your home county for out of county fees and this reduces
the tuition fee for New York state out of county residents.
1 Student Fees include: Student Life Fee (Health/Wellness Programming, Diversity & Equity
Programming, Life Skills Programming, Financial Literacy, Student Success Programming,
Student Leadership Programming, Athletics, Commencement); Transportation Fee (Campus
Parking, NFTA pass, Campus Shuttles); Document Fee (One time College fee to provide
any future requested copies of transcripts, medical records, etc at no additional
cost to the student. Online requests submitted through national clearinghouses’ services
may be charged a small processing fee by the vendor.); Student Activity Fee (Student
Government, Student Clubs, Student Planned Events (i.e. winter ball, speakers, voter
registration, etc); Technology Fee (Online library databases and subscriptions, technology
infrastructure including labs, wireless access, etc); Registration Fee; START New
Student Orientation Fee; and Lab Fees/Clinical Rotation Fees/Malpractice Insurance
linked to specific required courses. 2 OTA Books & Supplies include a breakdown of OTA textbooks and supplies (summer reading
book on self-care and success, AED/CPR certification, annual NYSOTA membership, annual
AOTA membership, goniometers, GONI and MOBI apps, an EHR GO 4 month subscription,
and an OTKE Exam registration). Books and supplies do not include Fieldwork incurred
expenses or personal transportation expenses to and from school/fieldtrips/fieldwork,
nor does it include materials costs for school projects/assignments. 3 Loan Fees are N/A to our College as SUNY Erie does not directly lend money to our
students. 4 Distance Education fees are not applicable as all required courses can be taken as
An Associate in Applied Science degree is granted to each student who successfully
completes all coursework and all fieldwork. The student must also demonstrate proficiency
in algebra with a minimum placement test score of 40 for the Algebra Test.
New York State licensure is required for employment in New York State. Upon graduation
from the program, an individual is eligible to apply to take the NBCOT OTA Certification
Exam and to apply for licensure. All states in the U.S. require state licensure.
Separate applications for state licensure must be filed within that state. Note that
a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification
examination and attain state licensure.
New York State DOES require passing of the National Certification Exam (NBCOT) for
employment in New York State. A final, official transcript indicating confirmation
for an Associate in Applied Science degree (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant
must be submitted to NBCOT as part of the application process for the national certification
Retention Data and Results of the National Board for Certification in Occupational
Therapy (NBCOT) Exam
New Test Takers
Passed Exam (%)
(13 graduates/22 admits)
(17 graduates/24 admits)
(19 graduates/24 admits)
(15 graduates/21 admits)
(X graduates/23 admits)
(X graduates/19 admits)
(X graduates/22 admits)
(X graduates/15 admits)
*TBD=To be determined **Graduation Rate includes both 2 and 3 year track students. ***Number impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, suspended fieldwork placement and
delayed graduation secondary to the global pandemic.
Website for NYSED-Office of the Professions regarding licensure/authorization/permit
to practice: http://www.op.nysed.gov/
New York State prides itself in the high quality of its licensed and certified professionals.
For the protection of its citizens, each license and certificate has requirements
that individuals must meet in order to be licensed or certified in New York State.
SUNY’s academic programs leading to licensure or certification are carefully designed
to meet and exceed these State requirements. This is a role SUNY plays in protecting
the public. Other states frequently have their own requirements, so if your goal is
to practice in another state, the following disclosure statement will help you check
to see what that state requires.
Per U.S. Federal Regulations, §668.43 (2019 Rule), and in compliance with the State
Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) Manual version 19.2, SUNY ERIE Community
College OTA Program provides the following disclosure statement related to the educational
requirements for professional licensure and certification:
SUNY Erie’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is an ACOTE accredited occupational
therapy assistant educational program. The Program also meets the educational requirements
by the Board of Regents in New York State to award an Associate in Applied Science
Degree (AAS) with a major in occupational therapy assistant.
ACOTE® accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational
programs satisfy the states’ educational requirements in all states, the District
of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For more information regarding state qualifications
and licensure requirements, please refer to the AOTA State Licensure webpage. https://acoteonline.org/about/
The 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, Maryland 20852-4929. ACOTE: 301-652-AOTA www.acoteonline.org AOTA:www.aota.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 and
attain state licensure.