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Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

The specific nature of this program is to prepare active duty enlisted military graduates to practice as an entry-level Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) under the direction of an Occupational Therapist (OT). Additionally, this program prepares each graduate to take the national certification examination and become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). The program includes classroom instruction, practical exercises, research projects, training in labs, and clinical experiences. Graduates are prepared to deliver these services in a variety of patient treatment settings to include hospital inpatient/outpatient, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, orthopedic/hand therapy clinics, pediatric clinics, school systems, and mental/behavioral health treatment or rehabilitation settings. In coordination with the OT and the entire medical team, these graduates will be prepared to provide Occupational Therapy services to patients with a wide range of conditions/diagnoses, in a variety of settings crossing the full spectrum of age.

This program is open only to members of the military services and must be pre-screened for selection by their service, the military Program Director and the UIW Academic Advisor.

Program Description

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program is an introduction to the delivery of occupational therapy care. Students learn to assist Occupational Therapists in data gathering, treatment planning and implementation within the theoretical framework of occupational behavior/performance. Students will learn the occupational therapy mission and scope of practice by training on the general knowledge of physical and behavioral sciences; a working knowledge of the principles, concepts, and skills utilized to assist the occupational therapist in the implementation of remedial health maintenance and prevention programs for psychiatric as well as physical disability patients.

Once students have successfully completed all pre-requisite general education college coursework, didactic training and level I and level II fieldwork experience, they are awarded an Associate’s of Science Health Science (AS HSCI) degree in occupational therapy and are eligible to sit for the national certification exam to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).

Students assist in providing health maintenance services to decrease effects of physical and/or mental disabilities and promote physical fitness/wellness of patients. The instructional design of this program’s coursework involves progressing from understanding OT concepts and methods to practical application and intervention and, lastly, culminates in a clinical experience. Resident education and training is initially conducted online and at Fort Sam Houston, Texas The student then transitions to a clinical training location at various military and/or civilian medical treatment facilities across the United States. UIW and the Medical Education and Training Campus collaborate to ensure students receive the entirety of required coursework for award of the UIW AS SHCI degree and certification examination eligibility. All coursework is transferred to UIW prior to the award of the AS HSCI degree.

Clinical training provides students with clinical knowledge and hands-on experiential training which consists of clinical practicum in a patient treatment setting. The program prepares the student to exercise judgment, utilize problem-solving techniques and accept responsibility in performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in the care of patients. Training consists of a continuation of written and oral assignments as well as application (hands-on) of skills learned in the classroom.

Contact Us to learn how to submit an application or for further details

Major Areas/Methods of Instruction

Fundamentals of practice, psychology, human anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, orthopedics, rehabilitation, occupational therapy treatment medias, clinical reasoning, fieldwork experience 1 (level 1 observation) and fieldwork experience (level 2 practical experience).

Methods of instruction

Include, but are not limited to: lecture, demonstration, online materials, simulations, laboratory practice, and practical exercises. Quality control and safety techniques are emphasized throughout the program.


Prospective students must complete the following pre-requisite general college coursework with a “C” or better:

English composition I (3SH)
English composition II (3SH)
College algebra or higher (3SH)
Humanities (3SH)
Social Science (3SH) (Psychology or Sociology)

General education requirements can also be found in the military training and UIW course catalog.


The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is granted probationary accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE web address is

To view National Certification Examination Program Data Results:

OTA Faculty

  • LCDR Lynda Amell, Program Director
  • Bonnie Inkel, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
  • LTC Colleen Daniels, Army Service Lead
  • SFC Ovel, Senior Enlisted Lead
  • SFC Avery Pegues, Instructor
  • HM1 Derick Charles, Instructor
  • SSG Alexander Hanson, Instructor