Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

Program Description

This curriculum is designed to prepare students to work under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist with clients who need to improve their independence in functional activities relating to activities of daily living, work or play/leisure as a result of injury, illness, the aging process, developmental delays, poverty, or cultural differences. These remediation activities take place in a variety of health care facilities such as hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, public and private schools, nursing homes, home care settings and emerging areas of practice. Students have faculty-supervised clinical learning experiences in a variety of these settings.

Degree and Certificate Programs

The Kapi‘olani CC occupational therapy assistant program offers an associate in science (AS) degree.

  • Associate In Science, Occupational Therapy Assistant (70-72 credits)
    Graduates of the OTA program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, administered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of the exam, the graduate will be a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). During the 2014 legislative session, SB 2472 was passed and sign which gives licensure to occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants in Hawaii; the effective date of licensure for OTAs is January 1, 2017. Most states require licensure to practice; state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

OTA Program Accreditation

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Kapi‘olani Community College was established in 1973; it is the only occupational therapy assistant program in Hawai‘i. The program is accredited 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’s telephone number, c/o AOTA, is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.

Please use the following link to obtain to most recent certification exam pass rate for the OTA program:https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx


The total number of graduates from Kapi‘olani Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant program during the 3-year period of 2015-2017 was 41, with an overall graduation rate of 77%.

Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
2015 17/15 88%
2016 18/14 77%
2017 18/12 67%
Total 53/41 77%


Program Fees

Students pay tuition based on the University of Hawai‘i, Kapi‘olani Community College per credit fee as published. Other fees include liability insurance of $15.00 per year and program fees of $200.00 per semester. Students are also responsible for fees associated with books, titer tests, CPR/First Aid training and certification, and the fees for the NBCOT exam that grants certification.

Career Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (2017) study supports an increasing demand for OTAs:

Employment of occupational therapy assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations…

Demand for occupational therapy is likely to grow over the coming decade in response to the health needs of the aging baby-boom generation and a growing elderly population. Older adults are more prone than younger people to conditions and ailments such as arthritis and stroke. These conditions can affect one’s ability to perform a variety of everyday activities. Occupational therapy assistants and aides will be needed to help occupational therapists in caring for these patients. Occupational therapy will also continue to be used to treat children and young adults with developmental disabilities, such as autism.

Healthcare providers, especially those specializing in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and home healthcare services, will continue to employ assistants to reduce the cost of occupational therapy services. After the therapist has evaluated a patient and designed a treatment plan, the occupational therapy assistant can provide many aspects of the treatment that the therapist prescribed (Job Outlook section).

There were approximately 39,300 occupational therapy assistant job in 2016. There is a trend of increase occupational therapy assistant employment in outpatient clinics (42%) and nursing care facilitates (19%). Other employers include the hospitals, home healthcare services, and elementary and secondary schools (U.S. Department of Labor, 2017, Work Environment section).

Occupational therapy assistants are also employed in many different traditional and emerging areas of practice including Activity Coordinators, Skills Trainers, Travel Trainers, Mobility Coordinators, and Assistive Technology Specialists.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm (visited November 01, 2017).

Download forms & documents at the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Toolbox.

Kimberly Cameron
Kimberly Cameron Military wife, recent OTA graduate

My husband was stationed in Hawai‘i long enough for me to finish my OTA degree and then we moved. I am excited that I was offered a job as a traveling therapist for $60,000 starting pay.

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