Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
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.
- OTA Program Director: Tiffany Kawaguchi, email@example.com, (808) 734-9229
- Counselors/Advisors: Health Careers Counseling Center
Degree & Certificates
Associate in Science – Occupational Therapy Assistant (76 credits)
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.
COVID-19 Advisory (relative CR/NC Policy)
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be accepting CR grades from the spring 2020 semester to fulfill prerequisite courses, however, letter grades are preferred. Supplemental information may be required if you choose to submit a CR grade. If you have any questions, please contact Health Sciences/Emergency Medical Services counselors at (808) 734-9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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)
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
Telephone (c/o AOTA) (301)-652-6611
Web address: www.acoteonline.org
The mission of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Kapi‘olani Community College is in accordance with that of the University of Hawai‘i Community College System and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Our mission is to:
- Provide open access to high-quality, 21st-century Occupational Therapy Assistant Program for qualified students from diverse cultures.
- Support the Occupational Therapy Program faculty’s commitment to being effective, ethical and caring educators and further develop their professional expertise.
- Specialize in the best practice application of Occupational Therapy professional knowledge and skills to prepare the student to qualify for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam.
- Offer a program of study that prepares the student for ethical practice and rigorous employment standards to meet workforce demand in the field of Occupational Therapy.
- Develop partnerships with agencies, businesses, and associations in the healthcare industry to facilitate clinical training, lifelong learning, and social responsibility of faculty and students.
- Participate in the ongoing assessment of program outcomes, faculty effectiveness, student satisfaction, and industry feedback to initiate improvement and strive for our goal of excellence in Occupational Therapy education.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the Associate in Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant, the student should be able to:
- Assimilate and relate the foundational content, basic tenets and theoretical perspective of Occupational Therapy and apply the relevant knowledge to function competently in the profession.
- Assist with theoretically-based screening and evaluation under the supervision of and in cooperation with the occupational therapist.
- Provide culturally relevant and occupation-based intervention and implementation to facilitate occupational performance and participation.
- Communicate clearly and effectively the distinct value of occupational therapy with clients, families, significant others, colleagues, service providers, and the public.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the service delivery and assist with the management of occupational therapy services in order to function competently in the profession.
- Be a lifelong learner, keep current with evidence-based practice, and uphold safety, ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession.
Graduation Rate, Pass Rate on NBCOT Exam & Employment Outcomes
The total number of graduates from Kapi‘olani Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant program during the 4-year period of 2019-2022 was 31, with an overall graduation rate of 67.4%. Note: Graduation delays were experienced in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
|Year||Students Entering/Graduating||Graduation Rate|
|2022||No admission in Fall 2020||N/A|
*Includes five (5) graduates who were admitted in Fall 2019; two (2) were delayed in completing Level II fieldwork requirements in Summer 2020 due to the COVID-10 pandemic.
The Accreditation Council for OT Education (2018) requires that the “average pass rate over the 3 most recent calendar years for graduates attempting the national certification exam within 12 months of graduation from the program must be 80% or higher (regardless of the number of attempts). If a program has less than 25 test takers in the 3 most recent calendar years, the program may include test takers from additional years until it reaches 25 or until the 5 most recent calendar years are included in the total” (Standard A.5.6.). The average pass rate over the 3 most recent calendar years for OTA graduates are as follows:
|Year||NBCOT Exam Passing %|
|5 Year Average||89.5% (34/38)|
Visit the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) to obtain the most recent certification exam pass rate for the OTA.
Graduates of the OTA program at KapCC are working in public schools, acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, psychiatric hospitals, and in private, non-traditional practices. Of the OTA graduates who have remained in contact with the Program, employment updates are positive:
|Year of Graduation
||Number of Graduates||OTA or OTA-Related||Non-OTA||Unknown|
|2022||No admissions in Fall 2020|
|2021||11||8 (72.7%)||2 (18.2%)||1 (9.1%)|
|2020||8||7 (87.5%)||1 (0.125%)||0 (0%)|
|2019||12||10 (83.3%)||2 (16.7%)||0 (0%)|
Licensure and State Authorization
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 Hawai‘i; 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.
Potential Career & Employers
The U.S. Department of Labor’s (2017) study supports 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 to 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.
“The connections I made with classmates, clients, professors, and other community healthcare providers during my time as a student in KCC’s OTA program helped me to grow as a healthcare professional and as an individual.”
Alisha Carvalho, COTA/L, Class of 2019