2023-2024 Catalog


AS - Occupational Therapy Assistant

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program is a comprehensive 75 credit-hour program designed to prepare entry-level OTA practitioners and will culminate in an Associate of Science degree. The development of this program in the School of Integrated Health, Division of Behavioral and Health Sciences follows not only the evolution of the profession to foster greater scholarship, but collaboration alongside the Indiana Wesleyan University Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program. The conscious inclusion of intraprofessional/interprofessional experiences throughout the OTA program is a direct response to both Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) accreditation recommendations and the movement within health professions education to best prepare healthcare practitioners for teamwork and successful collaboration in their eventual employment settings.

The OTA program’s primary guiding model is the Person-Environment-Occupation-Performance (PEOP). The concepts and terminology are taken from the PEOP, the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (OTPF), and the American Council on Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) standards.

The PEOP model is the foundation of the Division of Occupational Therapy, as a whole, of both the OTD and the OTA programs. The model was chosen, based on the focus on “occupation” as the core construct of the occupational therapy profession leading to interventions based in purposeful engagement in occupations that are necessary and meaningful to the client. The PEOP model definition of the “client” encompasses individuals, organizations, and populations. This provides the holistic framework for education guiding the OTA student, in not only understanding, the self as an occupational being, but translates to organizations, to communities, and to populations.

Upon completion of the IWU Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • Christ-like character: view self as a reflective occupational being with need for balance in personal health/wellness/spiritual character, creativity, and professional knowledge and skills that lead to therapeutic use of self with diverse clients/populations/communities.
  • Engagement in intraprofessional/interprofessional collaborative evidence-based practice: through critical thinking and collaboration, demonstrate clinical reasoning and carry out scientific evidence-based client centered interventions that enable performance and engagement in meaningful occupations supporting health, well-being, and participation in life. 
  • Commitment to serving as an “agent of change” in the Community: recognize, meet, and advocate for the diverse occupational needs of clients/populations in their communities there-by demonstrating servant leadership, contributing to meeting changing world needs and promoting health, well-being, inclusion, and quality of life.
  • Professional commitment: communicate effectively and ethically, demonstrate scholarship preparing for life-long learning in current and emerging practice areas, demonstrate support for professional organizations, and actively advocate for individual clients, organizations, and population needs.


    Provide a Christ-centered experiential occupational therapy assistant curriculum that fosters evidence-based practice and lifelong intraprofessional/interprofessional collaboration, development, and servant leadership in providing ethical client-centered, occupation-based care, responsive to changing world needs in everyday living.


    Prepare entry-level Occupational Therapy Assistant practitioners who embrace the art and science of occupational therapy, committed to life-long Christ-like character in serving as culturally sensitive and innovative agents of change in their communities facilitating health, well-being, and participation in activities/occupations across the lifespan.


    The occupational therapy assistant program fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Execute Boulevard, Suite 200 North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number is (301) 652-6611 and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. Graduates are 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 or attain state licensure.

    Admission Requirements

    The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is a Selective Admissions Program, which means not every student in the applicant pool may be accepted. Admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is competitive and enrollment in the program is limited because of available faculty, financial, and fieldwork resources. Requirements for admission to the program include:
    • Attend an information session, which outlines the education, examination, and licensure process for successful completion of the OTA program and career development.
    • Proof of high school graduation or GED certification.
    • Official transcripts of all previous college work. 
    • Preference given for students who demonstrate a “C” or better in high school science courses and/or college-level science courses.
    • Preference given to students with other degrees.
    • Admission/Retention in the OTA Program, pending successful completion, with a “B-” or better grade in all courses (exception: BIO-111/BIO-112, “C” or better), maintenance of 2.7 GPA or better each semester, and obtainment of an overall GPA of 2.7 or better to graduate.
    • Interview and writing sample (arranged by invitation following receipt and review of all other application materials).
    • Upon establishment of the qualified applicant pool; the top 30 candidates will be determined from the established point system for selection into the OTA Program.

    Program Requirements

    The OTA program is a lock-step program. All courses are carefully planned to provide for foundational learning, then build on previous learning and provide for skill development in preparation for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam and to practice as a licensed practitioner. All OTA courses must be taken at Indiana Wesleyan University. All courses must be successfully completed in the sequence prescribed by the program's requirements. Failure to successfully complete a course will result in an administrative withdrawal from the program. Students who are unable to complete a course or who receive an unsatisfactory grade will be allowed to repeat that course with the next cohort provided the student follows through with a petition for re-enrollment process. Tuition and fees will be charged for repeating the course. OTA students will be academically dismissed upon receipt of a second unsatisfactory grade.

    • Students must earn a minimum grade of “B-” or “CR” in each course in the OTA program (exception: BIO-111/BIO-112, “C” or higher).
    • Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.7.
    • Students who do not earn the required grade or maintain a 2.7 will be administratively withdrawn from the OTA program at the end of the term and will not be able to continue with the next term.
    • Students who have been administratively withdrawn may petition to re-enroll with the next cohort the following year and may be asked to audit courses to prepare for re-entry.
    • Students with two unsatisfactory grades (including the same courses, repeated) will be academically dismissed from the program and ineligible to return.

    Students must complete all graduation and fieldwork requirements in a timely manner. All Level II fieldwork must be completed within 18 months following satisfactory completion of the didactic portion of the program.

    Graduation Requirements

    To fulfill graduation requirements students must have completed all of the following:

    • All credits required in the course of studies with a minimum overall GPA 2.7.
    • Minimum grade of "B-" or higher all courses.  Any course with a grade below "B-" must be repeated (exception: BIO-111/BIO-112, "C" or higher).
    • Payment of all tuition and fees is required to receive a diploma.
    Indiana Weselayan