Occupational Therapy Assistant

The OTA program at Amarillo College is a 24 month program consisting of both classroom instruction and clinical experience. The program consists of students who have met the application requirements, completed the application process, have been notified of program acceptance and have formally accepted a position in the current class. The last semester is a full time 40 hour per week clinical experience(fieldwork) which lasts 16 weeks.

What are the best things about AC's OTA program?

OTA students say the class schedule works well with their life. Also, the faculty are passionate about OTA and enjoy teaching. Students truly seem to enjoy each other - they sometimes spend time together outside of class. There are lots of opportunities for hands on experience practice of OTA in the fieldwork experiences.

Once students are accepted and enroll into the OTA, they experience a high rate of success. Since 2007, 71 students have entered the program and 68 of them have graduated on time. In college language, the program has a fall to fall retention rate since 2006 of 99%. Students say they've worked harder in the OTA program than they did for their bachelors degree or in other college courses they had taken.

What is the best thing about occupational therapy?

"I got into OT because I want to make a difference in people's lives. OT can change how well a person with a disease or disability lives life."  AC OTA graduate

"When I graduate, I'll have jobs to choose from - I might  work with children, adults or elders. OTAs  are really in demand all across Texas and the US. I can make $25.00 an hour working in Dallas." AC OTA student

"I didn't know what OT was until my child needed it. I saw what a benefit OT was in helping do everyday things that had been a struggle - getting dressed, learning in school, playing with others, making friends. Now I want to have a career where I can guide others in improving their independence and satisfaction with life." AC OTA student

What's "fieldwork?"

Fieldwork is clinical practice of the skills learned in class. A licensed OT practitioner supervises fieldwork. There are two levels of fieldwork experience in the OTA program. Level I Fieldwork consists of 3 courses. Level I Fieldwork is a part-time experience for a half day one semester, full days in the summer for 2 to 3 weeks, and 1 full day the second fall semester.

Level II  fieldwork courses are seven to nine weeks each, for a total of 16 weeks as required by ACOTE. These two courses consist of advanced direct patient intervention under the supervision of a licensed OT practitioner. The student will be in the clinical site for 40 hours per week for 16 full weeks the last semester of the program.

Level I or Level II Fieldwork may have to be done out of Amarillo because of the number of students and clinic sites available in the Amarillo area

When I finish the classes and fieldwork, what do I do next?

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 passing this exam, you will be a certified Occupational Therapy Assistant(COTA).

In addition, Texas and most other states require licensure to practice. Texas and many other states use the certification exam results to determine who can be licensed to practice OT.

NOTE: A felony conviction may affect your ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or get a state license to practice OT. A graduate who is not allowed by NBCOT to take the certification exam because of a felony conviction will probably not be able to get Texas license as an OTA. Assistance with a felony conviction can be obtained through NBCOT  and ECPTOTE .

So how good are AC's OTA program students & graduates? How many pass the cert exam & get jobs?

Amarillo College graduates shine when it comes to passing the cert exam and getting jobs. Here's AC's OTA program info for the past 3 years:

YEAR Number of program graduates Number of  test takers Number of test takers who passed the exam Percentage of test takers who passed the exam
2012 23 23(first time) 17(first time) 74% (first time)
2013 14 12 12 (unlimited attempts) 100% (unlimited attempts)
2014 21 20 19 (unlimited attempts)

95% (unlimited attempts)

TOTAL for 3 years 58 55 48

89.66% overall 3 years


The direct link for NBCOT results for Amarillo College OTA graduate data is https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx

Amarillo College's OTA program overall average pass rate for the past 3 years is 89.66%. We are proud of our fine graduates and their success on the certification exams. And, in all three years, 100% who were looking for an OTA job were employed within 6 months of graduation!


Salaries vary with location, supply and demand as well as type of facility. Locally, a new OTA graduate can expect to earn approximately $41,600 to $52,000 annually, a rate of $20.00 to $25.00 per hour. On-call and per diem rates are higher. The rate of pay is higher in other parts of Texas including some facilities as close as 80 miles from Amarillo. There are many jobs  available within the state as well as across the US.

Amarillo College's OTA program is accredited by Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of The American Occupational Therapy Association(AOTA). The program was initially accredited in 2000 and reaccredited in 2010. An interim report was submitted in June 2013.
The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org.