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Earn an Occupational Therapy degree close to home at Penn State Mont Alto


Occupational therapy is a growing healthcare field in the United States with increasing employment opportunities expected to steadily increase through 2020. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes occupational therapist assistant among its list of fastest growing occupations and predicts much faster than average growth (36 percent or more) for assistants.

Program Description

The OTA Program at Penn State Mont Alto includes five semesters of studies: four semesters of coursework followed by 16 weeks of fieldwork in at least two areas of practice. 

The philosophical foundation of the progressive teaching-learning model is that it prepares graduates to assume the role of a lifelong learner, thus moving them to continued levels of higher learning alongside of five primary curricular threads:

1) Professional behaviors
2) Occupational therapy practice framework and processes
3) Empowerment via the teaching-learning process
4) Clinical reasoning
5) Therapeutic use of self and the intentional relationship 

It is through the progressive teaching-learning process that students glean the skills, knowledge, and understanding that human beings are unique and have a relationship with the environment that is interdependent and constantly changing while engaged in meaningful occupations. To this end, the mission of the Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Program is two-fold: to prepare graduates who will be competent entry-level certified occupational therapy assistants and to meet the unique needs of the community through education and service.

Careers for Occupational Therapy Program Graduates

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA's) work in a variety of settings, under the supervision of occupational therapists. Young or old, we all have a job to dothe job of living. Learning, growing, playing, working, managing our homes, and caring for our families and ourselves are among the "occupations" of  life. Sometimes physical, emotional, or other challenges prevent people from participating fully in the job of living. Stroke, injury, depression, and developmental disabilities, for example, can make it difficult for people to do everyday tasks or be as active and as independent as they would like. Occupational therapy makes it possible for people to regain independence and to enjoy life to its fullest. By choosing a career in occupational therapy, you will make a difference. You will improve the lives of children, young people, and adults alike. Following graduation, students are eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.

Beginning in 2013, program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found on-line at https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx

Career opportunities for a graduate with an associate degree in occupational therapy may include, working in public and private schools, early intervention programs, general, psychiatric, and pediatric hospitals, day treatment centers, hospices and home health agencies, rehabilitation hospitals and centers, skilled and intermediate care facilities, community living programs, community wellness centers, work hardening and adjustment programs, and/or hand therapy clinics.

The program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) through the 2023-2024 academic year.

For more information, contact Dr. Angela Hissong, Occupational Therapy Program Director, at 717-749-6165.

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                      Are there any factors that would prohibit a student from taking the certification exam?

If you have a felony conviction on your record, this may affect your ability to sit for the certification examination administered by NBCOT after you graduate; this can subsequently affect your ability to attain state licensure. Before applying to the OTA program, you can contact NBCOT for information on their early determination program to assess examination eligibility. Go to www.nbcot.org and read the "Early Review" section for details.



The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA)
4720 Montgomery Lane
Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Phone:  301-652-2682

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
c/o Accreditation Department
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Phone:  301-652-6611, ext. 2914

National Board for the Certification of Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT)
12 South Summit Avenue
Suite 100
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
Phone:  301-990-7979
Fax:  301-869-8492


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