Associate of Applied Science: Occupational Therapy Assistant

Associate of Applied Science: Occupational Therapy Assistant

  • Prepare for a career as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) — work with individuals to improve their physical, psychological and spiritual well-being.
  • COTA's are creative, compassionate problem solvers — you'll have unlimited potential to touch people's lives.
  • Work in diverse settings: hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, clinics, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and homes.
  • Career potential:  Median annual salary: $53,240* in 2012. By 2022, the number of OTA jobs in the U.S. is expected to increase by 41%*
  • Benefit from St. Kate's unmatched reputation — with the nation's first OTA associate degree program, and a national reputation in OT education
  • Courses meet weekdays on St. Kate's Minneapolis campus.  The program is also offered in a partially online format, with fieldwork and lab hours in the state of Virginia. Find out more about St. Kate's OTA Online–Virginia option.

* Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Next steps:

Occupational Therapy Assistant Refresher Course

Occupational Therapy: Helping others live life to its fullest

Under the direction of and in collaboration with occupational therapists, COTAs help people regain independence and accomplish what they need and love to do — their human occupations and avocations — despite physical, mental or emotional limitations. COTA's carry out the patient rehabilitation or treatment plans developed by occupational therapists. Many patients are over the age of 65, or are children or teens. On-the-job tasks of an OTA might include: 

  • Working with a stroke patient to re-teach speech and motor skills
  • Working with an injured employee to regain the strength and coordination necessary for the physical demands of her job
  • Teaching a patient with limited mobility how to get around in a wheelchair
  • Showing an elderly person how to use assistive devices so she can live and function independently
  • Helping a patient with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder learn tools and techniques for handling anxiety
  • Collaborating with school psychologists, teachers and parents to help an autistic child improve cognitive abilities or motor skills
  • Keeping patients' case files current and documenting their progress

Successful OTAs are usually compassionate, detail-oriented individuals with the ability to get along well with all kinds of patients and adapt different therapies to patient's specific needs. They must also have a fair amount of strength due to the effort required to assist patients. 

Hands-on learning: Lab and fieldwork

In St. Kate's OTA program, you'll get real-world, hands-on experience to prepare you for career success. You'll build skills in a lab environment on campus. Then, in fieldwork experience under the supervision of a practicing occupational therapy professional, you'll work directly with patients and experience what you'll be doing on a day-to-day basis as a COTA. You'll gain the confidence and skills you need to succeed.

Move up the ladder: finish your bachelor's at St. Kate's

Women ​graduating with St. Kate's associate OTA degree may move seamlessly into the Evening/Weekend/Online bachelor's degree program for adults. Study while you work as a COTA, build on credits earned for your associate degree, and complete a bachelor's degree with a major in Public Health, Healthcare Management, or other field.


Contact Information

  • Minneapolis Campus
    601 25th Avenue South
    Minneapolis, MN 55454