Frequently Asked Questions


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What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

Occupational Therapy Assistants work with Occupational Therapists in assessing patient's needs, determining therapeutic goals, planning and implementing treatment. OTAs provide treatment to people who are limited by physical injury/illness, mental health problems, developmental disabilities, or the aging process. 

How can I get more information about Occupational Therapy?

A first step is and peruse the website. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROFESSION OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY - CLICK HERE. Online search for information about occupational therapy.   You Tube search for occupational therapy. Attend an OTA Program Preview meeting - next session listed on the OTA Home Page....

What is the difference between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy focuses on use of treatment techniques to promote pain free movement, prevent disability and develop fitness/wellness programs to increase active lifestyles.  Occupational therapy helps an individual live life to its fullest.  OT teaches individuals who have physical or cognitive changes techniques to help increase independence all the every day things that one must do to live life.  For stories about OT cases:

What is the length of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program?

Two years (beginning in the Summer semester). 

What are the prerequisite courses? 

Biology 144 & 145 or Biology 140 & 141 or
equivalent. Total minimum (8 units). A grade of "C" 
or better is required in all prerequisite courses. 

Bio 140 or Bio 145 must be completed no longer than 5 years from the date of application to the OTA Program. 


Are there other requirements other than the prerequisite courses?
 Yes.  You must be 18 years or older to apply to the OTA Program.  You must complete an application packet which is outlined under the "Application Process" tab.
Can prerequisites be completed at a school other than Grossmont College? 

Prerequisites may be taken at any regionally accredited institution. Applicants taking the anatomy and physiology as a part 1 and part 2 combination are highly recommended to take both at the same institution. Students need to contact the counseling department of the college where the course is to be taken to determine equivalency based on course descriptions and comparison prior to taking the course. The OTA Program determines equivalency of prerequisites at the time of application.  The following links can be used as a resource: 

Grossmont College Articulation

I am not a student at Grossmont College and I have questions regarding my general education courses, who can I talk to?
  • You can seek assistance from your counselor at your current college regarding transfer of courses to Grossmont College.
  • You can utilize the Grossmont College Catalog as a resource.
  • You can call the phone counselor by calling (619) 644-7208.
  • for additional information.
Can I transfer OT, OTA, PRE-OT or kinesiology courses from another college?
 No.  The OTA program does not accept transfer of credits toward the core OTA curriculum.
 What are the technology requirements in the OTA Program?

Students must have basic computer skills, access to internet service, access to a computer with camera/microphone, and a smartphone to be successful in the OTA Program.  The OTA Program utilizes Canvas for all courses. There are hybrid courses and online courses included in the OTA Program. Students in the OTA Program will need basic skills in and access to e-mail, the internet,  Zoom, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Docs, video creation apps, and Canvas.  The college does offer an open hours computer lab schedule in the Learning Resource Center and Health Professions Computer Lab.  To determine if you are ready for online learning, please click on the following link and go through the tutorials and questionnaire:  Step 4 of the tutorial covers Canvas basics.  Please click on the Online Resources/Professional Resources link to the left.

What are the volunteer and observation hour requirements prior to application?

The OTA Program does not require volunteer hours for application.  If you are interested in volunteering or observation hours, you will need to arrange for these opportunities on your own.  The OTA Program is not able to arrange volunteer or observation opportunities.

Can I apply to the OTA Program while I am taking the prerequisites? 

No.  Prerequisites are required to apply to the program.  Please see application process.

What is your policy on the use of marijuana? 

Most clinical health facilities will not accept students using medical marijuana for clinical rotations.  Inasmuch as clinical rotations are required for all students, Grossmont College is unable to accept students into the OTA Program who are currently using or plan to use marijuana, including medical marijuana,  during their enrollment in the OTA Program.

I understand that the major requires completion of one course from a specific list of social science courses,  prior to fieldwork level II, can I take another course somewhere else? 

Grossmont College OTA Program requires completion of one social science course from a specific list of courses (outlined under the course sequence tab) in order to complete the major requirements.    You will need to contact counseling to determine if a course you took is equivalent to one of the specific courses listed under the course sequence tab.

How many students are accepted into the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program?

The OTA Program seats 26 students each summer. 

Is there a waitlist for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program?
Applications are currently being put on a wait list until seating for the Summer 2024 semester begins.
Is the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS)examination required for entry into the OTA Program? 

The OTA Program does not currently require the TEAS examination to be completed for entry. 

Am I prepared for the time the OTA Program will take to complete successfully?

Click HERE for an activity that will help you determine if you have time in your life for this program.

When may I apply for admission to the OTA Program?

Application is open year round.  PLEASE CLICK ON APPLICATION PROCESS TAB

Can I waive immunizations, TB and/or flu shot?

Students are not eligible to decline without a Physician's statement documenting an adverse reaction or a statement from their pastor indicating refusal for religious reasons.  Clinical sites make the final decision on if they will accept a declination form. 


Can I e-mail my application?

It is best if you hand deliver your completed application to the OTA Office.

Must I have a high school diploma on file in the OTA Program office?

All students who have only attended high school, junior college or have a GED must turn in a copy of a high school diploma or transcripts.  If you have an AA or higher you are not required to turn in high school or GED information.   International applicants are required to submit a Grossmont College accepted credential evaluation service, for review of transcripts for proof of high school and college/university coursework. Foreign transcripts:  Beginning July 2017, Grossmont College accepts the evaluations of foreign transcripts from only those agencies that are current members of NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluations Services). For a current list of agencies visit:

I have a degree from a school that is not regionally accredited will it be accepted for proof of high school or higher degree?

No, proof of higher degrees must come from regionally accredited institutions.  If you do not have another degree from a regionally accredited institution, you will need to provide proof of high school completion.  If your high school was completed in another country, you will be required to submit an IERF (International Education Research Foundation, Inc.) or a Grossmont College accepted credential evaluation service, for review of transcripts for proof of high school and college/university coursework.

Must I turn in my proof of immunizations at time of application?


What is the deadline to submit proof of immunizations to the OTA Program?

At time of application.

What number am I on the waitlist?

There is currently no waitlist.

When will I know if I am on the waitlist?

When your OTA Application Packet is received in the OTA Office, the students name is placed on a list, a file folder is made and an e-mail will go to the student.  *You must keep your e-mail and contact information current in the OTA Office. If you have a Yahoo or Hotmail account, the OTA Program may not be able to successfully contact you with updated information or with an invitation to the program.  Please obtain an alternate email account when applying to the OTA Program; we cannot accept your application if you indicate a Yahoo or Hotmail account. Always check your spam and junk mail. It is the student's responsibility to check with the OTA Program if they do not receive a letter and feel they should have.

While I am working on prerequisites or on the waitlist, what can I do to prepare for the OTA profession/program?

It is recommended that you complete all of your general education courses before the start of the OTA Program.  If you have already done that, you can take courses in American Sign Language, gerontology, psychology, kinesiology, Yoga and Tai Chi.  You can peruse the internet under such topics as occupational therapy, AOTA, OTAC Online to explore the profession.  You can volunteer in health care facilities, community service programs and school based programs to learn about interacting with persons through the lifespan.  Brush up on your grammar, spelling, and writing skills.  Brush up on your reading comprehension and note taking skills. You cannot take OTA courses in the OTA Program while you are on the waitlist.  You must be accepted into the program cohort in order to take OTA courses.

I understand that you only communicate with students via e-mail, is that true?

Yes all communications with students are via e-mail.  It is the student's responsibility to make sure they check their e-mail account is NOT through Yahoo or Hotmail and notify the OTA Program of the new e-mail.   Also it is the responsibility of the student to adjust their mailbox to allow mail from the college and to check their spam/junk mail.

  When will I know if I am seated in the next OTA cohort?
 Tentatively around February or March, 26 students will be e-mailed from the top of the application pool with a notice of intent asking if you accept or decline a seat in the new class and an OTA Essential Function Skills Form.  You are to answer yes or no on the notice of intent and read/sign the OTA Essential Function Skills Form. Send both back via e-mail by the indicated deadline. Those who do not respond will be removed from from the files for failure to respond. It is your responsibility to verify receipt of these forms in the OTA Office by the deadline. 
I received a letter of intent from the OTA Program and sent it back accepting a seat, what happens next?
During March,  you will receive an e-mail orientation packet and instructions.  Mandatory orientation is generally held during the second week of April.  Failure to attend the entire OTA Orientation will result in forfeiture of your seat and your name will be removed from the class list if you did not contact the OTA Program prior to the orientation.
I just accepted a seat in the OTA Program, what happens to my status on another Grossmont College health professions program waitlist?
Once you have accepted a seat and are enrolled in a program, your name will be taken off the waitlists for the other health profession programs.   You must complete the program you are accepted in before you can begin another health professions program at Grossmont College.
What if I cannot accept the invitation to sit for the class in the summer?
If a student does not accept their seat at time of invitation, reapplication will be required.
I submitted my application and have never heard back, what should I do?
First look in your spam and junk folders of your e-mail accounts.  Look at your copy of your application and see what e-mail address you used. Contact the OTA office with updated contact information and inquire as to your status.  It is the applicant's responsibility to keep information current in the OTA office, check e-mail accounts frequently and check spam/junk folders frequently.
I thought I applied and were accepted into the OTA Program but I never heard from the OTA office, what should I do?
If you believe you applied and were accepted into the OTA Program, you should e-mail the OTA office and attach a copy of your  letter that you received via e-mail from the OTA office indicating your acceptance.
Will my application and transcripts be shred if I am no longer interested?  
A waitlisted applicant can arrange to pick up their transcripts and application by calling the OTA office in advance.  Documents will be shred beginning the first week of October each year.
Is the OTA program a day or evening program? 
 The OTA program begins as an evening program. Classes may be held anytime Monday through Friday from 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM; however, there are clinical courses - OTA 111, OTA 141 and OTA 221 that require daytime hours (approximately 20 hours each semester) and 28 additional hours for seminar which could occur during the day, weekend or online. The final semester is full time 40 hours per week for 20 weeks clinical work during the day.
Do I have to take a certification exam?
 Yes.  After complete your degree in OTA, you must apply to take the NBCOT OTA Certification Examination.  
Do I have to get a license to practice as an OTA?
In California, after you pass your  NBCOT OTA Certification Examination,  you are required to apply for your OTA state license in order to practice in the State of California.  Each state requires a license to practice, see for specifics.
I have a degree from another country. Can those credits be applied toward prerequisite courses at Grossmont College? 
Prospective students who completed their education in another country must have their transcripts for high school and college/university coursework evaluated by the CREDENTIALS EVALUATION SERVICE. Please contact Grossmont College Admissions and Records Department for more information.
Are there jobs available?
OTA jobs are available throughout the nation.  Health insurance, healthcare, and jobs in healthcare have been fluctuating due to the unknown impact of healthcare reform changes. It is therefore advised that graduates be willing to look in all areas of Occupational Therapy practice for employment and be willing to possibly relocate. 
What are the current salary levels? 

The salary range varies for a newly graduated OTA; however, the starting rate is approximately $22-30 an hour for an entry level position, depending on the facility.

Are the graduates required to pass a national certification? 

Yes, the graduated needs to pass a National Certification Exam through NBCOT. Additionally, licensure is required by most states. 


What is the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) pass rate of the OTA Certification exam? 
Is the OTA Program accredited?

Grossmont College is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and is a member of the American Association of Junior Colleges, the Community College League of California, and the National Commission on Accrediting. Appropriate courses are fully accepted on transfer by the University of California, The California State College system, and by private four-year colleges and universities.


The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education; (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929 and the phone number is 301-652-6611. is the link to their website.


Accreditation allows graduates who have completed the Associate Degree program to sit for the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Those who pass the exam earn the title Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.  


Students in default of a student loan may be ineligible to obtain a license to practice occupational therapy.  Be sure to check with the state licensing board in the state youwish to practice prior to applying to the OTA Program.


Individuals considering entering or currently enrolled in the OTA Program at Grossmont College who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony crime are urged to contact NBCOT at (301) 990-7979 for advisement and planning prior to continuing in the program. Persons on probation are not eligible to apply or be accepted into the OTA Program.  Failure to pass either or both the background check or drug screening procedures will interfere with clinical placements and may influence eligibility for licensure and/or NBCOT testing and/or employment.  Applicants with any issues that may flag the background check and/or drug screening should contact the Dean of Allied Health and Nursing for confidential advisement and planning prior to applying to the program. **Even if you have passed a prior background check, LiveScan often shows additional items from the past including expunged issues. Graduates are sometimes surprised that they are having difficulty obtaining employment due to not clearing a LiveScan for employment after clearing all the background requirements for the program clinicals, NBCOT testing, and CBOT licensing.**

What type of degree will I receive when I am done with the OTA Program? 

An Associate in Science Degree in Occupational Therapy. To find out what the G.E. requirements are, you will need to contact the Grossmont College Counseling Department. 

Are the OTA courses transferable to another college/university? 

Yes, however, you should check with the college or university that you are interested in transferring to for course acceptance. There are colleges that offer bridging programs from OTA to OT.  For more information go to  


What is the cost of the OTA Program? 
Can I work during the program?

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is an intense academic experience.  The program requires flexibility and many hours of study.  Working during the core content of the program is an individual decision that must be made by you while considering your study habits, academic level, experience in health care and life demands.  During your last semester of the OTA Program, you will be in Level II Fieldwork out in the community for 40 hours per week for 20 weeks.   During this time employment is not recommended.

Do I have to complete my general education requirements prior to fieldwork II?

It is required by ACOTE-Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education - that students complete all GE and major requirements prior to fieldwork II - OTA 240 and OTA 241.  Students must complete all level II fieldwork within 18 months following the completion of the core OTA academic preparation.

What is the infection control policy and safety policy of the OTA Program?

The occupational therapy program follows standard precautions and safe procedures when handling patients, simulations and supplies/equipment.

If I exit the OTA Program, can I re-enter the program at a later date?

If you stop taking the OTA course sequence for any reason, this is considered an exit from the program.   An exit from the program requires the student to fill out an exit form within one month of the exit.  Failure to complete the exit process within one month of exit may result in denial of re-entry.  Re-entry applications must be submitted by February 1 for Fall semesters and November 1 for Spring semester.  Re-entry applicants will be notified of testing dates available for course competency testing, skills checklist testing and re-entry interview dates via e-mail.  A failure to pass the re-entry exams and meet the re-entry requirements will count as a second attempt to enter the program.  Re-entry is not guaranteed.  Placement is not guaranteed in the next cohort. Further information is available in the newest student handbook located under the OTA Handbooks tab on the upper left side of this webpage.  

***EFFECTIVE APRIL 2015:  Readmission  - Students who leave the OTA Program in good academic, clinical and professional behavior standing may be readmitted one time, upon recommendation of the OTA Faculty. Students who leave the Program due to academic failure will not be eligible for readmission. Special consideration may be given in extraordinary circumstances and at the discretion of the OTA Faculty and Program Director.