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Occupational Therapy Assistant

“Occupation is the very life of life” — Harold Bell Wright

Are you interested in a career that helps people live life to the fullest? If assisting people in regaining control of their lives and bodies one step at a time is something that sounds interesting to you, Allegany College of Maryland's Occupational Therapy Assistant program may be right up your alley.


Two OTA Students Practicing

Current Students!

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Occupational therapy (OT) focuses on a person's ability to participate in all chosen occupations; that is, all the things that an individual wants and needs to do everyday. Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) -- under the direction of occupational therapists -- work with individuals whose ability to participate in occupations is impaired or limited due to injury, disease, aging, or developmental delays.


Designed as a two-year career training program, our occupational therapy assistant program includes fieldwork in a variety of settings, both locally and abroad. As you work towards earning your Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant, you'll also be required to join the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) to gain access to their website for valuable learning resources, as well as discounts on textbooks and educational workshops.

Joining the Student Occupational Therapy Assistant (SOTA) Club at Allegany College of Maryland is another way to expand your professional knowledge. As a member, you'll have the chance to volunteer for community events, fundraise for fieldtrips (including the annual AOTA Conference), and attend educational workshops.

The ACM Occupational Therapy Assistant program is designated as a Health Manpower Shortage Program by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). Maryland residents from counties other than Allegany County who register in this eligible program will be charged the out-of-county tuition rate. However, these students may be eligible to receive reimbursement for a portion of the cost difference between the in-county and out-of-county tuition rates. Funding availability for this program is based on funding from the state of Maryland and is thus subject to change each semester. Some restrictions apply. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

In order to participate in clinical experiences, students must obtain a Criminal Record Check. Many Occupational Therapy Assistant program fieldwork sites require receipt of the results of a criminal background check before accepting a student for fieldwork and may not accept a student with a criminal record. The Occupational Therapy Assistant program contracts with an independent agency to perform criminal background checks, and the cost of the service is included as a course fee in the first semester of Phase II of the program. The results of the criminal background check are reported to the Occupational Therapy Assistant program director and will be shared only with the Clinical Coordinator within the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. If a student has any criminal history, he or she may not be able to complete fieldwork, and as fieldwork is an integral part of the Occupational Therapy Assistant curriculum, the student will also not be able to complete the program. In addition, a criminal history may prevent the student from becoming certified and licensed to practice occupational therapy. If participating in a clinical experience at a Pennsylvania site, the student must also obtain a Child Abuse History Clearance. During enrollment, any official change or the initiation of any governmental proceeding affecting the information revealed by the required criminal or child abuse background checks must be reported immediately by the student to the director of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.

The OTA program at Allegany College of Maryland is accredited (2014) by the 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,, (301) 652-2682. Students who graduate from the Occupational Therapy Assistant program are eligible to sit for the national certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), 12 S. Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, MD  20877,, (301) 990-7979.

Course Info

As an Occupational Therapy Assistant program student, you'll expand your knowledge and gain career training through a variety of challenging courses, including:

  • Introduction to Occupational Therapy
  • Intervention Techniques I
  • Neuroscience Concepts
  • Dynamics of Human Motion
  • Cultural Diversity and Treatment Planning
  • Intervention with Physical Rehabilitation
  • Intervention with Psychosocial Conditions
  • Clinical Applications to Neuroscience
  • Group Dynamics
  • Intervention Techniques II
  • Intervention with Children and Adolescents
  • Occupational  Therapy Specialty Skills Development
  • Intervention with the Older Adult
  • Occupational Therapy Program Development
  • Clinical Internship I & II

A full listing of program courses and their descriptions can be found in the credit catalog.

Upon completion of the program students will have accumulated over 500 hours of clinical training. The program is affiliated with over 50 facilities such as Western Maryland Health System, Washington County Hospital Association, WVU Hospitals, Somerset Hospital and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center - Lee Regional.  OTA also has several corporate contracts including Nova Care and Healthsouth.

These links open to specific catalog pages and are best viewed through Firefox, Crome, or Internet Explorer.  Safari browsers will not link to the specific page. 


Career Info

Occupational Therapy Assistant program graduates enjoy enriching and rewarding careers at:

  • Home health care
  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Mental health facilities
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Schools

Occupational therapy has been named one of the nation’s “150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs” (JIST, 2008). 

Occupational Therapy Assistants have the opportunity to continue their education by receiving a Master's degree in OT. There are many Occupational Therapy programs designed to prepare Occupational Therapy Assistants to become Registered Occupational Therapists. A list of such programs is available through the American Occupational Therapy Association by calling 1(800) 729-2682 or Admission requirements for these programs vary from one program to another and making contact with a specific program is the best way to ensure admission.

View Salary Information from the U.S. Dept. of Labor

Career Coach - Helping Students Set Career Goals

Faculty/Staff Info
Jamie Andres, Faculty/Administrative Secretary

Allied Health 234

A.A., Allegany College of Maryland

Dr. Rae Ann Smith, Associate Professor and Program Director

Allied Health 236

A.A., Allegany College of Maryland

B.S., M.Ed., Frostburg State University

B.S., Towson University

OTD, University of St. Augustine


Teresa Waugerman, Assistant Professor and Clinical Coordinator

Allied Health 235

A.A.S., Allegany College of Maryland

B.S., Geneva College

M.Ed., Frostburg State University


Media Gallery
OTA Innovation
Since 2011, the OTA program has been able to offer the opportunity for students to do international fieldwork in Ibarra, Ecuador. The students accompany an occupational therapist from the Cumberland area, and spend 6 weeks working with clients in two sites: a school for developmental disabilities, and also a senior center. While there, the students have the chance to immerse themselves in the unique culture of the area. Watch the video to hear accounts from students who participated in this exciting opportunity!