BHS in Occupational Therapy Assistant

Degree Program Description

The Bachelor of Health Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant (BHS-OTA) Program will prepare students to practice as occupational therapy assistants who will then work under the supervision of occupational therapists in their career. Occupational therapy assistants are skilled health professionals who provide services to individuals across the lifespan to maximize their independence in meaningful everyday activities. OTAs use research, scientific evidence, and a holistic approach to incorporate an individual’s valued occupations into the intervention process. The BHS-OTA degree provides an additional degree option for students who wish to complete an undergraduate degree that allows for immediate employment in a health profession with high employment and entry-level salaries. In addition, graduates of the BHS-OTA program will have the opportunity to continue their education by pursuing a clinical doctorate degree in occupational therapy should they wish to practice at a higher practitioner level as an occupational therapist, and/or the option of completing a PhD to pursue a career in rehabilitation science, all while being able to work as a licensed OTA.The BHS-OTA will prepare students for entry-level practice in diverse practice settings including hospitals, schools, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, early intervention programs, mental health programs, community agencies, and emerging areas of practice.  At the completion of their education, MU OTA students will:
     - Utilize and integrate evidence into professional practice to ensure high quality health care services and use of scientifically supported interventions.  Use research to make informed decisions for best practice.
     - Demonstrate clinical competence as an entry-level OTA in order to meet the demands of an ever-changing practice environment in rural and metropolitan areas and with a variety of client populations.
     - Address the occupational needs of individuals and communities to improve community health outcomes.
     - Participate in lifelong learning behaviors reflective of professionalism as expected in the healthcare environment.
     - Demonstrate high level professionalism behaviors and adherence to the Code of Ethics as they develop a professional identity through a baccalaureate project in the area of clinical practice, administration, leadership, advocacy, or education.
     –Develop the skills necessary for cultivating intraprofessional and interprofessional relationships as all individuals work toward common goal of improved outcomes.

Major Program Requirements

Courses Required Pre-BHS-OTA:

Prior to acceptance to the BHS-OTA program, students must complete a minimum of 46 credit hours which includes foundational and pre-requisite content for the professional component of the curriculum.  Students will be required to complete all science courses within four years of their application to the program.  These 46 hours must include the courses listed below.  Students must complete all OTA prerequisites prior to starting the professional coursework in the BHS-OTA program. Students are encouraged to have as many, if not all, general education requirements, University requirements, and School of Health Professions requirements completed prior to starting the professional coursework in the BHS-OTA program, however please note they must all be completed prior to being able to graduate

STAT 1200Introductory Statistical Reasoning3
or STAT 2500 Introduction to Probability and Statistics I
or ESC_PS 4170 Introduction to Applied Statistics
BIO_SC 1010
BIO_SC 1020
General Principles and Concepts of Biology
and General Biology Laboratory
or BIO_SC 1500 Introduction to Biological Systems with Laboratory
PTH_AS 2201
PTH_AS 2203
Human Anatomy Lecture
and Human Anatomy Laboratory
MPP 3202Elements of Physiology5
Behavioral and Social Sciences
PSYCH 2510Survey of Psychopathology3
SOCIOL 1000Introduction to Sociology 3
H_D_FS 2400Principles of Human Development 3
CDS 2190Medical Terminology3

A minimum CUM GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, including all undergraduate completed coursework, is required for both application and graduation.

Courses Required within BHS-OTA:

An additional 74 credit hours of Occupational Therapy Assistant curriculum will be required.  A grade of B- or higher is required in all OC_THR courses

OC_THR 3010 OTA Practice Fundamentals (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 3020 Theory and Practice for OTAs (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 3110 Fundamentals of Evidence-Based Practice (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 3120 Medical and Psychosocial Conditions in Occupational Therapy (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 3130 Fundamentals of Activity Analysis (WI) (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 3140 Professional Documentation (2 credit hours)
OC_THR 3150 Measuring Functional Movement (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 3160 Fieldwork Level 1A (2 credit hours)
OC_THR 3210 Ethics in OT (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 3220 OTA Practice in Physical Rehabilitation (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 3230 Assistive Technology and Adaptations (2 credit hours)
OC_THR 3240 OTA Practice with Infants and Early Childhood (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 3250 Fieldwork Level IB (2 credit hours)
OC_THR 3260 Introduction to Baccalaureate Project: Choosing an Area of Focus (1credit hour)
OC_THR 4120 OTA Practice with Older Adults (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 4130 Psychosocial Practice (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 4140 OTA Practice with School-Aged Children and Adolescents (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 4150 OTA Practice in the Community (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 4160 Fieldwork Level I C (2 credit hours)
OC_THR 4180 Baccalaureate Project I (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 4210 OT Advocacy and Scholarship (2 credit hours)
OC_THR 4230 OTA Management and Leadership (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 4250 Professionalism and Specialization for OTAs (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 4260 Fieldwork Level I D (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 4280 Baccalaureate Project II (3 credit hours)
OC_THR 4320 Fieldwork Level II A (4 credit hours)
OC_THR 4340 Fieldwork Level II B (4 credit hours)

Students must complete 16 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as a baccalaureate project within 24 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program.

Accreditation, Certification, Licensure

The baccalaureate-degree-level occupational therapy assistant program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status 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. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is The program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates 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), Inc. located at One Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878.  NBCOT's telephone number is (301) 990-79-79 and its Web address is  After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Students must complete 16 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as a baccalaureate project within 24 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program.

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Semester Plan

Below is a sample plan of study, semester by semester, for the courses within the BHS OTA. Coursework is subject to minor changes as the program makes occasional curricular revisions to meet accreditation requirements and to reflect contemporary occupational therapy practice.

Please note that there is a total of 74 credits of coursework required within the OTA program. At the time of this catalog publishing, a few courses were still in the course development phase. Please see above for a complete list of all required OTA courses.

Third Year
OC_THR 30103OC_THR 31503OC_THR 31402
OC_THR 30203OC_THR 32302OC_THR 32103
OC_THR 31103OC_THR 32403 
OC_THR 31203OC_THR 32502 
OC_THR 3130 or 3130W3OC_THR 32601 
OC_THR 31602  
 17 11 5
Fourth Year
OC_THR 41203OC_THR 42102OC_THR 43204
OC_THR 41403OC_THR 42303OC_THR 43404
OC_THR 41503OC_THR 42503 
OC_THR 41602OC_THR 42602 
OC_THR 41803OC_THR 42803 
 14 13 8
Total Credits: 68

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    Degree Audit

    The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.  Degree Audits are not available for all programs; however, please consult with the appropriate college or school for audit information.

    MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner.  Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, by clicking on the Request Degree Audit link. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.  This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

    Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to

    Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

    For additional details on degree audits, go to

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    Major and Career Exploration

    The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

    • If you are considering a change of major or are exploring multiple majors, schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Discovery Center by calling (573)884-9700 or through MU Connect Discovery Center service in you success network.

    • If you have decided on a major, visit an academic advisor in the School or College that you are interested in to discuss the process of declaring the major

    • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center.  No Appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

    For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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