Occupational Therapy Assistant

Department of Occupational Therapy
College of Health Sciences
801B Clark Hall
Columbia, Missouri 65211
(573) 882-3988

Advising Contact


Scholarship Information Contact


Occupational therapy is a health profession that uses a holistic approach to help people across the lifespan do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). There are two levels of entry into the occupational therapy profession, either as an occupational therapist (OT) or as an occupational therapy assistant (OTA). 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 mission of the Department of Occupational Therapy is to improve the health and well-being of society by assisting people to optimize their participation in everyday life occupations.

We achieve this mission through the integration of our:

  • Professional education of clinically innovative occupational therapy practitioners prepared to meet the dynamic occupational  needs of people and communities across the lifespan;
  • Steadfast commitment to service to our community and our profession;
  • Evidence-based practice; and
  • Commitment to scholarship, discovery and clinical research to advance our profession.

OTA Baccalaureate Program Admission Criteria

Application window for the occupational therapy assistant (OTA) baccalaureate degree program beginning coursework in Fall 2024 opens August 1, 2023. The Department of Occupational Therapy follows a rolling admissions process to allow for early acceptance of exceptional applicants. Priority application deadline is Feb. 1. Late application deadline is May 15. Applications are reviewed as they are submitted, and applicants are notified of their initial status within 45 days of submission. Incoming students start the subsequent fall semester after acceptance. The Department of Occupational Therapy admits one OTA cohort with up to 44 students each year. 

Prerequisite and Cumulative GPA

  • Minimum GPA: Cumulative 2.5 or higher (4.0=A). This includes ALL undergraduate completed coursework. Unofficial transcripts from each institution must be submitted with the OTA application.

Prerequisite Courses

The following prerequisite courses must be completed prior to starting the OTA program. Prerequisites are subject to minor changes with each application cycle.

  • General Biology – 3 credit hour course with a lab or 4 credit hours combined lecture/lab minimum
  • Human Anatomy* – 3 credit hour course with a lab or 4 credit hours combined lecture/lab minimum
  • Human Physiology* – 3 credit hour course with a lab or 4 credit hours combined lecture/lab minimum
  • Sociology – 3 credit hour course minimum
  • Abnormal Psychology – 3 credit hour course minimum
  • Human Development – Must address development across the lifespan. 3 credit hour course minimum
  • Introduction to Statistics – 3 credit hour course minimum. Any introductory statistics course in any discipline is acceptable.
  • Medical Terminology – 1 credit hour minimum. Can take for credit or noncredit. Will accept a passing grade if taken as a pass/fail course.

*Courses must have been completed within 4 years of application.  Human Anatomy and Human Physiology can be substituted with Human Anatomy & Physiology I and Human Anatomy & Physiology II (both with lab).

Advanced placement, dual credit, and transfer credits for prerequisite coursework are acceptable if they were recognized by student's undergraduate institution and appear on official transcripts at the time of application. The Department of Occupational Therapy does not allow credit for experiential learning or work experience to count toward any of the degree requirements.

Required Application Materials

  • All applications will be submitted in Mizzou GradSlate with the following requirements:
    • 15 hours of observation with a licensed Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) or Occupational Therapist (OT) in at least 2 different practice settings (i.e. hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, nursing home, outpatient clinics, schools, preschools/daycares, community programs, etc.), 
    • Unofficial transcripts of all undergraduate coursework, &
    • Written Essay (topic to be provided).

For more information, contact:

Angie Wolf, Recruitment and Admissions Manager


Accreditation and Certification

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 https://acoteonline.org/. 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) 990-7979 and its Web address is https://www.nbcot.org/. 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.

Assistant Teaching Professor S. Allen*, K. Mwangi*, K. Peterson
Assistant Clinical Professor S. Shea Lemoins, B. Stevenson*
Assistant Professor W. Janes**
Professor T. Wolf**


Graduate Faculty Member - membership is required to teach graduate-level courses, chair master's thesis committees, and serve on doctoral examination and dissertation committees.


Doctoral Faculty Member - membership is required to chair doctoral examination or dissertation committees.  Graduate faculty membership is a prerequisite for Doctoral faculty membership.

Occupational Therapy Assistant does not have a graduate program. For a related degree please see the OTD in Occupational Therapy