Occupational Therapy Assistant

Contact Information

If you have questions about this website or need additional information about the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, contact the Allied Health Department at 785-670-2170 or 785-670-2176.

Email the Allied Health Department

Technical Standards

The technical standards have been established through consideration by faculty and consultation with the following sources: The Vocational Rehabilitation Act, The Americans with Disabilities Act, Guide for Occupational Information, Dictionary of Occupational Titles, and the Occupational Skills Standards Project from the National Health Care Skills Standards Projects.

Sensorimotor Skills: 
Candidates must have sufficient gross motor, fine motor and equilibrium functions reasonably required to carry out assessments and elicit information from patients (palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other assessment maneuvers, gait training, and transfers), as well as those  motor skills necessary to provide occupational therapy intervention.  A candidate must be able to execute motor movements required to provide occupational therapy treatment (patient transfers, gait training, therapeutic exercise, etc.) and be able to respond quickly to emergency situations.  Quick reactions are necessary for safety and therapeutic purposes.  Occupational Therapy procedures require coordination of both gross and fine motor movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.  For this reason, candidates for admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program must have manual dexterity and the ability to engage in procedures involving grasping, pushing, pulling, holding, manipulating, extending, and rotating.  This includes but is not limited to the ability to lift, push and pull at least 50 pounds for routine transfer of patients from varying surfaces and be able to manually adjust equipment found in the occupational therapy clinic setting.

Observational Skills: 
Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) students must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in laboratory experiments as required in the curriculum. Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must be able to observe patients and be able to obtain an appropriate medical history directly from the patient or guardian.  Such observations require the functional use of vision, hearing, and other sensory modalities.  Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must have visual perception which includes depth and acuity.

Communication Skills: 
Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must be able to communicate in English effectively and sensitively with patients.  In addition, candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must be able to communicate in English in oral and hand written form with faculty, allied personnel, and peers in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings.  Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must also be sensitive to multicultural and multilingual needs.  Such communication skills include not only speech, but reading and writing in English.  Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must have the ability to complete reading assignments and search and evaluate the literature.  Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must be able to complete written assignments and maintain written records.  Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must have the ability to complete assessment exercises.   Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must also have the ability to use therapeutic communication, such as attending, clarifying, coaching, facilitating, and touching.  These skills must be performed in clinical settings, as well as the didactic and laboratory environments.

Intellectual/Conceptual, Integrative, and Qualitative Skills: 
Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must have the ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize data.  Problem solving, including obtaining, interpreting, and documenting data, are critical skills demanded of Occupational Therapy Assistants which require all of these intellectual abilities.  These skills allow students to make proper assessments, sound judgments, appropriately prioritize therapeutic interventions, and measure and record patient care outcomes.  Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must have the ability to learn to use computers for searching, recording, storing, and retrieving information.

Behavioral/Social Skills and Professionalism: 
Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must demonstrate attributes of empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation. Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must possess the emotional well‑being required for use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the assessment and treatment of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients.  Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must be able to adapt to ever‑changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties and stresses which are inherent in the educational process, as well as the clinical problems of many patients. 

Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must be able to maintain professional conduct and appearance, maintain client confidentiality and operate within the scope of practice. Candidates/current Occupational Therapy Assistant students must also have the ability to be assertive, delegate responsibilities appropriately, and function as part of a medical team.  Such abilities require organizational skills necessary to meet deadlines and manage time.