OTA is an exciting, well-paying field that is in high demand. However, did you know that:

  • A successful OTA is an organized, creative problem-solver who is caring and empathetic.
  • Effective collaboration and the ability to work as part of a team are necessary skills. An OTA may be expected to be a leader in some instances or to follow the instructions of a supervisor in others.
  • Training to become an OTA is academically demanding and requires learning a large amount of detailed information and applying this knowledge to a variety of situations.
  • In order to stay in the program, students must maintain a 2.5 GPA and earn at least a grade of C in all OTA and Biology classes.
  • OTA courses and clinical practice require accurate writing and clear English verbal communication.
  • Professional behavior is expected in all aspects of the program, including all written, verbal and nonverbal communications. Strong emphasis is placed on professional communication and responsible workplace behavior during fieldwork experiences.
  • Fieldwork courses require travel and provision of your own reliable transportation. In some cases, special housing arrangements may be necessary.
  • Level II fieldwork requires a commitment of at least 16 weeks of full-time, unpaid clinical affiliations. Level II fieldwork must be completed within 18 months of completing the academic coursework.
  • The maximum time allowed to complete the program is four years from the start of enrollment in the first OTA professional course.
  • In order to practice as an OTA, the national certification examination must be passed. The exam is given online and on-demand once you have graduated from the program.
  • A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the national certification exam or to be licensed to practice in New York State.


To view the following PDF files, you will need to Adobe Reader, a free download.

Cayuga Community College provides the following list of expected functional skills to inform prospective students of the performance criteria required to complete the academic and fieldwork components of the OTA program. It is necessary that OTA students possess and maintain the following functional requirements, with or without reasonable accommodations.

In accordance with law and Cayuga Community College policy, no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of that disability, be excluded from participation in the program. Cayuga Community College will provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified individual with a disability on an individual basis taking into consideration the essential skills which must be performed to meet learning outcomes. It is the responsibility of the student to request the accommodations that are needed to perform the behaviors listed below. Contact the Office of Accessibility Resources and the OTA Program Director if you think you may need an accommodation for a disability.

OTA students must download the Functional Skills of OTA Students form and have their primary care provider sign the declaration at the bottom as part of the annual health certification requirement.

Functional Skills of OTA Students
Skill Examples Found in OTA Curriculum or Fieldwork
Cognitive ability sufficient to: measure, calculate, reason, analyze data; problem-solve, think critically; apply knowledge and skill; multi-task and attend to cognitive and psychomotor tasks for extended periods of time; carry out simple or complex written or verbal directions.
  • Maintain concentration and focus in educational and professional settings.
  • Observe and collect data from recording equipment and measurement devices used in client care.
  • Identify client needs based on treatment plan determined by supervising OT.
  • Interpret medical records and treatment plans to carry out interventions.
  • Appropriately grade activities based on client performance.
Communication and interpersonal ability sufficient to:
communicate effectively with individuals of varied sociocultural and intellectual backgrounds; accurately and intelligibly exchange information in oral, written and electronic form; establish appropriate relationships with clients, families, and colleagues.
  • Report client data verbally and in writing to members of the treatment team.
  • Interact with others to report observations and advocate for the needs of clients.
  • Interview and gather information from clients, families, colleagues.
  • Use professional and respectful verbal and nonverbal communication in all therapeutic interactions.
Emotional stability sufficient to: remain calm in the presence of strong emotions and physical outbursts from clients; accept responsibility for own actions; focus attention on client needs despite interruptions and multiple demands.
  • Accept constructive feedback from supervisor.
  • Interact with and support clients during times of stress and emotional upset.
  • Maintain professional behavior during stressful interactions.
  • Adapt to changes and display flexibility
Health care provider must review below & sign:
Physical/Gross Motor ability sufficient to:
transfer, support, and maneuver clients and objects; bend, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, reach and manipulate; move efficiently enough to meet the needs of clients in a timely fashion; maintain balance from any position; maneuver in small areas.
  • Fully/partially support weight of the client during transfers between various surfaces and when assisting client in functional activities.
  • Support, turn and position clients. Control a fall by slowly lowering client to the floor.
  • Engage in mat activities with clients.
  • Reach and grasp in a variety of movement planes.
  • Use fine and gross motor skills to effectively demonstrate and assist clients to perform intervention tasks.
  • Attain and maintain CPR certification.
Fine Motor ability sufficient to: safely and effectively manipulate objects, tools and equipment;
perform and demonstrate therapeutic procedures and interventions
  • Use multiple grasp and pinch patterns, including dexterity for writing and keyboard function, and firm grasp for sustained hand/arm use as in lifting, pushing/pulling, twisting, transferring and carrying.
  • Demonstrate manual dexterity and coordination necessary for feeding, dressing, application and adjustment of orthotics and prosthetics, fabrication of splints or adaptive equipment.
  • Manipulate, maneuver, and adjust equipment and devices (e.g. wheelchairs, hospital beds).
Sensory ability sufficient to: perceive, interpret, and use information via observation, viewing, listening, touching, and smelling.
  • Observe and attend to behaviors and needs of clients, including nonverbal communication.
  • Read and interpret written data held at a reasonable distance.
  • Use depth perception and peripheral vision to allow identification of dangerous objects and client situations within the environment.
  • Detect temperature ranges of the environment or of a modality to maintain safety.
  • Detect changes in skin color or body condition (e.g. paleness, inflammation, atrophy).
  • Identify subtle differences in surface characteristics (e.g. palpate muscle condition)
  • Detect difference in body and environmental odors.
  • Detect alarms generated by mechanical systems (e.g. vital signs monitors, fire alarms).


  • Each OTA program applicant is responsible for assessing his or her own computer competency. Students must possess basic proficiency in computer use, including the ability to use databases and search engines to access information, word processing for writing, and email for attaching files as needed.
  • Access to a reliable internet connection is required throughout the program.


  • Health care agencies may require criminal background checks, drug testing and fingerprinting for OTA students completing fieldwork under their supervision.
  • Eligibility for licensure as an OTA in New York State by anyone who has been convicted of a crime or who has charges pending in any state or country will be determined through an investigation by the New York State Education Office of Professional Discipline.
  • In order to obtain licensure to practice as an OTA in New York Stage, graduates must pass the national certification examination offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. History of a felony or misdemeanor may impact a graduate’s eligibility to sit for the national certification examination. If you have a criminal history, it is strongly recommended that you complete a character review before starting the OTA program.

To access certification information go to www.NBCOT.org and click on the certification candidates tab. You may contact NBCOT at:

One Bank Street
Suite 300
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
(301) 990-7979