About the Program

The Houston Community College System, Coleman College for Health Sciences’ Occupational Therapy Assistant Program has transitioned from a Certificate Program to an Associate of Applied Science Degree Program. The Certificate Program is no longer available.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant curriculum prepares graduates to provide skilled health care services under the supervision of licensed occupational therapists.  Working collaboratively, the occupational therapy assistant is trained to provide services to consumers across the life span, particularly those with challenges (i.e. disease, injury, illness, wellness, prevention), that prevent active independent "living life to its fullest" through daily occupations and tasks.  Services may include, but are not limited to, treating a wide range of physical, developmental, psychological, social and emotional conditions.  Principles, theories and treatment interventions that emphasize best practices are the hallmark of this profession's repertoire.  Examples of types of intervention(s) include therapeutic exercises and activities,  motor and life skills training, basic activities of daily living (BADL), and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) training, adaptive technologies use and training, splint construction and usage, home modification, work-related intervention, psychosocial group and individual programs, and consumer/care giver education.


The Associate of Applied Science program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 4720 Montgomery Lane, P. O.  Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220; 301.652.AOTA.


The program offers an approved curriculum which, upon completion, allows graduates to apply and sit for the national Certification Examination for occupational therapy assistants.  The examination is administered through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and successful completion allows the entry-level practitioner to wear the title Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).  Most states, including Texas, require a license to practice.  A license is issued by The Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners (ECPTOTE), located at 333 Guadalupe St., Suite 2-510, in Austin, TX, 78701-3942; 512.305.6900.  A state license is issued based on the graduate's results of the national certification examination and application to the state board.

Applicants must meet the general requirements for admission to Houston Community College, Coleman College for Health Sciences as well as the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.

Applicants accepted into the program are required to provide the following documents upon acceptance in the program to ensure registration: proof of a CPR and First Aid certificate, physical examination, immunizations and Hepatitis B (which may take up to 6 months to administer), drug test, criminal background check.  Personal data forms are completed prior to releasing clinical placement assignments.  Students are required to pay liability insurance fees which provide protection against losses resulting from malpractice claims.

Currently, there are six prerequisites:

  • MATH 0312 – Intermediate Algebra (if  assessed below college level math)
  • BIOL 2401 – Anatomy & Physiology I*
  • ENGL 1301 – Composition I
  • PSYC 2301 – Introduction to Psychology
  • OTHA 1301 – Introduction to OT
  • HPRS 1201—if you have less than 12 college credits

* Must be completed within 5 years prior to admission to the program.

The program offers full-time day courses, with classes scheduled between the hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.  Saturday classes may be required some semesters.

A minimum grade of "C" is required in all OTHA courses with the exception of skills and clinical courses which have a minimum requirement of the grade of "B". Clinical internship experiences are scheduled and are assigned during the fall and spring semesters.

Employment opportunities are available to the assistant in hospitals, rehabilitation centers (in and out-patient), assisted living facilities, home health care agencies, nursing homes, hand therapy sites, school systems, prisons, psychosocial facilities wellness centers, community settings, pediatric and developmental centers. Emerging areas of practice may include low vision, hippo-therapy, driver rehabilitation and hospice (palliative) care, to name a few. According to occupational outlook data, “Employment of occupational therapy assistants is expected to increase 43 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average growth for other occupations (National Bureau of Labor and Statistics May 2012).” The rise in job opportunities is due to the increased number of individuals with disabilities or limited function. Salaries ranges are found below.

Percentile wage estimates for this occupation from lowest to highest percentile follows:








Hourly Wage






Annual Wage






(National Bureau of Labor and Statistics May 2012).


Program graduate figures for three years:  2009 - 2011-per the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)

Total number of graduates:  (3 year period)                       37

Total # of first time test takers:                                            37

Total # of 1st time takers who passed the national exam:   30

Percentage rate of 1st timers, who passed the exam:        81%


To apply to the program, complete the following and submit to Coleman College for Health Sciences:

  • Attend an ER session at Coleman College for Health Sciences.
  • Complete an application to Houston Community College
  • Complete the Health Sciences-OTHA Program application.
  • Official high school documentation (transcripts, GED or copy of diploma).
  • All college transcripts (previous and current).
  • Placement test score/results (ASSET/ COMPASS).
  • Evidence of completed development courses.
  • Documented, verified hours of observation in an OT setting; (24 hours).
  • Proof of observation activities has to be documented on letterhead with the name & phone number of person(s) observed.
  • Summary of observation experience(s). Typed, two pages with cover sheet. Please consider HIPAA guidelines.
  • Reference letters (three, professionally presented, no personal friends/ family).
  • Required prerequisite; HPRS 1201 (if less than 12 college credits), OTHA 1301, MATH 0312, BIOL 2431(must be completed within 5 years prior to application to the program), ENGL 1301, PSYCH 2301.
  • Applicants are contacted by program faculty/staff to schedule a personal interview and program assessment.
  • Applicants will be notified of outcome and status of this process.


Note: Persons with felony convictions are advised to contact the state license board located in Austin, Texas. This board issues licenses for OT practitioners for employment in the state of Texas. A felony might be grounds for refusal to obtain license to practice, therefore, this information should be obtained prior to making application to the program.  The Executive Board for PT and OT Examiners should be contacted, and their information is listed in the above body of this narrative.

Please e-mail questions to the OTHA offices of Turquessa Francis at turquessa.francis@hccs.edu or Beverly Broussard-Solomon at beverly.solomon@hccs.edu for additional information that is not available on the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program website: Coleman College Occupational Therapy Assistant Website.


Information sessions are offered monthly.  Go to: http://colemanconnection.org/ to register for information sessions. Follow the directions to obtain a user name and password to gain access to the Coleman Connection site to begin the process of signing up for an information session.

Deadline for applications May 30, yearly, to be considered for the upcoming Fall semester.