• Occupational Therapy Assistant

    An occupational therapy assistant works under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist to help individuals with physical, psychiatric, developmental, and other disabilities to participate in daily life to the greatest extent possible.

  • The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program is coordinated by the Health Sciences Department and leads to an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. Occupational therapy assistants choose and adapt tasks, activities and therapeutic media to improve the functioning of their clients. They instruct individuals and groups, contribute to evaluation and assessment, and communicate reports of patient progress to the health care team. The OTA program at LaGuardia is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Graduates of the OTA program are eligible to sit for national certification for occupational therapy assistant, administered by the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). 

    ACOTE Contact Information
    4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
    Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3449
    Telephone No. - (301) 652-AOTA

    NBCOT Contact Information
    800 S. Frederick Ave. Suite 200
    Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877-4150
    Telephone No. - (301) 990-7979

  • Year
    Graduation Rate

    Program results from the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online.

  •  Admission and the Pre-Clinical Phase

    Students interested in applying to LaGuardia Community College should contact the Admissions Office. New students selecting OTA as their major are considered to be in the pre-clinical phase.

    Progression to the clinical phase of the program is competitive and is by acceptance into candidacy. Students must apply for candidacy and be accepted in order to enter the clinical phase.

    Day and Evening Options
    Students intending to pursue clinical courses as a Day student should apply for candidacy in the Fall I session preceding the Spring entry to the OTA Clinical Phase.

    Students intending to pursue clinical courses as an Evening student should apply for candidacy in the Spring I session preceding the Fall entry to the OTA Clinical Phase.

    Pre-Clinical Phase
    The pre-clinical phase of the OTA program consists of all required general education and elective courses, including Key Courses. Pre-clinical students are considered candidates for the clinical phase.

    Students must first complete, or be in the process of completing, the four key courses in the 12-week semester in which they are applying for candidacy.

    Eligible students are then ranked according to a scoring system of grades in Key Courses. Learn more about the scoring system and additional candidacy requirements in the OTA Handbook.

     Candidacy and the Clinical Phase
    1. In order to apply for OTA candidacy (progression to the clinical phase of the OTA Program), you must be an OTA Major.

    2. To apply for candidacy, students must register for Intent to OTA OTA000 in the first 4 weeks of a 12 week term. Check the Academic Calendar for exact dates. There are no credits, classes or meetings or charges involved for registering for this candidacy. You may also apply in person by filing out the Intent to OTA Candidacy Form in the Registrar’s office.

    3. You should only apply for candidacy if you have completed all four key courses or if you are going to complete all four key courses by the end of the 12 week session in which you are applying for candidacy.

    4. If you are enrolled in one of the four key courses and you withdraw from that course, you must also withdraw from OTA Candidacy (Intent to OTA000). If you do not successfully withdraw from Intent to OTA, you will lose one candidacy attempt. You can only apply for candidacy twice.

    5. Please note that if you received a C, D, or F for any of the key courses and have repeated the course, all grades received will be averaged in any key course(s) repeated that key course will be used in your consideration for OTA Candidacy.

    6. Results  of  candidacy  will  not  be  available  until  all  grades  for  the  12  week  term  are submitted. The Registrar’s office will then do all the calculations and will provide OTA faculty with the list of students’ names and ranking. 
    7. Day/ Extended Day choices: Students may enter the OTA Program clinical phase in either the Fall I semester for evening session classes or the Spring I semester for day session classes. SCO101 – Introduction to Occupational Therapy and SCO110 – Legal and Ethical Aspects of Occupational Therapy are the first courses taken in the clinical program. One evening section of SCO101 and SCO110 are offered in Fall I, and one day section of SCO101 and SCO110 are offered in Spring I.
      • Students who wish to enroll in the Fall evening section must register for OTA000 in the preceding Spring I term.
      • Students who wish to enroll in the Spring day section must register for OTA000 in the preceding Fall I term.

    8. Notification of success in candidacy takes place on campus following calculation of grades. Students should be present at the scheduled notification time to sign the list of accepted students to be enrolled.
      • Accepted students that are not present to sign the list may forfeit their seat to the next ranked candidate.
      • If a student cannot be present, a representative may substitute with the student’s ID card and a signed note from the candidate giving that person permission to represent the student.
      • Students should expect to receive a mailing after grades are submitted or may check with the OTA office to verify the time and place to report for candidacy notification.

    9. The most common reasons for being ineligible for candidacy are:
      • Not having successfully completed one of the key courses
      • Having a grade of INC in one of the key courses
      • Having a GPA of less than 2.5 in the key courses
      • Having retaken a key course, not realizing that both grades are calculated in computing the key course GPA

    If your candidacy is not successful, you may repeat the registration for OTA00- Intent to OTA only once.
     Curriculum and Recommended Course Sequence

    Current Students

    Log in to the CUNY Portal to review your Degree Audit to find out what classes to take.

    Have questions about using Degree Audit? Visit LaGuardia’s Degree Audit page for tutorials and how-to guides.


    Prospective Students

    Review the Occupational Therapy Assistant Curriculum and the recommended course sequence below.


    Recommended Course Sequence


    Pre-Clinical and General Education Courses

    Course Number Course Name Fulfills Credits
    ENG101  English Composition I  Required Core (KEY Course)
    SCB203  Human Anatomy & Physiology I  Required Core (KEY Course)
    SCN195  Community Health  Program Core (KEY Course)
    SSY101 General Psychology  Flexible Core (KEY Course)
    ENG102  Writing Through Literature  Required Core 
    MAT115 or MAT120  College Algebra and Trigonometry or Elementary Statistics  Required Core 
    SCB204  Human Anatomy & Physiology II  Flexible Core 
    SSY204  Developmental Psychology I  Flexible Core 
    HSF090 First Year Seminar for Health Sciences  Program Core
    SSY230  Abnormal Psychology  Flexible Core 
        Total Credits 28 

    12 Week Session
    Course Number Course Name Fulfills Credits
    SCO101  Introduction to Occupational Therapy  Program Core 
    SCO110  Legal and Ethical Aspects of Occupational Therapy  Program Core 
        Session Credits 
        Total Credits  33 

    6 Week Session
    Course Number Course Name Fulfills Credits
    SCO200  Physical Aspects of Human Growth and Development  Program Core 2
    SCO230 Functional Pathology Program Core 3
        Session Credits 
        Total Credits  38 

    12 Week Session
    Course Number Course Name Fulfills Credits
    SCO204  Occupational Therapy Process: Psychosocial Dysfunction and Geriatric Conditions Program Core 
    SCO214  Occupational Therapy Skills and Functional Activities I  Program Core 
    SCO114 Documentation in Occupational Therapy  Program Core 
    SCO284  Occupational Therapy Clerkship for Psychosocial/Dysfunction and Geriatric Conditions Program Core  1.5 
        Session Credits  10.5 
        Total Credits  48.5

    6 Week Session
    Course Number Course Name Fulfills Credits
    SCO294  Occupational Therapy Fieldwork in Psychosocial Dysfunction and Geriatric Conditions Program Core 
        Session Credits 
        Total Credits  50.5 

    12 Week Session
    Course Number Course Name Fulfills Credits
    SCO205  Occupational Therapy Process: Physical and Developmental Disabilities  Program Core 
    SCO215  Occupational Therapy Skills and Functional Activities II  Program Core 
    SCO175  Clinical Reasoning in Occupational Therapy  Program Core 
    SCO285  Occupational Therapy Clerkship for Physical/Developmental Disabilities  Program Core  1.5 
        Session Credits  10.5 
        Total Credits  61

    6 Week Session
    Course Number Course Name Fulfills Credits
    SCO295  Occupational Therapy Fieldwork in Physical and Developmental Disabilities  Program Core 
        Session Credits 
        Total Credits  63 

    View Occupational Therapy Assistant Course Descriptions.
     Advising Team

    Advising Team

    In support of the LaGuardia’s mission to educate and graduate its students to become critical thinkers and socially responsible citizens, the College has undertaken a team approach toward advising, designed to support you in your major from orientation through graduation. 

    Your advisement team, made up of faculty and professional advisors, will guide you at every step during your college career.

    Visit the Advising page to learn more about when to get advised and how to prepare for an advising appointment, and check out the Advising Calendar for information sessions, events and more. 

    Please feel free to reach out to these advisors if you have any questions or need assistance, and visit laguardia.edu/visit for directions to campus.

    Advising Team Staff Members Email Phone Office Location
    Jill Janofsky, Advising Services jjanofsky@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5249  B 100Q 
    Carole Julien, Advising Services  cjulien@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-6006  B 100T 
    Rosanna Pichardo, Advising Services  rpichardo@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5169  B 100C 
    Yevi Granovskaya, Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD)  ygranovskaya@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5239  B 114I 
    Jeannie Buckley-Lockheart, Wellness  jeanb@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5258  C 239 
    Loretta Capuano, Admissions  lorettac@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5186  C 920 
    Matthew Eckhoff, Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)  meckhoff@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-349-4043  B 235 
    Desire Gulliver, College Discovery (CD)  dgulliver@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5273  B 236B 

    Advising Team Faculty Members Email Phone Office Location
    Regina M. Lehman, MS, OTR/L
    Occupational Therapy Assistant, Program Director and Associate Professor 
    rlehman@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5775  E 300I 
    Sherrell Powell Ed.D., OTR/L Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Professor  spowell@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5776  E 300G 
    Michele Mills, MA, OTR/L
    Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
    mmills@lagcc.cuny.edu 718-482-5777  E 300S 
    Luisa Hindle, COTA
    Occupational Therapy Assistant Program College Laboratory Technician 
    lhindle@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5779  E 323 

    For general program information, or to make an appointment with an OTA faculty member, please contact Jennifer Colon in E300, at 718-482-5740 or jcolon@lagcc.cuny.edu
     Career Profile

    Occupational therapy assistants choose and adapt tasks, activities and therapeutic media to improve the functioning of their clients. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected change in employment from 2012- 2022 is 41% for occupational therapy assistants, whereas the national average is just 11%. This increase is expected to add nearly 16,000 new occupational therapy assistants across the country. BLS has indicated that the 2012 annual median pay for occupational therapy assistants is $48,940. [1]

    The-New-York-State- Occupational Therapy Association.png

    The New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA) is the only professional organization for Occupational Therapy in New York State. 

    The-American-Occupational-Therapy Association-AOTA.png

    The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is the national professional association established in 1917 to represent the interests and concerns of occupational therapy practitioners and students of occupational therapy and to improve the quality of occupational therapy services.

     Additional Information
    For further information, please contact the Health Sciences Department in E 300 or call 718-482-5745.

    Academic Advisement for Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

    Advisement for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is available during faculty office hours, orientation events, and Information Sessions during the academic year. The Health Sciences Department will hold Advising Events during the academic year as well. You can find more information about OTA Information Sessions and Advising events by contacting the Program Assistant or the OTA Program faculty.

    Occupational therapy assistant students desiring seats in SCO courses MUST participate in occupational therapy advisement. Advisement is generally scheduled in prerequisites courses. Students not in SCO courses should see an occupational therapy faculty member prior to applying for candidacy. Only students who have met the prerequisites will be considered for admission to an SCO course.

    All faculty advisors have posted office hours when they are available to meet with students. Times other than those posted may be arranged by appointment. It is the student’s responsibility to make and keep the appointment. If unable to keep an appointment, the student is expected to call or e-mail to cancel the appointment. Regular contact should be maintained with a faculty advisor until graduation.


    Attendance policies for class and campus laboratory sessions are those stated in the LaGuardia Community College Catalog. During clinical affiliations students are expected to meet the attendance requirements of the fieldwork site. Students who are too ill to report for clinical assignments must notify the clinical supervisor as well as the college fieldwork coordinator. Students may subsequently be required to submit a doctor’s note in order to return to the clinical setting. All time missed from clinical fieldwork must be made up per the requirements of the facility and the OTA Program ACOTE accreditation standards.

    Career Involvement

    Students are encouraged participate in the Student Occupational Therapy Assistant Club (SOTA). There is no separate charge for membership as student activity fees paid at the time of registration cover all costs for the SOTA Club. The SOTA Club supports advocacy for the program and the profession through special events and activities both at the college and in the community. Student activity funds have provided support for occupational therapy student attendance at conferences, for pinning ceremonies for graduating students and other activities planned by students. SOTA serves as the hub for the NYSOTA + LAGCC OTA Student Service Learning Initiative.

    OTA Program Curriculum Design

    Education of the occupational therapy assistant student must lead toward increased mastery of a body of knowledge. To achieve this goal, education starts from the student’s capacities. For students whose basic skills are deficient, remedial courses are required before occupational therapy coursework begins. Since many students who previously have attained mastery of basic written and oral language and mathematics skills lose mastery without frequent practice, these skills are reinforced during occupational therapy coursework.

    A knowledge base in the biological and social sciences enables the student to utilize career-specific material and integrate it for application in a variety of settings. Instruction and practice in occupation, goal-oriented activity, activity analysis and communication skills prepare the student to teach, motivate and respond to patients.

    Values and skills central to the practice of occupational therapy are promoted through group experiences, fieldwork and role modeling by academic clinical faculty. These include awareness of self, appreciation of different life experiences and socio-cultural backgrounds, and empathy towards others. Ethical principles and legal aspects of practice are introduced. Graded educational activities encourage development of independence, self-expression, flexibility, creativity and problem solving.

    The curriculum design provides for students to experience an intensive (but brief) introduction to health care in general in SCN195 and to occupational therapy in particular in SCO101 and SCO110 early in the first clinical year. Through exposure to basic concepts and activity processes, and to clinical experience through fieldwork observations, students acquire a beginning understanding of the field of occupational therapy. The remainder of the first clinical year is devoted to foundation courses in communication skills, social and natural sciences. All of these courses are prerequisite to the upper level occupational therapy courses of the second year.

    Building on the foundation courses and on the basics established in SCN195, and SCO101 and SCO110, the second year student engages in four interrelated and mutually reinforcing courses focused on the practice areas of mental health and geriatrics. Content includes the independent living/daily living skills and the process and communication skills related to all areas of occupational performance, as well as the fundamentals of documentation. Particular attention is given to the occupational roles of individuals from adolescence through later life, including death and dying. A theory course (SCO204) is paired with a part time fieldwork with seminar (SCO284). Concurrently, students take a functional skills course (SCO214) and a documentation course (SCO114); these may be taken separately by students in the part-time extended day program. The grouping of geriatrics and mental health together encourages the student’s appreciation of the psychosocial aspects of aging, and presents activity programming and planning for populations in the contexts commonly applied in the New York metropolitan area.

    In the next term, many students take SCO200 Human Growth and Development and SCO230 Functional Pathology, courses that introduce normal physical development (SCO200) and medical conditions commonly referred to occupational therapy (SCO230). These two courses may be taken during the first or second year, and must be completed before the physical and developmental disabilities courses.

    Upon completion of the four courses associated with mental health and geriatric practice, students are expected to enter the first Level II fieldwork and seminar (SCO294); we recognize that personal and financial realities may prevent some students from following this pattern. These students may defer this fieldwork until completion of all academic coursework the following semester.

    In the next semester, the student enters a group of four courses, this time focused on the practice areas of physical and developmental disabilities. Here the emphasis is on the motor skills and physical body structures and functions, with particular attention on their effects on independent living/daily living skills and on occupational roles. The occupational roles of children are covered in this triad. The grouping of physical and developmental disabilities together is designed to maximize student understanding of physical modalities, and in particular the developmental basis of many techniques of physical rehabilitation.

    Academic coursework now completed, students engage in the second Level II fieldwork and seminar (SCO295). As noted above, some students will schedule the two Level II fieldwork and seminar units sequentially at this point.

    This design provides the framework for content selection, scope, and placement. Although the practice areas of mental health and geriatrics, and physical and developmental disabilities are separated into pairs in two academic terms, they are seen and taught by the faculty as interrelated rather than discrete areas. Mental health is placed before physical disabilities in the sequence so that students in the physical and developmental disabilities courses are prepared to anticipate, understand and work with the psychosocial aspects of these disabilities.

    Occupational Therapy Assistant Handbook
    Be sure to review the OTA Program Handbook for additional information