What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a science-driven, evidence-based profession that enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health and prevent—or live better with—illness, injury or disability. Occupational Therapy Assistants work directly with patients to lead, coach and support activities and exercises that are vital to their progress. Graduates of this two-year, associate degree program may pursue a wide range of opportunities. You may work with school children who have learning disabilities, behavioral problems, cerebral palsy or Down syndrome. OTAs also work with individuals in homes, community centers, rehabilitation hospitals and nursing homes, helping them deal with traumatic injuries, Alzheimer's disease or mental health problems. If you are looking for a challenging career while giving your best to society, OTA is a good fit for you!
Career Forecast Bright OutlookAverage Salary $60,950on campus

Choose Washburn for OTA

Washburn offers a 68-credit hour associate of science degree that prepares you to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Graduates of this two-year program are eligible to sit for the National Board Certification for Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy Assistant Exam. This program does not require prerequisites for admission. Our students enjoy a student to faculty ratio of 12:1 which allows for more interaction and personal attention. Plus, Washburn offers exceptional facilities and lab space.

As an OTA student, you will benefit from supervised clinical internships in a variety of healthcare settings. In today's landscape, occupational therapy practitioners can be found in six broad areas: 

In just two short years, you could be earning a good wage and improving the lives of people from newborns to the elderly.

flowers on WU campus

Application Process

  • No prerequisites are required for this program. Applications are due by Feb. 1. Classes begin the following summer.
hands on a keyboard

Online Application

  • Complete and submit an online application no later than Feb. 1.
Washburn Bell Tower

Essential Functions

  • Students must meet essential requirements to ensure success in both their clinical coursework and later in the workforce.
OTA helping a patient

Quality Indicators

  • Washburn is dedicated to developing top-quality OTAs who provide optimum patient care.

Take a Closer Look

Washburn's OTA faculty are prepared to guide you through your educational journey. This program develops highly-skilled, hands-on professionals. Review an itemized list of program costs as well as resources and accreditation information.

Stephanie Sedlacek, Program Director 
785.670.2439; stephanie.sedlacek@washburn.edu

Jennifer Halstead, Clinical Coordinator
785.670.2285; jennifer.halstead@washburn.edu

Complete and submit an online application:

Applicants are required to submit personal recommendation forms:

Clinicians must complete and submit OTA clinical observation forms on each OTA student.

Cost of Attendance


Residents of Kansas and Out of State Undergraduates

International Undergraduates and All Graduate Non-Residents


KS Resident: $351 per credit hour (Fall 2024)

International Undergraduates and All Graduate Non-Residents: $744 per credit hour (Fall 2024)

$23,868 $50,592
Student Fee: $58.50 per semester $234 $234
OTA Textbooks Approximately $1500 Approximately $1500
Uniforms (polo is required, khaki pants) Approximately $150 Approximately $150
Criminal Background Check and Document Management $100 $100
CPR Class $60 $60
Graduation Pin $15 $15
Comprehensive Exam Approximately $90 Approximately $90
Hepatitis B Vaccine $75 $75
Name Tag for Fieldwork $10 $10
TB Test $10 $10
AOTA Membership $150 ($75 Annually) $150 ($75 Annually)
Total $26,262 $52,986

OTA Program Mission Statement:

To prepare qualified occupational therapy assistants who provide optimum patient care through technical competency and professional conduct in the profession of an occupational therapy assistant.   Washburn’s OTA program supports the University mission to provide learning opportunities for students to develop their professional, intellectual, and academic potential; while encouraging and facilitating the importance of life-long learning and service to the community. 

Washburn Mission Statement:

Washburn University enriches the lives of students by providing opportunities for them to develop and to realize their intellectual, academic, and professional potential, leading to becoming productive and responsible citizens. We are committed to excellence in teaching, scholarly work, quality academic and professional programs, and high levels of faculty-student interaction. We develop and engage in relationships to enhance educational experiences and our community.

OTA Program Philosophy & Relationship to the Philosophy of the Profession

 Washburn's OTA program philosophy is consistent with AOTA's published vision, "as an inclusive profession, occupational therapy maximizes health, well-being, and quality of life for all people, populations, and communities through effective solutions that facilitate participation in everyday living,” (AOTA, 2007).  Washburn OTA program holds that human beings are dynamic and ever changing throughout the life span. Occupation can be defined by age, gender, culture, environment, socioeconomics and geographics. Illness, accidents, or disability can interrupt the process of human development that generally defines the occupation of life. 

Statement of Belief on How Students Learn

Faculty of the Washburn OTA program believe that every person has value and student learning experiences are structured across the curriculum with respect to ongoing development of individuals across the lifespan.  We emphasize the right of each individual to make choices, to determine personal goals, and engage in occupations that are meaningful to them. We further believe that in a helping relationship, active participation from the recipient is essential. This belief in active participation applies to both clients and students. Consequently, students shall be responsible for contributing to the structure and content of their learning experiences. The faculty is committed to helping students develop problem solving skills by supporting risk taking and encouraging interactive learning, develop an appetite for life-long learning; become grounded in occupational therapy theory, history, and philosophy upon which the profession was built; demonstrate professionalism and act in compliance with the Code of Ethics (AOTA, 2020); and provide excellent client services. This includes the use of evidence-based practice and collaborative communication with the client, to achieve the desired outcome of engagement in occupation. Students will be expected to examine their own attitudes, values, and personal characteristics as a model for assessing the needs of others.


American Occupational Therapy Association (2007).  Philosophy of occupational therapy education. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(6), 678. doi: https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.61.6.678

American Occupational Therapy Association (2020). AOTA 2020 occupational therapy code of ethics. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(Supplement_3), 7413410005p1–7413410005p13. doi: https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.74S3006


When is the application deadline?

Application deadline is February 1st of each year. If you are not a WU student, you need to apply to the University as well.

When does the program start?

The OTA Program starts in the Summer session.

Do I need any prerequisite courses to start the program?

No, you may start the program (after formally admitted to the OTA Program) as a high school graduate. There are no prerequisite courses necessary.

What classes may I take before entry into the program?

You may take any classes listed under “Required Correlate Courses” and “University Requirements” prior to admission into OTA.

By the Numbers

CAREER FORECAST: bright outlook
Employment of occupational therapy assistants is projected to grow 35 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for occupational therapy is likely to grow over the coming decade in response to the health needs of the aging baby-boom generation and a growing elderly population. (Source: Kansas Dept. of Labor)

First-Time Certification Pass Rate

2023 - 38% (3 of 8 test takers)
2022 - 89% (16 of 18 test takers)
2021 - 94% (16 of 17 test takers)
Three-year Average - 81% (35 of 43 test takers)

NBCOT School Performance Data

Total Program Graduates

10/11 (2024)

13/14 (2023)

19/19 (2022)

Three year total: 42/44

Graduation Rate

91% (WU: 2024)

93% (WU: 2023)

100% (WU: 2022)

Three year total: 95%

Apply Now

Apply to Washburn's OTA program by Feb. 1 for classes that begin the following summer. There are no prerequisite courses required for this program. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation as well as two clinical observations.



The occupational therapy assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) (www.acoteonline.org) 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) 652-2682. Graduates of the program 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). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination (www.nbcot.org). Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at: https://www.nbcot.org/Educators-Folder/SchoolPerformance.


Allied Health
Benton Hall, Room 107
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621

Phone & Email
Ph: 785.670.2170

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