Health Sciences Degree (B.S.), Occupational Therapy Assistant Concentration

Students in health sciences classroom working on an interactive project.

Transform Lives with Our Occupational Therapy Assistant Concentration

Are you passionate about helping people improve their daily living and working skills? Take your first step towards a rewarding career in Occupational Therapy! Join us as we proudly introduce our newly developed Occupational Therapy Assistant concentration. With Candidacy Status from ACOTE, you can trust that you'll receive a top-notch education that will equip you with the skills you need to succeed. Enroll now and become a part of our thriving Health Science community!

Housed in our Health Science Department, our program focuses on providing you with hands-on experience in a variety of settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, and nursing homes, where you'll collaborate with occupational therapists to design and implement personalized treatment plans that may include exercises, activities, and adaptive equipment to help patients achieve their goals.

We understand the importance of coordinated care, which is why our program emphasizes the development of strong communication skills to ensure that patient progress is documented and shared with other healthcare professionals.

Join our program today and play a crucial role in helping patients regain their independence and improve their quality of life.

Program Highlights

  • Comprehensive OTA education
  • Real-world training opportunities
  • Classroom & clinical work

Gain real world experience in this in demand field

Are you ready to start earning your occupational therapy assistant degree?

An Occupational Therapy Assistant degree that meets the unique demands of the industry.

  • Courtney in Fall

    Accreditation Status

    Our OTA program has attained candidacy status, meeting ACOTE's requirements and demonstrating readiness to comply with accreditation standards. While approved to admit its inaugural class, the program must undergo further evaluations and achieve accreditation status before graduates are eligible for the NBCOT certification exam.

  • A Health Sciences student in Gerontology class

    One-on-one attention 

    Get personalized advising from expert department faculty who are as invested in your success as you are. Plus, your coursework includes faculty–student research collaboration, so you will directly benefit from their expertise and experience.  

  • Students on Campus


    The Occupational Therapy Assistant Concentration prepares students to become certified OTAs. Integrating core health science and OTA-specific courses, graduates are eligible for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Ⓡ exam. Spanning 15 credits of core requirements, 16 credits of common courses, and 61 credits of OTA concentration, the curriculum covers essential topics and practical experiences necessary for success in diverse healthcare settings.

Program Details

Program Mission

The Health Sciences Program offers inter/multidisciplinary coursework and clinical experiences leading to a major on the undergraduate transcript. 

The mission of the Health Sciences program is to prepare students for entry into professional healthcare careers or graduate programs through a rigorous course of study grounded in patient-centered, team-based problem-solving and pre-requisite sciences. Interdisciplinary collaboration and community engagement are fundamental processes, as faculty and students collaborate with other campus departments and clinical and community care centers to address public health problems in Western Massachusetts and beyond. 

In addition to aligning with the University’s mission, the Health Sciences program is well-positioned to prepare students for the new healthcare environment. A shift from an illness to a wellness model emphasizes prevention as a key component in optimizing health. Westfield State University is recognized by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Association as a Silver Level Exercise in Medicine campus. An essential goal of this initiative is to connect clinical care (hospitals, clinics, etc.) and community care (fitness centers, schools, senior centers, individual community members, etc.) teams. 

The program’s intentional addition of wellness theory, its application for disease prevention and treatment, along with the pedagogy of interprofessional education make it unique to similar programs. The pedagogical approach utilized throughout the core curriculum is grounded in interprofessional education values—teamwork, conflict resolution, and effective use of informatics. All program core courses involve group work with case-based, problem-based pedagogy and simulation. The integration of information literacy and multiple disciplinary perspectives is emphasized. 

After successfully completing the program, our graduates may accept positions in a wide variety of graduate programs: exercise science, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, athletic training, public health, nursing, health education, and epidemiology, to name a few. Our graduates may also work in numerous settings: cardiac rehabilitation, echocardiogram technology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, biotechnology, health informatics, healthcare management, community health, and nursing. 

Program Vision

The Westfield State University Health Sciences program intends to educate a diverse student body of highly motivated and culturally aware undergraduate students who wish to continue their careers in healthcare or continued academics to pursue graduate programs within the healthcare field. With a strong emphasis on academic excellence and diversity, Westfield State University’s Health Science Program reflects the mission of the University.

Learning Outcomes

1. Increase student flexibility to explore a variety of aspects of healthcare.

  • Provide academic and clinical experiences to all HS students.
  • Didactic and Clinical partnerships in a variety of health professions.

2. Utilize a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving and patient care.

  • Provide instruction and clinical experiences in team based care.
  • Didactic and benchmarked clinical partnerships in a variety of health professions.

3. Prepare students to be leaders in the new model of healthcare.

  • Leadership project opportunities for each student.
  • Leadership projects embedded in course assignments.

4. Provide education and experience in communicating and managing widely diverse patients.

  • Educational content in coursework and clinical experiential learning in diverse settings.
  • Assignment to clinical settings with diverse patients.

5. Increase relevance of university curriculum.

  • Provide prerequisite coursework for admission to graduate HS programs.
  • Graduate survey and acceptance outcomes data collection and analysis.

6. Increase accessibility of graduate school prerequisites.

  • Provide prerequisite coursework for admission to graduate HS programs within the students academic major and timeline.
  • Student survey and progression data collection and analysis.

7. Increase marketability of students as they apply to graduate schools and professional positions.

  • Provide adequate UG experiences to allow an 80% acceptance rate to graduate HS programs.
  • Monitor student and graduate data for admissions and student success in graduate HS programs.

8. Broaden teaching service and scholarship opportunities for faculty members.

  • Increase faculty research and scholarship opportunities by 25%.
  • Include research and scholarship projects for HS students with faculty mentorship.

9. Promote interdepartmental collaboration.

  • 80% of the curriculum will be taught by interdepartmental faculty and departments.
  • Monitor faculty workload and assignments to HS courses.

The Human Assessment Portfolio allowed me to explore my topic of interest. It has continued to make me more interested in what I want to do for a career someday.

Lizzie Hopkins, '22

What jobs can you get with an Occupational Therapy Assistant degree?

A occupational therapy assistant (OTA) degree can lead to a variety of fulfilling and rewarding careers in healthcare, ranging from working with patients recovering from injuries or illnesses to supporting individuals with mental illnesses or disorders. In this response, we will explore some of the job options available with an OTA degree.

  • Activities Coordinator
  • Home Health Aide
  • Mental Health Technician
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Rehabilitation Assistant
  • School based occupational therapy
Health Sciences student wearing pink shirt smiling holding index card with clothes pin on it for interactive classroom project.

Ready to learn more?

Course Requirements

Program Description

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Concentration within the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree prepares students to become entry-level occupational therapy assistants. Students enrolled in this concentration will complete the University's common core requirements, core health science courses, and required OTA concentration classes. 

Graduates of the OTA concentration will be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Ⓡ exam for occupational therapy assistants. 

Health Sciences Core Requirements - 15 Credits
Common Core Courses - 16 Credits
OTA Concentration Required Courses- 61 Credits
Additional Graduation Requirements

All students must meet the University Graduation Requirements and complete a common core of studies, distributed among the different academic areas as detailed in the Common Core.

The occupational therapy assistant BS degree positions an OTA in a unique position in our area. Graduates are qualified leaders and can provide services to a wide variety of populations and settings. 

Dr. Karen Sladyk, Health Sciences, Professor

Get big-school features with small-school advantages.

We offer high-quality academics, unique learning opportunities, and a welcoming campus—and we have small classes, accessible faculty, and one-on-one support. 

You’ll join fellow motivated students ready to make the most of the college experience through active participation. Become part of a caring and committed community that understands and embraces the bridge between academic study and civic responsibility.

  • 15:1

    student-faculty ratio

  • 100%

    of faculty hold doctorates

  • Study abroad

    in 35+ countries 

Accessible faculty and personalized attention

As a occupational therapy assistant major at Westfield State University, you’ll benefit from the expertise of both our faculty. Every class has 30 students (or fewer) and the advisor-to-advisee ratio is 1:12. You’ll receive one-on-one, specialized attention to help you succeed and meet your academic and professional preparation goals. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to work and study alongside your professors, giving you a unique first-hand learning experience. 

Health Sciences Faculty Member Group Photo

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Westfield State University accredited?

Westfield State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The OTA program currently holds Candidacy Status from ACOTE.

Do I have to submit SAT/ACT scores or an essay when I apply?

Westfield State University does not require an application essay, SAT and/or ACT scores, or letters of recommendation (except for special program admissions).   

All first-year applicants are reviewed for admission based on their high school record. First-year applicants must meet the minimum eligibility requirements established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) in order to qualify for admission to a state university. 

Learn more about the application process and admissions here.

How much does Westfield State University cost?

Westfield State University offers a comprehensive university experience at an affordable cost — with many options for financial aid. Visit our Cost and Aid page to learn more. 

Will I receive academic support?

We’re invested in your success. Whether you need a little help adjusting to college, study strategies, tutoring, or disability services, the team at the Academic Achievement Department is ready to help. Our mission is to provide you with the tools to explore academic opportunities as well as to plot strategies for continued growth. 

Learn more about our student support services here.

Accreditation Status

Candidacy Status indicates that the program meets the requirements for Candidacy Status and the plans and resource allocations for the proposed program appear to demonstrate the ability to comply with the ACOTE Accreditation Standards. The proposed program may admit its first class of students according to an approved timeline. The program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an initial on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification exam.

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Health Sciences Degree (B.S.), Occupational Therapy Assistant Concentration