Occupational Therapy Assistant Admissions Requirements

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program has specific admission requirements because of its limited enrollment. Students seeking admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program must submit a separate application for admission to Jackson State Community College and for admission to the program. The application to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program must be submitted by the June 1st deadline. Application for admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is considered for one application period only. Students who wish to be considered for admission to the next entering class must submit a new application. Various courses are offered in a hybrid format meaning that part of the course will be delivered online (through eLearn), and the other part will be conducted in the classroom. Access to the Internet is necessary to participate in on-line activities. High-speed connection is strongly recommended. 

I. Application Information

Our new electronic application process is now available for the 2020 OTA application cycle. Please note:  You will have to have completed JSCC college application and be accepted/have a netlogon in order to be able to access the OTA program electronic application.

II. Admission Requirements

A. Education Qualifications

To be considered for admissions, a student must have:

  1. The following minimum subsection scores on the ACT: Writing – 18, Reading – 19, Mathematics – 19, or acceptable placement testing scores, OR have successfully completed all previously determined remedial coursework.
  2. Fulfilled the following academic requirements:
  • Have a minimum overall high school GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Applicants with previous college credit must have earned a cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale in program required coursework (excluding remedial and developmental courses).
  • Students must have completed all required developmental courses prior to the application deadline of June 1.
  • Anatomy and Physiology I (BIOL 2010) must have been taken within the past 5 years to receive credit.

In addition to the required OTA courses,  JSCC OTA Program requires students to take 5 general education courses:

BIOL 2010 Anatomy and Physiology I (Required prior to application)
ENGL 1010 English Composition
Humanities Elective (see online JSCC catalog)
PSYCH 1030 General Psychology
COMM 2025 Fundamentals of Communication

Various courses are offered in a hybrid format meaning that part of the course will be delivered online (through eLearn), and the other part will be conducted in the classroom. Access to the internet is necessary to participate in on-line activities. High-speed connection is strongly recommended.  

B. Observation Requirements
Observation hours are no longer required. Applicants will need to watch a series of videos within the application online portal and complete attestation to watching.

C. Interviews
Personal interviews are scheduled for those applicants who best meet and/or exceed the minimum requirements. The number of applicants will not exceed three times the number of available program positions. Only students who are selected for the interview will be considered for admission. The interview will be scheduled by the program director and will be held on the JSCC campus. Applicants are evaluated on professional appearance, personality as it relates to the OTA profession, creativity and problem solving, maturity, role as a group member, relating to others, communication skills and responses to interviewer questions. Interview scores will be tabulated and added into the Composite Admission Score.

Students will be scheduled for interviews in early June and notified of acceptance by July regarding program acceptance.

Due to the large number of expected applicants, not all applicants will be interviewed for the OTA Program. Students are advised to submit a completed application packet or they will not be considered for the program.

NOTE: The Program Faculty reserve the right to require an additional, personal interview with an applicant if the interview process does not provide the interviewers with sufficient information to rate the student. Applicants must earn a minimum of a “recommendation” through the interview process to be accepted into the Program.

D. Physical Requirements:

Good health and physical ability are not criteria for the selection of students; but students must, before admission and registration into the program, present a physician's statement verifying that, in that physician's opinion, the student has no mental or physical handicaps which would interfere with proper performance in a clinical setting. The college will supply the student with a letter to present to the physician describing the Essential Functions which include requirements that students be able to engage in educational and training activities in such a way that they will not endanger other students or the public, including patients. These Essential Functions are attached to this document. Documentation of the following health records must be complete before enrollment in clinical courses: TB skin test, Hepatitis B vaccination, MMR, tetanus.

JSCC OTA Program Essential Functions include:

Cognitive Skills
The student must be able to:

  1. understand, conceptualize and apply information (academically, socially and clinically) in a timed and/or un-timed environment; 
  2. problem solve effectively as a situation demands; 
  3. prioritize information for proper decision making;
  4. generalize information and use critical thinking and reasoning when using information;
  5. comprehend and follow instructions independently (both verbal and written);
  6. follow multiple step (4 or more) directions independently;
  7. attend and focus for extended periods of time;
  8. interpret information from varied sources independently (oral, written, diagrams, etc.);
  9. make well informed decisions;

Sensory Skills:
The student must be able to:

Use vision, hearing, and touch for demonstrating adequate safety skills, basic clinical skills (including observation, screening and assessment) and necessary supervisory needs.

The student must be able to:

  1. use necessary functional mobility for required tasks, including FW travel;
  2. use adequate strength/coordination to perform gross/fine motor tasks;
  3. successfully perform and instruct various basic clinical techniques (transfers, ADLs, etc.);
  4. deliver information in a clear, concise, succinct and consistent fashion;
  5. perform simple and repetitive tasks as needed, independently;
  6. perform complex and varied tasks as needed, independently.

Interpersonal/Behavioral Communications:
The student must be able to:

  1. demonstrate that they can manage their emotional health for full use of their intellectual abilities.
  2. communicate effectively and clearly with others;
  3. use therapeutic communication autonomously (attend, listen, clarify, explain, facilitate);
  4. adjust communication for intended audience;
  5. accept and carry out responsibility for detailed, complex tasks;
  6. function independently and as part of a group/team;
  7. lead a peer group;
  8. communicate effectively using accurate verbal and written techniques for all necessary academic and clinical tasks;
  9. relate to others beyond giving and receiving instruction;
  10. explain self clearly and support personal/professional actions;
  11. be confidential (use proprietary information properly);
  12. convey respect and appreciation for diversity and differences.

Professional Skills:
The student must be able to:

  1. continuously conduct self in accordance with all JSCC Standards, Student Code of Conduct and the AOTA Code of Ethics;
  2. maintain poise and flexibility with spontaneous changes and in stressful or changing conditions;
  3. maintain composure in time compressed and performance based situations;
  4. identify personal learning needs;
  5. use effective personal management (including time and resources)and organizational skills;
  6. demonstrate effective self- awareness and control;
  7. maintain a work pace appropriate to a given work load;
  8. assume responsibility for own actions, without prodding;
  9. assume initiative and responsibility for learning;
  10. modify behavior in response to feedback from peers/instructors;
  11. take initiative for own learning in the classroom, lab and on fieldwork;
  12. participate in the OTA Program as an adult Learner

Environmental Context:
The student must be able to:

  1. work around and with others effectively;
  2. use technology functionally;
  3. manage exposure to dust, fumes, odors, allergies etc.
  4. understand and apply knowledge regarding the risk of exposure to infectious agents, secretions, and bodily fluids in all environments.
  5. comply with JSCC policies regarding workplace safety
  6. use proper techniques (as stated in OTA lab policy manual) when using supplies, equipment, and technology.
  7. understand and follow environmental patterns and changes.

Technical Standards

Students in the OTA Program at JSCC will be involved in simulated and actual clinic activities typical to the OT profession. Activities completed will require the student to use both physical and cognitive skills as well as professional behavior. Physical skills used may include gross motor strength and mobility such as that to transfer a patient, fine motor dexterity and perception are needed such as that to fabricate a piece of adaptive equipment. Problem solving, judgment and organizational skills will be needed as the student learns to apply theoretical concepts to treatment activities. Students will need to be prepared to safely and effectively work and communicate with persons, who due to the nature of their disabilities, may be acutely ill (mentally and physically), may display inappropriate behaviors, or may lack certain physical and cognitive skills. The student is expected to maintain professional therapeutic relationships and behavior in both simulated and actual clinical situations. Specific physical requirements will vary from setting to setting and will have specific standards necessary for employment and fieldwork placement.

Any student who identifies or displays limitations with any of the above mentioned skills should work with the OTA faculty to determine realistic and acceptable accommodations or compensatory methods for the student to have potential for success in the program. Please refer to the accompanying list of essential job functions of the Occupational Therapy Assistant. Students applying to the OTA Program at JSCC will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, age or disability.

E. Drug Testing and Criminal Background Checks
Students will be required to submit to drug testing and background checks before admission to clinical rotations. Positive results/findings on such will interfere with student placement in clinical rotations.