Apply to the OTA program

The first cohort in the OTA program will begin in January 2022.

UPDATE: The application deadline has been EXTENDED to September 30, 2021

Apply IN OTACAS

Note: We will review applications once ACOTE, our accrediting body, grants us Candidacy status, which is anticipated in late August 2021. If granted, this program will admit its first cohort in Spring 2022.

Deadlines:

  • The status of your application must be "complete" or "verified" before 11:59 p.m. ET on September 30.
  • Make sure ALL official documents and application materials arrive at OTCAS three to four weeks before the September 30 deadline. OTCAS can take 1-2 weeks to process applications. If your application is missing documents on October 1, your application will be considered late and will not be reviewed.

Requirements:

  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better in previous undergraduate academic coursework.
  • You must pass all prerequisite courses with a minimum C (or 2.0) before the January start of the OTA program. You may be enrolled in no more than two prerequisite courses at the time of application. There is no time limit or expiration date on prerequisites. Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) credits will be accepted.
    Required prerequisites courses include:
    • BIOS 2110: Human Anatomy
    • BIOS 2400: Human Physiology
    • PSY 1000: General Psychology
    • PSY 2500: Abnormal Psychology
    • HSV 2250: Growth, Development, and Aging
    • HSV 2650: Information Literacy in the Health Sciences
    • MDSC 2010: Medical Terminology
    • OT 2020: Introduction to OT
  • An interview is part of the OTA application process. It is essential that you demonstrate your knowledge of the profession during this interview. Therefore, while not required to apply to the program, it is strongly encouraged that you seek out job shadowing, or other related experiences, within the OT field before you apply.

Other factors considered:

  • Work/Volunteer Experience – Involving helping others from disabled, culturally diverse, vulnerable populations. You may also list any OT-related experiences (job shadowing, volunteering, etc.).
  • Leadership/Teamwork – Paid or unpaid.
  • Diversity Experience – Courses taken that included substantial study of other cultures. Non-English or sign language classes can also be included here.

Notes on program sequence

  • Each semester’s course work in the OTA program builds on the prior semester’s work. Therefore, it is imperative that you complete required course work in the prescribed sequence.
  • Western Michigan University Occupational Therapy program does not allow advanced placement based on prior academic or clinical experience.
  • Due to the unique nature of each OTA program, we do not accept transfer of credits from programs at other institutions.

Process and questions

Admissions process

Upon receiving a completed application, the department will:

  • Review and score applicants based on application materials.
  • Send interview invitations to a select number of applicants based on initial scores. Interviews will occur in October/November.
  • A final score will be calculated (application score plus interview score) and applicants will be ranked highest to lowest.
  • A cohort of 12 students will be admitted to the program. Offers will be emailed by late November.
  • A small number of applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

Questions

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Nancy Cretsinger by email or at (269) 387-3680.

OTA program accreditation status:

The baccalaureate-degree-level occupational therapy assistant program has applied for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) 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-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org.

The program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates 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, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.