The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. AOTA’s phone number is (301) 652-AOTA. In 2002, the OTA Program was accredited for ten years, the longest time span awarded by ACOTE.
Upon completion of the OTA Program, graduates will be able 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 the exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Most states, including Texas, require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to take the NBCOT exam or attain state licensure.
Credentialing consists of various forms of recognition that an individual has met prescribed standards to engage in professional practice. For the occupational therapy assistant, there are two types of credentialing of which one need to be aware: certification and licensure. Information on these types of credentialing is provided below.
It is important to remember that completion of the program requirements at Panola College will not in itself authorize an individual to practice in the State of Texas nor in most other states. In order to become certified, an individual must successfully complete an accredited occupational therapy assistant program of study. This entitles one to complete the certification examination for occupational therapy assistants. If the certification examination is successfully passed, the individual can become certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.
Licensure is the governmental (state) regulation of practice, designed to protect the health and welfare of the citizens of a state against unscrupulous or incompetent practice by persons who have not met prescribed qualifications. In Texas, occupational therapy assistants are required to obtain a license to practice from the Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners before practicing. Failure to do so renders both the individual as well as his/her employer (if applicable) liable for misdemeanor charges and fines. The Board maintains certain rules and regulations that govern eligibility for a license, as well as requirements for licensure renewal. As soon as you have met all requirements except the certification examination, you are eligible to apply to receive a temporary license. The courts will not dismiss charges of practice without a license on the grounds that a person was ignorant of the law. Therefore, please act responsibly in matters of practice credentialing and avoid embarrassment and penalty. For additional information, contact the Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners at 333 Guadalupe, Suite 2-510, Austin, Texas 78701-3942 Tel. (512) 305-6900. If you have been charged or convicted of a felony offense, you might not be eligible for OTA licensure in Texas and for certification by the National board for Certificate in Occupational Therapy. The program director and members of the faculty will be happy to assist you with questions regarding both certification and licensure.