OTA Observation Experience

The completion of your observation experience is an important step in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program application process. It offers you the opportunity to observe occupational therapy, reflect on your experience and make an information decision about your potential future profession.

As part of the admissions requirement, you must observe occupational therapy services for a minimum of seven hours. The professional you observe must be licensed as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.

You can observe at more than one site and at the practice area of your choosing. Your task is to observe and not participate in activities. Settings include, but are not limited to:

  • hospitals
  • outpatient clinics
  • nursing homes
  • sub-acute rehab settings
  • early intervention
  • community settings 
  • schools

Students are expected to dress in a professional manner while participating in observation learning experiences.

  • Students should wear full-length blue, black or tan slacks. Capri pants are not acceptable. Pants should not be dragging on the floor or frayed at the bottom.
  • Shirts must cover the torso in the front and back, including when bending and lifting. Blue jeans, t-shirts and sweatshirts are not acceptable.
  • Closed-toe shoes must be worn. Spiked high-heeled shoes are prohibited. Heels should be no more than 1-2 inches high.  Soles should be soft enough as to not create noise on bare flooring. White leather gym shoes may be worn if they are clean and in good condition. Stockings or hose must be worn.
  • No excessive jewelry or dangling earrings.
  • Fingernails should be neatly trimmed with subdued polish if worn. Long nails pose a potential safety hazard when working with patients, particularly older adults and small children. Many facilities do not allow artificial nails to be worn.
  • No excessive makeup or fragrance should be worn.
  • Beards and mustaches must be clean, neat and well-trimmed.
  • Hair is to be neat and clean. It’s recommended that long hair be secured away from the face.
  • Cellphones are strictly prohibited. Students should not carry cellphones or personal items in the facility.

Submission requirements

Following the completion of your observation hours, you will need to email the following documents to Micaela Childress, OTA student success coach:

  1. The Observation Experience Form. The therapist you observed will need to sign the form verifying your observation hours. 
  2. A one- to two-page typed reflection essay summarizing your experience.

Your observation form and reflection essay must be received by the second Monday in August.

You will receive a confirmation email within three business days. You must receive a confirmation email to receive credit toward your observation materials. If you do not receive a confirmation, please verify your materials were received by emailing Micaela Childress.

Alternative assignment

If you cannot find a facility to complete your observation hours, you may complete the Alternative Assignment Form.