OTA Mission & Curriculum

Program Philosophy, mission and curriculum sequence

The mission of Green River College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is to provide students with education to provide knowledge, skills, values and professional behaviors necessary to provide occupation-based intervention to a diverse population as successful entry-level occupational therapy assistants.  In addition, to provide the students with resources that will facilitate their successes in learning.

Five common threads have been identified as essential skills that will contribute to each student’s success while in program, fieldwork and the workforce. In each course, the student will find that faculty incorporates the identified common threads.  Each instructor is responsible for weaving the identified common threads into their curriculum and providing feedback during the Student Advising Period.  The five common threads include:

Communication:  We emphasize the need for skillful communication, which is essential for optimal clinical care.  The ability to effectively exchange information is one of the most important elements of a treatment team from both an intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspective; it is also one of the most difficult to teach. By incorporating a strong emphasis on producing skillful communicators, our program aims to develop our students as efficient, cost-effective, and client-centered practitioners.

Professional Behaviors: The concept of professionalism and its’ encompassed behaviors in the clinical setting is essential to creating an environment of trust between employers, employees, clients, and caregivers. Professional behaviors can include a wide array of attitudes and conduct such as professional presentation, punctuality, dependability, empathy, and professional reasoning. Taking context into consideration, the GRC OTA Program seeks to foster the ability to define and implement these behaviors.

Life Long Learning: It is the goal of our program to develop future OT practitioners that are lifelong learners in order to provide optimal client care and have optimal employment opportunities in the future. For these reasons, we foster the value of lifelong learning through the ongoing pursuit of knowledge for personal and professional development. Occupational therapy is not a static profession but one that is dynamic and led by research influencing evidence-based practice. Occupational therapy practitioners must keep current with this dynamic nature by being in tune with current research and adapting to the changing healthcare environment. This is accomplished by developing new skills and obtaining new knowledge through utilization of available educational resources. Our students are evaluated in coursework from a standards-based perspective, set the standard for learning high and rewarding behaviors that exhibit digging deeper and going further to promote habits of lifelong learning.

Problem Based Learning: In the GRC OTA Program, instruction is presented through problem-based learning. Problem-based learning is an active approach to learning, which is focused around a clinical or scientific problem. Using this method, students are presented with various real world or simulated clinical scenarios. These case studies enable the students to assess their areas of knowledge and growth to enhance professional reasoning skills in order to develop clinical competence in preparation for application in the fieldwork setting. This style of learning increases and facilitates problem solving, self-initiation, and clinical reasoning skills which are central to the occupational therapy process. Not only are these skills essential to the student in the classroom, they are also essential toward professional development in the context of lifelong learning related to client-centered care.

Occupational Performance: Occupations are any of the things that we do in everyday life that we consider to be meaningful and necessary. In occupational therapy, the activities are broken down into subcategories including; activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation. Throughout the program, students are encouraged to not only assess client’s ability to perform successfully in these areas, but also their own occupational performance. By examining the balance between all areas of occupation students gain an understanding of how an upset in the balance can affect an individual physically, mentally, and emotionally. This understanding assists students in recognizing the need for a holistic, client centered approach to therapy and identify intervention consistent with models of occupational performance.

In addition to faculty including these common threads into their courses, faculty contributes to the student quarterly assessment designed around each of these five core threads, which is administered by their assigned program advisor. Students are also expected to complete a self-assessment of their performance in each of these five areas and, while meeting with their advisor, review the ratings for each objective.  The student, in collaboration with advisor, writes measureable goals to address the areas of growth for each thread.  Each advising session builds upon the previous assessment.

These threads prepare our students to meet the following GRC OTA Learning Outcomes as we strive to ensure the established accreditation standards are taught, integrated and measured:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the occupational therapy foundational content requirements.
  • Discuss the basic tenets of occupational therapy.
  • Conduct and document a screening and evaluation process.
  • Intervene and implement occupational therapy processes.
  • Describe the context of occupational therapy services.
  • Assist in the management of occupational therapy services.
  • Read and use professional literature in the field of occupational therapy.
  • Discuss the importance of ethics, values and responsibilities in the field of occupational therapy.

In addition to the above outcomes and the learning outcomes and competencies identified in each course, courses are expected to include methods to assess and challenge students in the following campus-wide learning outcomes.

  1. Written communication skills: Written Communication encompasses all the abilities necessary for effective expression of thoughts, feelings, and ideas in written form
  2. Critical thinking: Critical thinking finds expression in all disciplines and Everyday life. It is characterized by an ability to reflect upon thinking patterns, including the role of emotions on thoughts, and to rigorously assess the quality of thought through its work products. Critical thinkers routinely evaluate thinking processes and alter them, as necessary, to facilitate an improvement in their thinking and potentially foster certain dispositions or intellectual traits over time.
  3. Responsibility: Responsibility encompasses those behaviors and dispositions necessary for students to be effective members of a community. This outcome is designed to help students recognize the value of a commitment to those responsibilities which will enable them to work successfully individually and with others.
  4. Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning: Quantitative Reasoning encompasses abilities necessary for a student to become literate in today’s technological world. Quantitative reasoning begins with basic skills and extends to problem solving.

The OTA program proudly describes its’ program as a developmental model for student’s integration and application of learning. We believe that students will learn basic foundational concepts during their lower 100 courses and slowly be introduced to application of the material in upper 100 and lower level 200 courses. In upper 200 level courses students are demonstrating their integration of knowledge.  In these upper 200 level courses students are expected to demonstrate application of academic content from the 100 level course where students are required to integrate information previously learned, demonstrate their lifelong learning by research outside of the class, and demonstrate their skills in the community through lab and Level 1 fieldwork experiences.  This developmental model provides for the opportunity to introduce each accreditation standard twice in the program, once at the 100 level and once at the 200 level thereby ensuring that the curriculum is designed to set the foundation for success on Level 2 fieldwork, the NBCOT exam and entry-level employment.

We believe that it is essential that students understand that they must rely on previous learned content and build their knowledge to improve clinical competency. We strive to teach students to access & utilize all available resources, and seek out updated evidenced-based information as a means to instill the importance of life-long learning skills which are essential as they move toward becoming an entry level clinician in a field that is dynamic, progressive and growing in its’ theoretical and practical roots across a multitude of populations. We rely on the knowledge students’ gain in both the prerequisite and co-requisite coursework. The listing of the OTA program prerequisites and co-requisites are listed below.   Students are required to complete the Prerequisites prior to or during the application process (see list below). In addition, once in the program, students are required to complete co-requisites that we feel enhance the student’s skills as an occupational therapy assistant and assist in meeting campus wide learning outcomes. The program is rigorous and we recommend that co-requisites be completed prior to the third quarter.

View full OTA Curriculum Sequence.

Degrees & Certificates


Contact & Location

For more information or to make an appointment, please contact us at:

Application and Forms

2021 OTA Application

Applications can be submitted to Sandra Mathews @ smathews@greenriver.edu during the time period of April 15th-May 15th. 

 Contact a Health Science Occupations Advisor:

Health Occupations Admissions
253-833-9111, ext. 2641

Accreditation Information

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). They are located at:

  • 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200
    North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
    (301)652-AOTA (2682)

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