If you are a compassionate and creative individual who is looking for a rewarding opportunity to help people, then a career as an Occupational/Physical Therapist Assistant may be just what you’re looking for. With this combined diploma, you may work as an Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA), or a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA). This program is offered both at the Medicine Hat Campus and online via distributed learning.
Under the supervision and guidance of an Occupational Therapist (OT), an Occupational Therapist Assistant implements treatment plans designed for people with physical, mental, emotional or developmental challenges.
As a Physical Therapist Assistant, you will work under the direction of a Physical Therapist to implement treatment programs to promote health, prevent or recover from injury, reduce pain, or develop strength and mobility to improve quality of life.
Medicine Hat College is redesigning the online display of programs and courses and some content on this page may no longer be accurate. For official program information, please refer to the current academic calendar.
Learn about tuition and fees or download a program planning guide.
The Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physical Therapist Assistant (OTA/PTA) career is aimed at improving patient/clients’ health, movement, and quality of life. As an OTA/PTA, you will work under the direction of Occupational Therapists (OT) to help clients successfully perform daily activities related to self-care, leisure, and work, school or play. You will also work under the direction of physiotherapists (PT) to help provide treatment to help patients recover from illness or injury to improve patient mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or lessen physical limitations. If you are a compassionate and creative individual who enjoys working with people and being part of the health care and rehabilitation team, this program may be a good fit for you. Working with clients of all ages ranging from infants to seniors with a variety of health conditions, you will learn how to use a variety of interventions to help your clients. The activities could range from games or crafts; group activities; exercise for strength, flexibility, balance and coordination; use of assistive devices, and various electrotherapy and physical modalities. Your clients might have conditions such as back pain, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, cerebral palsy, autism, mental health disorders or dementia among others. An OTA/PTA’s responsibilities also include monitoring and recording client progress, and reporting to the OT or PT.
This program is flexible in that the first 10 courses are common to both the OTA/PTA and SLP Assistant (SLPA) diplomas. This unique approach provides students with an excellent core upon which to build more specific skills depending on their interests. Along with extensive classroom training, students experience practicum training with potential employers in hospitals, private clinics, home care settings, schools, and community programs.
The diploma is offered both on-site (at Medicine Hat College) or via distributed learning. The on-site option is a two-year (fivesemester) diploma program, whereas the distributed learning (DL) option is completed over a longer period of up to five years. Students may wish to continue on and complete the SLPA diploma after completion of the OTA/PTA diploma. This diploma will also transfer to degree programs.
Graduates of this program will find employment opportunities with:
High School Route
High School diploma with a minimum mark of 60% in each of
Mature Student Route
Transfer Student Route
Academic Transition Plan (ATP)
If you do not possess all of the admission requirements, the Academic Transition Plan (ATP) may provide conditional acceptance to this program, provided space is available. ATP is individualized to meet your needs.
Once you are successful in gaining admission and have received the program package, you must:
Please note that this program is also available via Distributed Learning (DL)
First Year/Group 1 DL
IDST 100 Introductory Communications for Helping Professionals
KNES 261 Human Anatomy+
PSYC 205* Principles of Psychology
TAPC 110 Introduction to Health Care and Rehabilitation
ENGL 1XX or ENGL 2XX* (ENGL 252 recommended)
Winter / Group 2 DL
KNES 265 Functional Anatomy
Junior SOCI* (SOCI 203 recommended)
TAPC 111 Rehabilitation Process
TAPC 112 Human Disorders & (Dis)Abilities
TAPC 113 Growth and Development for Rehabilitation Service Providers
Spring / Group 3 DL
OPTA 212 Principles and Techniques of Client Contact
Fall / Group 4 DL
OCTA 215 Therapeutic Processes I
OCTA 216 Therapeutic Processes II
PHTA 215 PTA Therapeutic Processes I
PHTA 216 PTA Therapeutic Processes II
TAPC 210 Professional Integration for the Therapist Assistant
Winter / Group 5 DL
OCTA 217 OTA Therapeutic Processes III
OPTA 217 OTA/PTA Therapeutic Processes IV
OPTA 218 Career Preparation for the OTA/PTA
PHTA 217 PTA Therapeutic Processes III
NOTE: * ENGL 125 is offered onsite and by Distributed Learning at Medicine Hat College. Other English courses not offered by distributed learning at Medicine Hat College but are available by distributed learning format through other post-secondary institutions. Contact Academic Advising for more information.
+ This course is offered on-site and via distance delivery.
You must successfully complete 20 specific courses and meet attendance, fieldwork and grade requirements as set out in the program policies.
The Occupational/Physical Therapy Assistant program at Medicine Hat College has been accredited by the Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program (OTA & PTA EAP) in collaboration with Physiotherapy Education Accreditation Canada (PEAC) and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT). The status of Accreditation was granted to the program on April 30, 2015 for the period until April 30, 2021.
The OTA & PTA EAP contact information is: Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program, Suite 26, 509 Commissioners Road West, London, Ontario, N6J 1Y5, (226) 636-0632, www.otapta.ca.
Individual courses transfer to other post-secondary institutions as outlined in the Alberta Transfer Guide.
Graduates of the Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physical Therapist Assistant diploma are eligible to transfer 60 credits to the Bachelor of Professional Arts (Human Services) degree.
University of Calgary
Graduates are eligible to apply to the two year post diploma BCR program (Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation).
Thompson Rivers University
You are eligible to receive advance credit towards the Bachelor of Health Science or the Bachelor of General Studies.
Continuation Specific to Fieldwork
If you have been employed in the field prior to entering this program, you may be eligible for prior learning assessment. Please contact the Coordinator for further information.
Medicine Hat College distributes over $300,000 in scholarships and bursaries each year. Applying online is easy!
There are several options to assist you in funding your education at MHC. Find out what option is best for you.
MHC has a walk in clinic on the Medicine Hat campus? More...
Both of the programs I completed - Massage Therapy and Physical Therapist Assistant - made me a well-rounded therapist. MHC gave me a wonderful experience which helped me to become a successful spa owner.
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