Programs & Courses

Occupational/Physical Therapist Assistant


The application deadline for this program is May 1, 2023 (on-site only).
Please be advised that qualified applicants are offered seats in the order that the applications were received.

About the Program

Improving client health, movement and quality of life is the reward for a career as an Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physical Therapist Assistant (OTA/PTA). As an OTA/PTA, you will work under the direction of occupational therapists (OT) to help clients of all ages and health conditions 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 provide treatment that helps patients recover from illness or injury to increase mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or lessen physical limitations.

This two-year diploma program offers extensive classroom training and valuable practicum experiences with potential employers in hospitals, private clinics, home care settings, schools, and community programs. Through the use of games or crafts, group activities, exercises, assistive devices, and various electrotherapy and physical modalities, you’ll have opportunities to bring your compassion and creativity to a health care and rehabilitation team.  

Offered on-site in Medicine Hat or via distributed learning, the first nine courses are common to two different diplomas:

This unique approach provides you with an excellent core upon which to build more specific skills depending on your interests and pursue additional diploma completion or degree transfer opportunities.

Did you know?
Medicine Hat College's Therapist Assistant program was the first program in Western Canada to offer formal educational preparation for Occupational Therapist Assistants, Physical Therapist Assistants and Speech-Language Pathologist Assistants and is a considered to be a leader and innovator in the field. Our faculty members continually partner with various provincial/national educators and professional groups in an effort to clarify and standardize the role of support personnel in rehabilitation service delivery. This kind of dedication, combined with a great curriculum and fieldwork opportunities, provides you with the background needed for a promising future. 

High School Route

High School diploma with a minimum mark of 60% in each of

  • ELA 30-1
  • Biology 30
  • Two 30-level subjects, one of which must be a 30-level Science, Math 30-1 or Math 30-2.

Mature Student Route

A minimum mark of 60% in:

  • ELA 30-1
  • Biology 30

Transfer Student Route

A minimum mark of 60% or a minimum of C grade in:

  • ELA 30-1 or a post-secondary level equivalent
  • Biology 30, a post-secondary equivalent, or a university level lab science course

English Language Proficiency

Students also need to meet English Language Proficiency at a higher level than the general college. For the International English Language Proficiency System (IELTS) students must have an overall band score for 7.0 with no band score less than 7.0.

Pre-Program Requirements

Once successful in gaining admission and having received the program orientation package, students must:

  • Complete a standardized health form, program of immunization
  • Provide a current resume if requested
  • Provide proof of current CPR/AED Certification from one of the following:
    • Heart & Stroke Foundation (BLS - Basic Life Support),
    • Canadian Red Cross (HCP - Health Care Providers),
    • St. John Ambulance (CPR for Health Care Providers)
  • Provide a current Police Information Check with Vulnerable Sector Check. (Students are obligated to inform the Program Coordinator immediately of any change in the status of their criminal record.) A positive Police Information Check (PIC) may prevent fieldwork placements and, as a result, completion of the program.


Fall Semester (On Site or Group 1 DL)

ENGL 252 recommended
IDST100 Introductory Communications for Helping Professionals
KNES 261 Human Anatomy
PSYC 205 Principles of Psychology
TAPC 110+ Introduction to Health Care and Rehabilitation
Winter Semester (On Site or Group 2 DL)
KNES 265
Functional Anatomy
Junior SOCI (SOCI 203 recommended)
TAPC 111 Rehabilitation Process
TAPC 112 Health Disorders & Conditions in Rehabilitation
TAPC 113 Growth and Development for Rehabilitation Service Providers
Spring Semester (On Site or Group 3 DL)
OPTA 212  Principles and Techniques of Client Contact

* ENGL 125 is offered by DL at MHC. Other English courses are not offered by DL at MHC but are available in a DL format through other post-secondary institutions. Contact Academic Advising for more information.


Fall Semester (On Site or Group 4 DL)

OCTA 215 OTA Therapeutic Processes I
OCTA 216  OTA Therapeutic Processes II
PHTA 215 PTA Therapeutic Processes I
PHTA 216 PTA Therapeutic Processes II
TAPC 210 Professional Integration for the Therapist Assistant
Winter Semester (On Site or 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

+ These courses are fieldwork courses.


Graduates of this program will find employment opportunities with:

  • Health Regions/Hospitals 
  • Rehabilitation Centres 
  • Continuing Care Facilities 
  • Schools 
  • Community and Government Health Agencies 
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Program

What is your education going to cost?

Our TUITION and FEES page provides a total cost estimate for your program including books and supplies and related expenses.

Looking for ways to help fund your education?

There are lots of options like student loans, scholarships, bursaries and emergency funding available.
Check out our FINANCIAL AID page for more information.

Many programs offered at Medicine Hat College qualify for transfer credits to other institutions. In some cases, you must transfer to another institution to complete your program and gain your credential.

The ACADEMIC CALENDAR has official information on transfer options for each program.
Please consult the calendar or meet with an academic advisor for more information.

At MHC, we care about students and want to help you succeed.

As a student, there may be times when you require support. Our SERVICES page provides you with links to a number of campus supports including academic success, counselling and care, health and wellness, and many other resources.

Have you always wanted to study abroad?

Enhance your education, share in cultural diversity and embrace new experiences. Visit the INTERNATIONAL MOBILITY PROGRAM section to find out more.

The Occupational/Physical Therapist 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 awarded to the program on April 30, 2022 for the period until April 30, 2028. 

Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program
Suite 26, 509 Commissioners Road West
London, Ontario
N6J 1Y5
(226) 636-0632

Fieldwork Requirements
  • All program requirements must be completed appropriately and satisfactorily prior to commencing fieldwork.
  • Students who have not successfully met their course and program requirements will not be permitted into the fieldwork courses.
  • Fieldwork arrangements are made by Medicine Hat College with consideration of student preferences; however, students may be required to complete fieldwork at sites other than those requested by students. Once arrangements are confirmed, they are usually not modified.
  • Students should expect to complete at least one fieldwork course/placement outside of Medicine Hat.
  • DL students may also be required to travel outside of their home area in order to complete their fieldwork requirements.
  • Students may anticipate additional costs associated with these placements, e.g., travel, accommodations, etc.
  • At this time, fieldwork placements occur only in Canada.
  • Fieldwork placements are usually full-time placements unless otherwise approved by the coordinator and fieldwork sites.

Continuation Specific to Fieldwork

  • Immunizations required must be up to date prior to program start date, shadowing and fieldwork placement(s).
  • Participation in all activities related to fieldwork is mandatory.
  • Immunizations must be maintained throughout the program.Additional immunizations may be required for fieldwork.
  • Students must successfully complete lab examinations in OCTA 215, OCTA 216, OPTA 212, PHTA 215, and PHTA 216 prior to entering fieldwork.
  • All fieldwork experience must meet attendance and participation requirements as specified.
  • Should a student receive an unsatisfactory evaluation on a fieldwork placement, they will be required to discuss this situation with Medicine Hat College faculty. This evaluation may result in having to repeat the placement.
  • Students that receive an unsatisfactory evaluation in more than one placement, will be required to withdraw from the program.
  • Students may be required to obtain a recent police information check and/or similar checks, at their expense, prior to entry into some fieldwork sites.
  • Should the students performance and/or health be question able in relation to the delivery of safe client care and/or the maintenance of the professional standards of the program,they may be asked to leave the fieldwork site and may not receive credit in the fieldwork course.

Prior Learning

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.

Distributed Learning (DL)

  • If you are enrolled in the distributed learning component you are expected to participate in experiential learning opportunities that are group or individually based. You should be prepared to travel to pre-arranged sites for lab workshops in OPTA 212, OCTA 215, OCTA 216, PHTA 215, and PHTA 216.
  • You must normally complete all courses in each group prior to beginning courses in subsequent groups. Programs completed otherwise will require submission of Prerequisite Waiver forms.
  • Tuition and other fees are charged on a course by course basis; textbooks and supplies are additional.