School of Health & Community Services

Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physical Therapist Assistant (OTA/PTA)

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, 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. The OTA/PTA Program at MHC is a great educational starting point for those seeking to become an Occupational Therapist or Physical Therapist with further studies.

Offered on-site in Medicine Hat or online, 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:
• ELA 30-1 (min. 60%)
• Biology 30 (min. 60%)
• Two 30-level subjects (min. 60%), one of which must be
   a 30-level science or Math 30-1 or Math 30-2

Mature Student Route

  • ELA 30-1 (min. 60%)
  • Biology 30 (min. 60%)

Transfer Student Route

  • ELA 30-1 or a post-secondary level equivalent (min. 60%, or C)
  • Biology 30, a post-secondary level equivalent or a university level lab science
    course postsecondary level equivalent or a university level lab science course (min.
    60%, or C)

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 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.
  • Provide current Intervention Record Check (Alberta Residents only).

During the program, students must:

  • 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)
  • Obtain an N-95 Mask Fit Test
First Year

Fall OS or Group 1 Online

  • IDST 100 - Introductory Communications for Helping Professionals
  • ENGL 1XX or 2XX
  • KNES 261 - Human Anatomy
  • PSYC 2XX - (PSYC 201 recommended)
  • TAPC 110 - Introduction to Health Care and Rehabilitation
*ENGL 125 is offered online at MHC. Other English courses are not offered online at MHC but are available in an online format through other post-secondary institutions. Contact Academic Advising for more information.

Winter OS or Group 2 Online

  • KNES 265 - Functional Anatomy
  • SOCI 2XX
  • TAPC 111 - Rehabilitation Process
  • TAPC 112 - Health Disorders & Conditions in Rehabilitation
  • TAPC 113 - Growth and Development for Rehabilitation Service Providers

Spring OS or Group 3 Online

  • OPTA 212 - Principles and Techniques of Client Contact

Second Year

Fall OS or Group 4 Online

  • 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 OS or Group 5 Online

  • OCTA 217* - OTA Therapeutic Processes III
  • OPTA 217* - OTA/PTA Therapeutic Processes IV
  • TAPC 218 - Career Preparation for the Therapist Assistant
  • 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
  • Mental Health Organizations
  • Private Clinics

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.
  • Online 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.
  • Fieldwork placements occur only in Canada, are unpaid, and are considered full-time. 

Continuation Specific to Fieldwork

  • Immunizations requirements must be up to date prior to shadowing and fieldwork placement(s).
  • Participation in all activities related to fieldwork is mandatory.
  • 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. 
Additional Information

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

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.

Online Learning (OL)

  • If you are enrolled in the online delivery, you are expected to participate in experiential learning opportunities that are group or individually based. You should be prepared to travel to Medicine Hat College 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.

Individual courses transfer to other post-secondary institutions as outlined in the Alberta Transfer Guide. 

*Please Note: Many institutions have competitive GPA entry requirements. 

  • Athabasca University: Graduates are eligible for admission into the Bachelor of Professional Arts (Human Services Major) and are eligible to transfer 60 credits into this program. Students should consult with an AU Advisor for further information.
  • University of Calgary: Graduates are eligible to apply to the two-year post diploma BCR program (Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation). Students should be sure to consult Transfer Alberta when choosing option/elective courses when considering transfer to the U of C, access to higher level courses may be restricted if proper planning is not employed. Students should contact an Academic Advisor for further information.
  • Thompson Rivers University: Graduates are eligible to receive advanced credit towards the Bachelor of Health Science or the Bachelor of General Studies. Students should contact an Academic Advisor at TRU for further information.
  • Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning: Graduates with an overall GPA of 65% may be eligible to receive advanced standing into the second year of the Bachelor of Health Sciences, Workplace Health and Wellness. Applicants must possess the equivalent to Grade 12 English (ENG4U) with a minimum 65% and the equivalent to Grade 12 Biology (SBI4U). Students should contact an Academic Advisor for further information.

International Transfers:

  • The University of Northampton (UK): Graduates of the OTA/PTA diploma are eligible to apply to the Bachelor of Science (Hons) - Occupational Therapy. Students should contact an Academic Advisor for further information. 


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