American Occupational Therapy Association Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (AOTA)

American Occupational Therapy Association is a national professional association which gives accreditation to colleges offering high quality occupational therapy courses to students.

Posted by Ankita Paul on 8th May 2018

American Occupational Therapy Association Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (AOTA)

The American Occupational Therapy Association Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education is the national professional association which is established in 1917.

It was incorporated with the idea of representing the interests of occupational therapy practitioners and students of occupational therapy plus improve the quality of occupational therapy services.

Occupational Therapy is the therapy to engage in everyday activities of daily life such as self-care, education, work for the people who are especially physically or mentally impaired.

AOTA represents 213,000 occupational therapy practitioners and students in the United States.

AOTA strives to direct their services towards providing high-quality occupational therapy services, improving consumer access to health care services and promoting the professional development of members. 

Guiding Values of American Occupational Therapy Association

AOTA’s mission is to advance occupational therapy services, enhance its education, set best standards and serve as an advocate to improve health care.

The core pillars of the guiding values of AOTA are-

  • Effective- Occupational Therapy is evidence-based, client-centered, and cost-effective.

  • Leaders- Occupational therapy is influential in changing policies, environments, and complex systems.

  • Collaborative- Occupational therapy collaborates and works in a combined state with clients through systems to produce effective outcomes.

  • Accessible- Occupational Therapy is accessible to all consumers because it is culturally responsive and provides customized services.

 Eligibility Requirements for colleges for AOTA accreditation

  • The institution must be accredited by a recognized regional accrediting council. For institutions outside the US, AOTA will determine an alternative and equivalent external review committee.

  • The institution must be authorized under applicable law to provide a program of post-secondary education and must have a proper degree and doctoral degree-granting authority.

  • The institution should have the proper responsibility of appointing faculty, admission of students and plan a proper curriculum that goes with the standards of AOTA. This would include course content, satisfactory completion of the degree program and grant the degree.

  • The institution should also be responsible for the proper conduct of classroom teaching and assign practices which is in a fieldwork setting.

  • Notify and receive AOTA approval for any program addition or removal prior to the admission of students into the changed program.

  • Pay accreditation fees within 90 days of the invoice date.

  • They should demonstrate honesty and integrity in all AOTA dealings and interactions.

  • Submit a report of Self-Study and other required reports within the period designated by AOTA.

  • The program must have a program director who is assigned as an occupational therapy program director on a full-time basis.

  • The program director should hold a doctoral degree from an institution that is accredited by a regional or national accrediting body recognized by U.S.Department of education. He should also have an experience of 5-8 years in the field of occupational therapy.

  • Faculty responsibilities must be consistent with and supportive of the mission of the institution.

 AOTA decision making bodies

The decision making bodies that fall under AOTA are-

  • AOTA board of directors

  • AOTA Representative Assembly

  • AOTA Ethics Commission

  • Appeals Board Roster

  • The roster of Accreditation Evaluators (RAE)
  • AOTA Commission on Education

  • National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy

AOTA strategic plans for student success

AOTA has an Assembly of Student Delegates Steering Committee which plans activities for students and has also come up with Student occupational therapy association (SOTA) handbook which is intended for increased productivity, engagement, communication and teamwork.

SOTA basically aims to help students throughout the study years and covers the areas of the role in AOTA national governance, team building, and leadership positions and duties, leader elections, their duties and term of service, the creation of budget, running a meeting, member engagement, fundraising, community service and professional development.

The SOTA’s mission is to “To enhance the knowledge of the profession of occupational therapy through professional, educational, community, and social activities. The organization will facilitate opportunities for mutual trust and friendship among students, as well as provide meaningful, productive interaction with faculty”.

AOTA’s fieldwork program for the students

Fieldwork at AOTA headquarters offers students the opportunity to gain and strengthen their analytical, organizational, communications, and advocacy skills while increasing their knowledge of AOTA. In addition, students will have the opportunity to meet national volunteer leaders. Finally, students may be involved in national projects and activities in the following areas:

  • Practice (e.g., pediatrics, driving, ethics, etc.)

  • Evidence-Based Practice (e.g., help create and communicate EBP resources)

  • Research Dissemination and Advocacy (e.g., assist with creating resources, writing comments to NIH, etc.)

  • Annual Conference & Expo Planning

  • Professional Development (continuing education)

  • Federal Affairs* (assist with monitoring legislation, advocacy, AOTPAC)

  • Reimbursement and Regulatory Policy*

  • State Policy*

*Requires minimum 12 weeks

 Colleges and Universities that come under AOTA accreditation


American Occupational Therapy Association is an association that wants to help the human community by providing worldwide health care services to the impaired patients. They are focused on providing high-quality services through accreditation and high-quality education and also enhanced the development of professionals.