Occupational Therapy Assistant

Program Locations: Grand Island Campus
Program Level: Associate
Department: Health Sciences


If you have a strong interest in health and wellness, psychology, sociology and behavioral studies, we encourage you to apply to our Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program. We offer the only two-year OTA program in Nebraska. Our graduates receive an associate of applied science degree and are eligible to take the licensing exam required to become a certified occupational therapy assistant. Through our program you’ll learn how to help address the quality of life of people who are unable to fully participate in meaningful tasks and activities of daily life due to physical, psychological or social conditions or environmental or attitudinal barriers.

Occupational therapy assistants:

  • Work with people of all ages and ability levels — from serving on early intervention teams to implementing aging-in-place programs for community elders.
  • Assist occupational therapists in assessing individual and community occupation-related needs. Help develop therapeutic intervention plans.
  • Use purposeful activities, creative arts, environmental modification, adaptive equipment and technology and the therapeutic use of self to facilitate engagement in meaningful activity.
  • Assist with planning and implementing treatment activities.
  • Communicate with individuals, families and health care providers.
  • Document progress toward the achievement of individual and community identified-and-centered goals.

Working Conditions

Occupational therapy assistants work in a variety of settings including:

  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Schools
  • Rehabilitation hospitals
  • Day treatment centers
  • Out-patient and community-based clinics
  • Acute care hospitals
  • Home health

Program Options

Associate of Applied Science

program overviewcourse descriptionscourse sequence

NBCOT Program Data Results


The occupational therapy assistant program has been granted accreditation through 2026 by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Ln Ste 200 Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. Additional information regarding occupational therapy accreditation may be obtained from the ACOTE Accreditation section of the AOTA Web Page (www.acoteonline.org), or by phone 800-729- 2682. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the occupational therapy assistant national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification exam and on the demonstration of continuing education and competency.

Board Pass Rate

OTA Program Board Pass Rate

  2016 2015 2014
Total Number of NG Testing 14 15 12
Total Number of NG passing (% passing) 14 (100%) 13 (87%) 11 (92%)
Total Number of NG failing (% failing) 0 (0%) 2 (13%) 1 (8%)
Total Average Score 484 471 475
Average Passing Score 484 477 478
Average Failing Score NA 434 444

OTA CCC Program Board Pass Rate 3 years (aggregate pass rate percentage): 93%

Within those years, the total number of program graduates who attempted the NBCOT exam within 12 months of graduation: 41

The number of graduates who passed the exam within 12 months of graduation (regardless of number of attempts) 38

Recruitment and Retention
Year Started # of Students Entering program # exiting before graduation # delayed or on hold # graduating on schedule Total of Students graduating
2009 17 1 1 15 15
2010 14 1 1 13 12
2011 16 0 0 14 14
2012 16 3 0 13 13
2013 16 2 0 14 14
2014 16 1 0 15 15
2015 16 1 0 15 15
2016 20 4 0 16  

From 2013-2015

Students Entering Program: 48 Students

Students Graduating: 44 Students

OTA CCC Program Graduate Rate Past 3 years: 92%

  • What will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What careers can I have?
What will it cost?

At 2019-20 tuition and fee rates, completing the 71 credits required for the Occupational Therapy Assistant degree costs:

Nebraska residents - $7,455

Non-residents - $10,650

Cost for books, a laptop and other expenses total about $3,900. Students may have additional expenses for room and board while completing fieldwork, immunizations, and CPR training.

These costs are for tuition and fees only for the program of study as listed in the CCC online catalog. It does not include the cost of foundations courses, retaking courses or taking courses in addition to those required for the degree. It does not include the cost of books, supplies, tools, computers or other items that may be required.

2019-20 Tuition and Fees (cost per credit) Tuition Fees Total
Nebraska Resident $90 $15 $105
Non Resident $135 $15 $150

View College Costs

How long will it take?

Finish in 2 years by completing 4 semesters + 1 summer session

The length of time to complete a program is based on a student taking only the courses required for the program as listed in our online catalog. It does not include the cost of foundations courses that may be required based on assessment scores, retaking courses or taking courses that are not required by your program of study.

Your adviser will develop a plan of study to meet your personal needs.

What careers can I have?

Career Coach find your careerCheck out Career Coach to learn about job openings, pay and careers.

Admissions Criteria

Occupational Therapy Assistant Admissions Procedures

Begin the admissions process early.
You will NOT be granted consideration to the OTA program until items 1 – 6 are completed.
It is the student’s responsibility to notify the OTA Administrative Assistant when items are completed

Admission Criteria and Procedure

  1. Complete Central Community College application. This includes submission of college and high school transcripts.
  2. Complete the OTA Supplemental Application Form. This form is found in the OTA Admission Packet.
  3. Schedule an informational meeting with an OTA Director, Professor, or Assistant.
  4. Meet program specific academic eligibility. This is accomplished by attaining minimum scores on the ACT, Compass, Accuplacer, NWEA Map, Next Gen, or Asset test. Test scores must be within 3 years of your OTA application. If the scores from your ACT or Asset test are older than 3 years, Compass tests are offered at all Central Community College campuses. Call the campus nearest you to schedule a day/time for your test. Program specific minimum scores are listed below:
    ACT Test COMPASS Placement Test Accuplacer Placement Test NWEA Map Next Gen ASSET Test
    Composite ≥ 19 Reading ≥ 80 Reading ≥ 74 Reading ≥ 223 Reading ≥ 263 Reading ≥ 40
    Math ≥ 19 Writing ≥ 74 Sent-Skills ≥ 84 Language ≥ 223 Writing ≥ 263 Writing ≥ 42
    All other areas ≥ 18 Algebra ≥ 40 Elem Algebra ≥ 57

    Math ≥ 240

    QAS Math ≥ 246

    Math ≥ 43

  5. Complete 8 hours of community volunteer service • All hours can be completed with the same organization or hours may be split between two sites.
  6. Complete 8 hours of observation with a COTA or OTR
    • Hours can be completed through observing any area of OT practice.
      The following items typically occur in April or May of the year you begin your OTA program.
  7. Attend OTA Informational Seminar.
    • All students offered a position in the OTA program must attend this program specific seminar. The seminar will be scheduled approximately 1-2 months prior to the program start date. You will receive a formal invitation to the seminar via the mail.
  8. Submit Deposit:
    • Students who are officially admitted to the OTA program must submit a deposit of $200.00 to hold their seat. The deposit will be collected when you attend the informational seminar and will be applied to the applicants’ tuition. Please note that this deposit is non-refundable. If a student accepts the college’s offer of admission into the OTA program and then later opts not to enroll in OTA coursework, they will forfeit their deposit.

All required forms can be downloaded and printed from the CCC OTA program webpage. 

Program Philosophy

Program Statement of Philosophy

The programs philosophical principles reflect currently published beliefs held by the profession. Faculty believe that humans grow and flourish when they are immersed in enriched social contexts and that occupation, including the occupation of teaching and learning, is both process oriented and action driven. Graduates with an Occupational Therapy Assistant AAS degree will be prepared to provide occupational therapy services that meet the demands of current and future practice while demonstrating quality, ethical, and professional occupational therapy behavior in all practice environments.

OTA Program Mission

The mission of Central Community College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program is to educate competent, ethical, occupational therapy assistants, who are committed to lifelong learning, advocacy and who are drivers of change for the benefit of the occupational therapy profession. Graduates of the program will use their occupational therapy expertise to facilitate health and healing in diverse and global settings and work collaboratively to address the healthcare challenges of the 21st century.

Program Outcomes

Program outcomes that measure the effectiveness and quality of the program are focused on the benefits to the student, employer, and community. The following outcomes have been identified.

  1. Performance on Licensure exam: The annual mean for the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) pass rate for CCC OTA graduates will be at or above the national mean for the same year.
  2. Program Completion: 80% of CCC students will complete the OTA program within 3 years of first starting the first occupational therapy course.
  3. Graduate Program Satisfaction: 80% of the CCC OTA graduates will report satisfaction with the preparation for occupational therapy practice provided by the program.
  4. Employer Program Satisfaction: 80% of employers of CCC OTA graduates will report satisfaction with the competency of graduates as defined by the student learning outcomes and graduate competencies.
  5. Job Placement Rates 90% or more of CCC OTA graduates seeking employment will be employed in the area of occupational therapy within 6 months of program completion.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students are prepared to

  1. Provide quality occupational therapy services in a variety of practice environments.
  2. Meet the demands of current and future practice.
  3. Demonstrate ethical reasoning, practice professional Code of Ethics, and professional integrity.
Course Registration and Advising

Once a student has declared the major of OTA, students are automatically assigned an advisor in the program. Advisors work with students regarding educational planning and directing students towards resources available in the program, the college and the profession. All OTA students are subject to the procedures of registration as published in the college catalog. A list of OTA classes will be provided to the registrar and students prior to enrollment. Students will work with their assigned advisor to register for classes. 

Transfer of Credit

Students must have achieved a grade of 2.0 in all transferring coursework that will be used for the AAS degree. Students may be asked to submit a syllabus of the transfer course(s) for comparison. Transfer coursework in the sciences (Anatomy and Physiology or Structure and Function of the Human Body) must have been completed in the past seven years. Exceptions to the “7 year rule” for transfer of credit may be granted upon written request of the student. These exceptions are granted under unique circumstances, including advanced study of subject matter or current substantial, related work experience. Students requesting an exception will be asked to demonstrate current proficiency in subject matter. 

Background Check

Background Check and Drug Testing

The OTA program requires background checks for admitted OTA program students, in order to verify an individual's suitability to participate in Level I and Level II fieldwork practicum experiences. Background checks help to ensure the safety of individuals and organizations with which the student comes in contact, as well as, protects fellow students from potential harms. Students who engage in any unlawful act jeopardizing their education or future ability to perform the essential work of an occupational therapy practitioner must immediately self-disclose this information to the OTA Program Director. The OTA program also requires drug testing for OTA students. Students will be required to complete a drug test prior to the start of fieldwork. A positive drug test for any substance which impairs the student’s ability to safely perform their work will result in disciplinary action, including the possibility of permanent dismissal from the OTA program.

Character Check and Felony Convictions

The National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) performs a brief character review of all certification applicants. This review “serves the public interest by screening illegal, unethical, and incompetent behaviors of individuals who are yet to be certified by NBCOT. To ensure that occupational therapy practitioners meet standards of professional conduct prior to entering the profession, all applicants for certification are required to provide information and documentation related to affirmative responses to character questions on the examination application” (NBCOT 2009). A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT examination or attain state licensure. The program is not responsible for any student who does not meet eligibility criteria to sit for NBCOT examination. For additional information, visit the NBCOT website.

Program Costs

Approximate Educational Costs – OTA Program

In addition to college fees, tuition, and costs associated with book and course supplies and materials, students who are accepted into the program must:

  • Pass a background check at the applicant’s expense.
  • Complete a healthcare provider CPR course and maintain certification throughout the program.
  • Submit documentation of required immunizations and tests (Hepatitis B, MMR, TB, flu, DPT, Polio, Varicella, TB test) or sign a waiver prior to fieldwork placement.
  • Purchase professional liability insurance through the college.
  • Incur the cost of Level I and Level II fieldwork associated expenses.
  • Become student members of the American Occupational Therapy Association and maintain membership throughout their course of study.
  • Incur the cost of sitting for the NBCOT examination.

College tuition and fees are established by the Board of Governors and may be subject to change

Estimated Costs of Program
Tuition and fees = 71 hours @ $94 per credit hour (in state)  $6,674 
 Books and printed materials  $2,000
 Professional liability insurances ($12 x 2 years, purchased by the college)  $24

Background Check

Drug Testing 



Professional AOTA Membership  $75 

NBCOT Examination (Taken after graduation)






 Immunizations (cost dependent on # of shots required)   varies
CPR (Healthcare Provider Level)   varies
Room and board (available at Hastings & Columbus campuses)   varies
Room and board for Level II fieldwork (individualized)   varies
 PAMS Certification  $100
Course Progression

Course Progression

This is an academically-challenging program, and students should anticipate engaging in critical and creative collaborativethinking processes and daily out-of-classroom graded homework assignments. A commitment to a full-time course of study with daily attendance is mandatory. Satisfactory completion of coursework is contingent on a student’s demonstrated ability of mastering subject material. Students are expected to successfully complete all coursework prior to attending Level II fieldwork. Both Level II fieldwork experiences must be completed within 12 months from the date of completion of the didactic portion of the OTA program.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Department oversees student progression requirements. A student must earn a minimal grade of “C” in all required coursework to continue to progress in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Failure in any Occupational Therapy Assistant program required course is defined as receiving a grade less than a “C.” Students may also be suspended from the program for violating the Occupational Therapy Code of Conduct, CCC Academic or Non-Academic Misconduct Policies, or community education site-specific codes of conduct. Students who fail a course in any semester will be required to retake any practicum preparation coursework occurring in that same semester to remain eligible for Level II fieldwork placement.

Occupational Therapy Assistant students who fail to complete coursework with a grade of “C” will be subject to the following procedures:

If a student fails an occupational therapy assistant required course, the student will be placed on academic probation. The student will have the opportunity to retake the course(s) one time only, as soon as possible based on available space. Upon successful completion of all failed coursework, the student will then progress to the next sequential semester. Failure to successfully pass any course when taken the second time will result in recommendation for academic suspension from the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. The student will not be eligible to reapply to the Occupational Therapy Assistant program for two years after the suspension date. The student may then reapply through the admissions office, meet eligibility criteria, and be placed in available seating at the beginning of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program to repeat all OTHA coursework. If the student fails two of the 100-level occupational therapy courses the first time taken, or two of the 200- level occupational therapy courses the first time taken, the student will be recommended for academic suspension from the program. The student will remain on academic suspension for a minimum of a full semester (summer session is included). The student may request readmission from academic suspension.

If the student fails three or more occupational therapy courses throughout the program, the student will be recommended for academic dismissal from the program. Any necessary dismissals are recommended by the occupational therapy departmentto the campus president for further action. The student will not be eligible to reapply to the occupational therapy program for 2 years after the academic dismissal date. The student may then reapply through the admissions office, meet eligibility criteria, and be placed in available seating at the beginning of the occupational therapy program to repeat all coursework. A subsequent failure in an occupational therapy course will result in recommendation for permanent dismissal from the occupational therapy program with no possibility of re-entry. If the student fails or does not complete a general education course that is required to be completed prior to or concurrently with the occupational therapy coursework, the student will be placed on academic probation and not be allowed to continue in the occupational therapy coursework until the course has been completed satisfactory.

A student may appeal an academic probation or suspension. The appeal must be in written form and be forwarded to the office of the campus president.


Grading Philosophy

Grades are a global representation of student learning throughout the semester. Formative feedback from instructors will be provided often, in order that grades reflect the student's educational status and achievement as accurately as possible. Students are encouraged to actively seek and use feedback for self-improvement. The focus is on the process of learning, not on competing for a grade. You will not jeopardize your own grades if you help other students or seek help with course work - in fact, encouraging and facilitating others' learning is inherent to constructivist education and an important demonstration of professionalism and citizenship, both valued components of the OTA Program at Central Community College and an important aspect of the OTA Curriculum Design. Because this is a professional program that carries with it many responsibilities to future clients and the profession, a letter grade of D is unacceptable. Students must pass all OTHA coursework with a letter grade of C or higher.

Grading Scale

A 93-100
B+ 89-92
B 85-88
C+ 81-84
C 77-80
D+ 73-76
D 69-72
F Below 68

Guidelines for Success

There are resources on campus, including instructors and your assigned advisor, which are available to assist you in being successful as a student in the program. Please be sure to ask questions, take responsibility for your own learning and seek out necessary resources to ensure your success. It is highly recommended to make an appointment with an instructor and/or advisor if you fail any assignment, quiz or exam. There is an Academic Success Center on campus, room 453. They offer a variety of services designated to help students improve grades. Tutoring is available at no cost. To assist students with concerns that would be best served by a counselor, the Central Community College student services division has a contractual relationship with Family Resource Center to provide some clinical counseling sessions for students at no cost. For more information, on all of the above, please do visit the college catalog.

Academic Honesty

Academic honesty is a core principle of learning and scholarship. When you violate this principle, you cheat yourself of the confidence that comes from knowing you have mastered the targeted skills and knowledge. You also hurt all members of the learning community by falsely presenting yourself as having command of competencies with which you are credited, thus degrading the credibility of the college, the program, and your fellow learners who hold the same credential.

All members of the learning community share an interest in protecting the value, integrity, and credibility of the outcomes of this learning experience. We also have the responsibility to censor behaviors that interfere with this effort. The following behaviors will be subject to disciplinary action:

  1. Plagiarism - presenting someone else's words, ideas, or data as your own work.
  2. Fabrication - using invented information or falsifying research or other findings.
  3. Cheating - misleading others to believe you have mastered competencies or other learning outcomes that you have not mastered. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • Copying from another learner's work.
    • Allowing another learner to copy from your work.
    • Using resource materials or information to complete an assessment without permission from your instructor.
    • Collaborating on an assessment (graded assignment or test) without permission from the instructor.
    • Taking a test for someone else or permitting someone else to take a test for you.

Academic Misconduct

Other academically dishonest acts such as tampering with grades, taking part in obtaining or distributing any part of an assessment, or selling or buying products such as papers, research, projects or other artifacts that document achievement of learning outcomes.

Independent Work

Periodically throughout the program you will be asked to participate in independent activities which may take several different forms, such as independent study, interactive instruction, laboratory exercises, research, internet exploration, and community participatory activities associated with Level I fieldwork experiences. These activities are an integral part of the total curriculum, but will have minimal instructor involvement. They provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to work independently to meet a designated goal as well as to show development in the various core abilities associated with the program.

Late Assignments

Assignments are due at the start of class. Any assignments not turned in at that time will be considered late. Late assignments will result in a 10% grade reduction after work is graded. Assignments not turned in within one week will be considered a 0%. It is your responsibility to communicate with your instructor regarding any late assignments.


As an adult learner you most likely have multiple roles and commitments to juggle. In addition to being a student, you may be an employee, a parent, a community leader, or a caregiver to a family member. If you are a full-time student, you are working to learn a wide variety of new skills and to meet the expectations for multiple courses. As your teachers, we, too, have many responsibilities and multiple roles. Therefore, we need to work together to accomplish the intended learning outcomes for this course. Responsible attendance means that you will plan your schedule so that you can be present for scheduled class sessions and manage your time so that you can complete your assignments and assessments on or before the date they are due. It is your responsibility as a student to email the instructor prior to being tardy or absent and make arrangements to make up your assignment(s) or class activities missed.

ADA Statement

If you have a disability that may prevent you from meeting course requirements, contact the instructor immediately to file a student disability statement and to develop an accommodation plan. Course requirements will not be waived, but reasonable accommodations will be developed to assist you in meeting the requirements. You are expected to work with the instructor and with a student service counselor to develop and implement a reasonable accommodation plan.

Essential Functions

Central Community College endorses the Americans’ with Disabilities Act. In accordance with Central Community College Policy, when requested, reasonable accommodations may be provided for individuals with disabilities. The essential functions below are necessary for Occupational Therapy Assistant program admission, progression, and graduation and for the provision of safe and effective occupational therapy assistant treatment and intervention. The essential functions include but are not limited to the ability to:

Professional Behavior
  1. Convey caring, respect, sensitivity, tact, compassion, empathy, tolerance, and a healthy attitude toward others
  2. Demonstrate a mentally healthy attitude that is age- appropriate in relationship to the client
  3. Handle multiple tasks concurrently
  4. Safely perform effective occupational therapy assistant treatment and intervention for clients in a caring context
  5. Understand that posing a direct threat to others is unacceptable and subjects one to discipline
  6. Not to pose a threat to self or others
  7. Function effectively in situations of uncertainty and stress inherent in providing occupational therapy assistant treatment and intervention
  8. Adapt to changing environments and situations
  9. Remain free of prescription, non-prescription or alcohol abuse
  10. Provide occupational therapy assistant care in an appropriate time frame
  11. Accept responsibility, accountability, and ownership of one's actions
  12. Seek supervision/consultation in a timely manner
  13. Examine and modify one's own behavior when it interferes with occupational therapy assistant treatment and intervention or learning
Cognitive/Critical Thinking
  1. Consistently and dependably engage in the process of critical thinking in order to formulate and implement safe and ethical decisions in a variety of health care settings
  2. Demonstrate satisfactory performance on written and practical examinations and/or course assignments
  3. Satisfactorily achieve the program objectives
Communication/Interpersonal Relationships
  1. Engage in two-way communication and interact effectively with others from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds
  2. Work effectively in groups
  3. Work effectively independently
  4. Discern and interpret nonverbal communication
  5. Express one's ideas and feelings clearly
  6. Communicate with others accurately in a timely manner
  7. Obtain and share information and communications via technology
  8. Effectively read, write, and comprehend the English language
  9. Ask for and receive advice during times of uncertainty
  1. Detect hazards in the environment
  2. Respond rapidly to emergency situations putting client safety first
Safety Policy and Procedures

General Laboratory and Safety Policies and Procedures

The personal safety and health of everyone in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program is of primary importance. This policy will be reviewed and re-evaluated annually to ensure that safety guidelines are being met.

Anyone seeing unsafe conditions must report it immediately to a staff member. In the event of a safety incident, a thorough investigation will be made to determine the cause and if corrective action needs to be taken, even if no injury or illness resulted from the incident.

In the laboratory, students will use a variety of different materials and will be responsible for familiarizing themselves with the MSDS and other safety information about supplies and equipment used. Students will be responsible for maintaining safe work areas and following all safety procedures. Learning activities for these policies will be gone over in each course. Students are required to read this manual and go over college safety materials at the new student orientation. After the training, students will sign the policy page and return it to the OTA Department where it will be kept in each student’s individual file.

Self-Disclosure of Student Conditions

Students are encouraged to disclose any allergies or medical conditions that may be aggravated by using chemicals and doing lab work.

Restricted Access to Laboratories

Only those students who are registered in an OTA laboratory course are allowed in the lab. Visitors and children are required to have special permission to be in the lab because of the risk of injury. OTA students may do presentations in the lab, during which time visitors will be allowed with faculty approval and/or supervision.

Dress Code

Students should dress comfortable to participate in their lab and occupation-based activities. They should not wear jewelry, etc., as this could cause potential problems for their safety and others safety. Open-toed shoes and sandals will be prohibited in the lab. If hair is longer than shoulder length, it needs to be tied back at all times.

Personal Protective Equipment

Students will be required to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for personal protective equipment found in the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the product in use. At a minimum, students will be required to wear gloves when handling any hazardous materials. Protective eyewear: impact safety glasses will need to be worn when operating power tools such as the saw and drill. Chemical splash goggles will be worn when there is any danger which could result in liquid splashes to the eye that might not be prevented by safety glasses (even with side shields.

First-Aid Kits

A first-aid kit is located above the sink in Room 905, the Lab Area. The kit will be used to treat minor injuries. Medical treatment or consultation may be obtained by anyone receiving injuries.

The Course Instructor should be notified of any injuries, including minor ones, so an accident/injury report can be filled out. The report will be kept on file in the OTA Department office, the college business office, and a copy will be kept in the student’s file. Minor injuries may indicate a situation that needs corrected, so all accidents/injuries will be investigated.

The location and phone number of emergency services and the Poison Control Center (1-800-522-4611) are clearly posted on the cabinet door. The OTA Administrative Assistant is responsible for maintaining the first-aid kit(s). A log is attached to the kit indicating the last inspection date. It should include items such as Band-aids®, sterile gauze pads, bandages, scissors, antiseptic wipes or ointments, and a first aid card. All kits should also contain examination gloves for response to emergencies where blood is present.

Chemical Inventory

A chemical inventory list of all products will be kept inside the flammables’ storage cabinet, and a second copy will be kept in the OTA program office.

Chemical Safety Information

All chemicals not in use shall be properly stored. All flammable chemicals shall be stored in the flammable cabinet.

Location of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

Safety information sheets related to all hazardous chemicals are located in the MSDS Laboratory Safety Manual. This manual is to at all times be kept on the counter next to the sink in the OTA Lab. Information sheets will be added for all newly purchased supplies stored in the laboratory area. The OTA Administrative Assistant will review the manual quarterly to assure that MSDS safety sheets are current and up-to-date.

Emergency Evacuation Procedures

Classroom Emergency Procedures

Faculty members need to remain calm and give clear instructions during an evacuation. Emergency evacuation procedures will be posted in the facility, and all faculty members will be familiar with these plans to ensure an orderly and safe evacuation. The procedures will be gone over during safety training. Everyone should know how to report an emergency. Persons with special needs should have the information they need to deal with the situation at hand.

Building Evacuation

Floor plans are posted in all college buildings on the Grand Island campus showing specific building evacuation routes. If you are notified to evacuate the building or an alarm is sounded, please proceed to the nearest exit.

After leaving the building, everyone should maintain a safe distance from the affected building and keep out of the way of emergency personnel. The designated assemble area for the OTA Department is the entrance to the main campus building across from the south OTA door of the CIT building. After everyone has assembled, a faculty member will take roll call to be sure everyone is accounted for and out of the building. If someone is missing, the faculty member will report this immediately to emergency personnel.

Persons with a disability or medical condition may not be able to evacuate without special assistance. Students should inform their instructors in advance of any special needs that may be necessary during an emergency situation. OTA faculty and staff will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided with assistance during an emergency situation.

Fire Safety Procedures

  1. If you discover a fire or smoke, sound the building fire alarm. Know the location of the alarm signal stations and how they operate. Activate the fire alarm immediately.
  2. Notify the Fire Department when an alarm is transmitted by dialing 911.
  3. WHEN THE FIRE ALARM SOUNDS, LEAVE AT ONCE. Close the doors behind you and proceed into the fire exit and LEAVE THE BUILDING.
  4. Feel the door that leads from the office or classroom to the corridor before opening it. If it is hot or smoke is seeping in, do not open. If you cannot reach the fire exit, keep the door closed and seal off any cracks. Use the telephone to call the Fire Department by dialing 911 and give the address of the building and the office/room number.
  5. If the door feels cool, open cautiously. Be prepared to close it quickly if the corridor is filled with smoke or if you feel heat pressure against the door. If the corridor is clear, proceed with the building evacuation instructions.
  6. If caught in smoke or heat, stay low where the air is better. Take short breaths through your nose until you reach an area of refuge.

An “all clear” will be given by the local fire department. Students should not re-enter the building until instructed to do so by appropriate college personnel.

Hazardous Materials Procedure

Central Community College has a Chemical Hygiene Plan that students are required to follow and is posted in the lab. The OTA safety guidelines are in addition to all college policies.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Laboratory does not currently use any radioactive or biological materials.

A spill or release of chemicals inside a building or the environment may be a hazardous materials incident. Users may manage simple spills. Major spills or emergencies require emergency assistance from the fire department or a Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) Team. In the event of a major chemical spill or if a chemical spill is beyond the expertise of the instructor to remediate, notify the local fire department by dialing 911.

Simple Spill Major Spill or Emergency
Does not spread rapidly. Spreads rapidly.
Does not endanger people. Endangers people
Does not endanger environment. Endangers environment.
Trained individual can clean up. Must call 911.

For major spills, notify emergency personnel about the type(s) of materials involved and any other information that may be prudent. Evacuate the area and assemble at a safe distance – upwind. Make sure everyone is accounted for and wait for emergency personnel.

Explosion Procedures

An explosion is caused by a rapid expansion of gas from chemical reactions or incendiary devices. Signs of an explosion may be a very loud noise or series of noises and vibrations, fire, heat or smoke, falling glass or debris, or building damage.

Get out of the building as quickly and calmly as possible and call 911. If items are falling from the ceiling, you can seek shelter under a sturdy table or desk. Help others leave the building and move to designated evacuation areas if required. Make sure to stay clear of emergency vehicles and crews. Untrained persons should not attempt to rescue people who are inside a collapsed building—wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Persons with mobility problems should go to an area of safety and wait for emergency personnel.

Violent Incident Procedures

Violent incidents may include acts of terrorism, assaults, and incidents of workplace violence. Emergency situations should be reported to the police (call 911) and college personnel (dial 0).

If you observe any criminal activity or suspicious behavior on campus, immediately notify the police (911) from a safe location. Report as much information as possible, including:

  • What the person(s) is/are doing,
  • Where it is happening,
  • Whether weapons are involved, and if so, what type,
  • A physical description of the person(s) involved and their clothing,
  • A vehicle description and license number and the direction of travel when last seen.

Stay on the phone with the police dispatcher and provide additional information as the situation changes until the police arrive at your location. If you believe your life is in danger, attempt to leave the area and find a safe place until help arrives. Do not approach or attempt to apprehend the person(s) involved.

Universal Precautions For School Setting

Central Community College has adopted a “Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan” in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1030. Visit the Infectious Disease and Aids page for more information.

"Universal precautions," as defined by CDC, “are a set of precautions designed to prevent transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and other bloodborne pathogens when providing first aid or health care. Under universal precautions, blood and certain body fluids of all patients are considered potentially infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens.” (CDC, 1996). Universal precautions refer to the usual and ordinary steps all school staff and students need to take in order to reduce their risk of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, as well as all other blood-borne organisms (such as Hepatitis B virus). These steps are universal because they need to be taken in all cases, not just when a staff member or a student is now to have HIV. They are precautions because they require foresight and planning and should be integrated into existing safety guidelines.

Areas contaminated with blood or body fluids will be cleaned by properly trained personnel in accordance with the guidelines set forth in CCC’s “Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan.” Students should make the instructor aware of any blood/body fluid contamination immediately. Hands or other skin surfaces will be washed immediately if contaminated with blood or other body fluids. Gloves will be worn when touching blood or other body fluids, mucus membranes, nonintact skin, or handling items or surfaces soiled with blood or other body fluids.

Gloves will be disposed of after a single use. Hands will be washed immediately upon glove removal.

If it is anticipated droplets of blood or any body fluids may come in contact with the mucus membranes of the employee’s eyes, nose, or mouth, he/she will wear protective equipment (i.e., goggles or face shield).

Contaminated items should be placed in red bags marked with bio-hazard indicator and secured. Biohazardous waste bags must be red in color and labeled with either the words “Biohazardous Waste,” or with a biohazard symbol and the work “Biohazard.” These bags must be disposable and impervious to moisture and have strength sufficient to preclude ripping, tearing, or bursting under normal conditions of usage and handling.

Specific Modalities/Supplies Safety Procedures

All supplies and devices are not used every day. Equipment will be inspected and cleaned according to the manufacturer’s guidelines before and after use by faculty, staff, and students. These guidelines are kept in a file cabinet in Room 909 by the OTA Program Administrative Assistant. Equipment of electrical nature will be stored in the lab and inspected for safety and certified by a Certified Electrical Technician annually. There will be dates of inspection stickers on the equipment, and documentation will be kept in Room 909 by the Administrative Assistant. Equipment is stored in a cabinet or closet at the end of the class, and the lab door is locked when no one is in the area. Damaged equipment should be tagged and reported to OTA faculty immediately. Faculty shall clean, disinfect, and store equipment after its use. Appropriate cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment available in the laboratory.

Paraffin Machine

When the paraffin is used, the temperature will be 125-130 degrees and cleaned weekly according to manufacturer’s instructions.


The temperature of the hydrocollator will be 160-175 degrees. It should be cleaned monthly.

Cold Packs

Cold packs should be 23 degrees. These and hotpacks should be thrown away if there are tears or leaks.

Suspended Pediatric Equipment

A variety of swings, bolster, platform, etc. are used to demonstrate pediatric and sensory-based treatments. Hazards associated with swings include back, neck, and shoulder injury due to poor body mechanics or awkward movements; potential dizziness, nausea, or vomiting due to movement; injury to client falling off swing or losing balance; injury to people in the path of the swing. The following safety precautions shall be followed when using swings: ensure protective padding on floor under swings and cushioning surrounding potential nearby hazards; ensure appropriate set-up of swings before proceeding with activity; provide proper support to participant on swing; identify a clear safety area for observing use of swing, while staying out of swing path.

Craft Supplies

Water-based paints include watercolor, acrylic and tempera. Water is used for thinning and cleanup. There are hazards associated with water-based paints. Acrylic paints contain a small amount of ammonia, so some sensitive people may experience eye, nose, and throat irritation from the ammonia. Acrylics contain a very small amount of formaldehyde as a preservative. People already sensitized to formaldehyde may experience allergic reactions from the trace amount of formaldehyde found in acrylics. The following safety precautions shall be followed when working with water-based paints: open a window while using acrylic paints; never use lips to point the end of the paintbrush; and eating, smoking, and drinking are prohibited in the lab while art materials are being used.

Dry Drawing Media

Dry drawing media includes dust-creating materials (charcoal, pastels, chalk, and pencils) and media that do not create dust (like crayons and oil pastels). There are hazards associated with dry drawing media.

Charcoal is considered a hazard because of dust. The dust, if inhaled in large amounts, can lead to chronic lung problems through an irritation and clogging effect. Do not blow excess charcoal dust off a drawing as this is a major source of charcoal inhalation. Colored chalks are considered the same as charcoal, and some are dustier than others. Anyone with asthma may have trouble with dusty chalks.

Pastel sticks and pencils consist of pigments bound into solid form by a resin. Inhalation of pastel dusts is a major hazard, especially if blowing excess pastel dust off the drawing. Pastels may contain toxic pigments such as chrome yellow (lead chromate), which can cause lung cancer, and cadmium pigments which can cause kidney and lung damage and are suspect human carcinogens.

The following safety precautions will be followed when working with dry drawing media: use the least dusty types of pastels, chalks, and pencils; switch to oil pastels or similar non-dusty media when possible; do not blow off excess pastel or charcoal dust with your mouth (tap off the built up dust so it falls to the floor); wet-mop and wet-wipe all surfaces clean of dusts; and a mask can be worn for protection from inhalation of dusts.


Glues used for joining wood include white glue and wood glue. Hazards associated with glue include: water-based glues, white glue (polyvinyl acetate), and other water-based adhesives are slightly toxic through skin contact and only slightly toxic through inhalation or ingestion.

The following safety precautions shall be followed when gluing wood: use water-based glues for craft projects and provide window ventilation when large amounts of glue are used.

Policy for Pediatric Lab

Cleaning Toys

Toys will be cleaned after each individual child has used a toy, particularly toys used by infants and toddlers.

Small plastic toys with no batteries will either be run through the dishwasher or scrubbed with a clean rag in soapy water, rinsed, sanitized by dipping in diluted bleach (1/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water), stickers on the toy dried with a clean towel, and the toy allowed to air-dry. Non-toxic sanitizer may also be used.

Toys with batteries will be sprayed with canned air to dislodge debris, cleaned on the outside with soapy water and clean water, wiped with the diluted bleach solution, and allowed to air-dry. Another method that may be used is putting a few drops of antibacterial soap in very warm water and adding one to two tablespoons of white vinegar. Mix up mixture with rag, wring out rag, and wipe the surface of toys, rub over keys and buttons, dry stickers with a clean towel, and allow the toy to air-dry. Non-toxic sanitizer may also be used.

Large plastic, metal, or wooden toys and equipment are to be cleaned on the surface with soap and water, wiped with bleach solution, stickers dried with a clean towel, and allowed to air-dry. Non-toxic sanitizer may also be used.

Fabric toys and equipment should be washed in the laundry in laundry soap and hot water.

Actions in the Pediatric Lab

General safety precautions will be followed when anyone is in the Pediatric Lab. No unnecessary risks or play tactics will be used by anyone in the Pediatric Lab to ensure the safety of everyone.

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Grant funding supported by the Administration for Children and Families and contents are solely the responsibility of the authors.