Occupational Therapy / Physiotherapy Assistant

Work directly with clients providing hands-on treatment to improve their quality of life and ability to perform daily activities.

Start Date:
2 Years
Full-time (In-class)
+Locations & Availability
September 2017 Cumberland Campus • Springhill • Seats available New applications may be waitlisted until {0} 20{1}. September 2018 Lunenburg Campus • Bridgewater • Seats available New applications may be waitlisted until {0} 20{1}.

Program Overview

Would you enjoy working with clients as they adjust to or recover from health changes? Do you see yourself as part of a team helping to meet the growing needs for rehabilitation based on Nova Scotia's aging population and prevalence of chronic illness?

As a collaborative member of the healthcare team, the Occupational Therapy Assistant-Physiotherapy Assistant (OTA-PTA) performs occupational therapy and physiotherapy interventions for clients with mental and physical conditions, under the direction of a Physiotherapist or an Occupational Therapist. They have direct contact with clients, with hands-on intervention targeted to improve clients' quality of life and their ability to perform activities of daily living. Aside from direct client-care skills, the OTA-PTA is responsible for managing client treatment areas and equipment procurement.

In this program, you learn the theory behind the practice of occupational therapy and physiotherapy and have an opportunity to apply your knowledge through clinical experiences and practicums. You learn to teach and enable clients and families to effectively cope with limitations in movement, daily functioning and activities (temporary or permanent) during and following recovery.

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Admission Requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent, including Grade 12 Academic English and Biology and one additional Grade 12 Academic Science (Chemistry or Physics).
  • If you do not have the required academic credits, NSCC offers a variety of credit courses through the Academic & Career Connections program.

Program Requirements

  • A current, official Criminal Record check and Vulnerable Sector check are required to complete work placements in this program. A conviction or finding may impact your ability to complete program requirements. Information on this process will be provided at the beginning of your program. Current immunizations may also be required.
  • Health & Human Services programs have additional requirements including immunizations and completion of first aid/CPR. You must submit documentation that you have completed these requirements at the beginning of your program. – Health & Human Services Additional Program Requirements (PDF 68KB).

Choose NSCC

  • This program is structured to provide cross-training, at the assistive level, in both the occupational therapy and physiotherapy disciplines.
  • You collaborate and interact with students in other related health and human service fields, fostering a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to client-centred care. Graduates will work collaboratively with Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, as well as other health care professionals, to improve the health and quality of life for Nova Scotians. The program’s mission is, through quality education, to provide learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide safe, competent and ethical care within the OTA-PTA scope of practice.
  • The Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Assistant Program at Nova Scotia Community College – Cumberland Campus 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.
  • Continue your studies at university. This program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more.

Employment Opportunities

  • Private and public sector: district health authorities, long-term care facilities, community settings and private clinics.

Other Info

  • Many employers in this sector require one or all of the following as part of the hiring process: current, official Criminal Record check, Vulnerable Sector check and/or Child Abuse Register search. A conviction or finding may impact your ability to secure employment.
  • Alternate Intake – This program is not offered each year. Check program locations for upcoming start dates.
  • Students with physical impairments (restrictions of lifting, mobility, etc.) should discuss their condition with their physician before pursuing a career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant-Physiotherapy Assistant. The physical ability to work with clients who are restricted in their own mobility and require physical assistance is essential for working in many clinical settings.
  • You participate in practicum placements in public and/or private clinics within the province.
  • Students are not guaranteed placements of their choice and may be required to complete a placement in communities throughout the province.
  • During the clinical training, students may be scheduled for some evening and/or weekend shifts.
  • Application of knowledge and skills during OTA-PTA clinical placements may take place in a variety of settings including medical-surgical, geriatric, pediatrics, mental health, community care and home care.
  • Students are required to provide their own transportation to clinical sites and may be required to find accommodation during some portions of clinical placement.

Courses May Include

Course descriptions
Code Course
ANAP 1008   Anatomy and Physiology for Rehabilitation
ANAP 2011   Functional Anatomy
GDEV 1005   Growth and Development
HCOM 1050   Writing Skills for Health and Human Service Practice
HCOM 2022   Health Information Literacy and Research Skills
OTPT 1000   Health Promotion and Exercise
OTPT 1010   Introduction to Rehabilitation
OTPT 1011   Human Relations
OTPT 1020   Enabling Occupations
OTPT 2000   Movement and Mobility
OTPT 2001   Musculoskeletal Conditions in Rehabilitation
OTPT 2003   Occupational Therapy Interventions in Mental Health
OTPT 2004   Cardio-Pulmonary and Vascular Conditions in Rehabilitation
OTPT 2025   Neurological Conditions in Rehabilitation
OTPT 2050   Clinical Practicum I
OTPT 3005   Physical Agents in Rehabilitation
OTPT 3006   Community Health
OTPT 3007   Rehabilitation in Special Populations
OTPT 3010   Professional Practice
OTPT 3050   Clinical Practicum II
OTPT 4050   Clinical Practicum III
OTPT 4060   Clinical Internship
SAFE 1000   Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
SAFE 1001   Introduction to NS OH&S Act
SOCS 2002   Mental Health Issues

Additional Graduation Requirements

Immunization form Completion
Nonviolent Crisis Intervention
Portfolio Development
Standard First Aid, CPR Level C

Next Steps

  1. 1

    Visit NSCC

    Visit NSCC » Campus Tour
  2. 2

    Application Process

    Who Can ApplyHow to Apply
  3. 3
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