The philosophy of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is based in the Philosophical base of Occupational Therapy (AOTA, 2011). As presented in this document “Occupations are activities that bring meaning to the daily lives of individuals, families, and communities and enable them to participate in society”. Occupational therapy, as a profession, primarily attends to the need to engage in meaningful occupations as a foundation for social participation. Participation reflects the ways that occupations and contexts interact with the person characteristics. This dynamic interaction reveals the quality and appropriateness of occupational performance.
Occupations are essential for live and for the human being development. It is our understanding that the worth of occupations to the humankind is extraordinary: from the subsistence and survival needs to the most sophisticated accomplishments, occupations are critical. The beliefs about occupations and their significance for the humankind are the core of our philosophy. As educators and practitioners we held the following beliefs regarding occupations, the human being and learning:
Occupation is a complex construct that possess personal, social, cultural and contextual determinants. Human performance of occupations is explained by all these interfaces. We firmly visualize occupations as the means for social participation at the person, family, environmental, community and social levels. Occupations, in order to be named as occupations, are meaningful, significant and culturally pertinent. Human development, when view in the context of occupations, is determined and enriched by the performance of occupations. Developmental milestones and outcomes are strengthened through occupational performance and adaptation in each developmental stage. Performance of occupations promotes and enhances learning, motivation, adaptation and allows the person to explore new avenues and developmental pathways through the lifetime. Human qualities such as resiliency, self-efficacy, self-esteem and optimism are enriched by their performance in occupations. Dignity, competency, independence and worth are values inherent to the meaning and doing of occupations. Pursuing significant and successful occupations elicit development of routines and habits in addition to promote healthy client factors performance.
From an occupational therapy point of view, concerns arise when the person cannot fully occupationally participate in society due to a variety of situations: diseases, sickness, lack of social opportunities, occupational deprivation and economic limitations. The occupational therapy professionals have the social responsibility and mission to study the consequences of this occupational “emptiness” and to propose alternatives to support occupational performance, performance skills, patterns and human factors. In this sense, we stand for the health enhancing qualities of occupations and with their view as health determinants. Occupations and activities are “therapy” by themselves, but are also applied as “media” to obtain health outcomes and adaptations in the human being. This therapeutic value can be applied to facilitate function, improve quality of life, remediate or restore capabilities and to learn compensatory strategies. We believe in the therapeutic use of occupations as well as its value to prevent, maintain and improve health wellness.
The human being
It is our believe that a human being is an active entity capable of performing occupations in a manner that promotes health and well-being as described in the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process. Likewise, the person is capable of continued learning, growth and change even during the presence of adverse circumstances. Through active participation in all occupational areas, the person will maintain a degree of independence that will allow them to feel satisfied and competent.
Several forces explain the challenges for individuals and communities in the 21st. century: historical, social, cultural, physical, psychological, political, economic, ecological, and spiritual dimensions are important, to name a few. Despite these forces, people relentlessly pursuit meaningful occupations, activities, and roles that make them reach to their highest potential and hopes.
Furthermore, human beings should be seen as holistic. For us this means that the person is more than the sum of its parts (Aristotle): body, mind and spirit. Social, spiritual and transcendental values are vital to achieve adaptation when facing challenges such as sickness, trauma, poverty, violence and others that are threats to a healthy occupational development. Each person in the course of their development acquires values, capacities, abilities and skills that convey their dignity and worth. The human being learns, makes decisions, changes, influences, and is influenced, by their contexts, demonstrating resiliency through the performance of occupations. The person is capable of acquiring or re-learning repertoires of adapted behaviors and to approach life with a positive outlook.
In conclusion, each person performs their occupations in “unique” ways. These “ways of performing” are a reflection of their histories, challenges, social and economic opportunities as well as deprivations.
The Program’s view and understanding of learning and education are grounded in our philosophy regarding occupations and the human being. The ultimate goal of education of occupational therapy practitioners is the development of competent, caring, compassionate and well-rounded assistants. Learning and teaching are the media to attain that goal.
A spontaneous motivation for learning is observed once the students are admitted to our Program. The teaching learning environment provided by the faculty and fostered by the institutional context, builds upon this motivation. We believe that learning is a dynamic and complex process influenced by many intrinsic and extrinsic factors. From an individual standpoint, their learning process and style is influenced by their age, motivation, personality, emotional development, study habits, intellectual abilities, life experiences and other aspects that define a person as a whole. From a contextual perspective we recognize that the teaching styles, physical facilities, technological opportunities and virtual environments, educational strategies and methods contribute to learning effectiveness and meaningfulness.
Learning is gradually achieved during the teaching process, and beyond, when the individual and context factors are considered.
This speaks about the complexity of the human being and its learning process and outcomes.
Active participation by the students during laboratories and classes as well as the faculty dedication to support their learning process through care and trust, are also values included in our view of learning. Reflection about their own learning experiences and about “their continually being” occupational therapy assistants are also present as important elements in the curriculum. Laboratory experiences and early Fieldwork Level I experiences are examples of the ways we encourage “hands on” knowledge. We also believe in the values of service learning as the way to promote in the students commitment with community needs. All these features result in students who inquire and are increasingly reflective during their academic progress.
The revised Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains is the general framework used as guidance in the identification of learning objectives and course requirements. This framework provides support to the faculty when analyzing the complexity of course content to achieve higher learning levels and when making decisions about curricular changes. Constant challenges to the application of this learning philosophy are new knowledge supporting occupations, teaching evidence that validates practice, alternative ways to learn values and professional development and continuous competence for an ethical practice. The use of technology is fused through the curriculum as a learning tool that contributes in their life-long learning.
The Program approaches the development of professional behaviors as attitudes that can be learned and gradually become student’s natural responses. Learning initiatives proposed by them are respected and encouraged as well as their problem solving skills.
Multiple educational strategies and techniques are used by the faculty to achieve this learning philosophy and to address student needs. Some of the strategies used are lectures, active discussions, demonstrations, laboratories, portfolios and self-directed learning projects.
Occupational Therapy Program Mission:
The mission of the Associate Degree in Occupational Therapy Program is to offer an entry level educational program that will prepare occupational therapy assistants capable of efficiently delivering services and to make contributions to the health, wellbeing and quality of life of those needing occupational therapy. These practitioners will be able to provide their services to the Puerto Rican community and beyond, in a variety of health, education and human service systems, recognizing human diversity. The pursuit of excellence and the importance of serving persons of all ages and occupational needs through participation in significant occupations are important values of this undertaking.
Program Learning Outcomes
The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program aims to Educate Occupational Therapy Assistants who demonstrate the following learning outcomes, after finishing all courses and fieldwork experiences:
Practice the entry level occupational therapy assistant role and responsibilities as appropriate to practice standards and to different service scenarios regulations.
Value the foundational content, basic
professional beliefs and theories / frames of reference
needed to competently perform their role.
In accordance with this role and responsibilities, provide assessment and intervention services implementing the occupational therapy process in a safe, ethical and collaborative approach, to a diverse clientele.
Utilize occupations as presented in the domain and process of the OTPF and in the professional frames of reference, both during assessment and intervention.
Apply clinical thinking processes during their use of the OTPF as a guide for their practice.
Support occupational services through the use of management and documentation skills according to the different contexts and systems offering occupational therapy.
Apply legal, ethical and professional behaviors consistent with different professional documents.
Demonstrate responsibility, initiative,
leadership, and adequate interaction as a member of a health
care team under the direction and supervision of an
occupational therapy practitioner.
Demonstrate sensitivity and awareness
of individual and cultural differences when delivering
services, providing emotional and psychosocial support to
clients and family members.
Demonstrate collaboration skills with the occupational therapy personnel, the client and family and with team members.
Recognize the value of keeping abreast for their competence as practitioners in the field of occupational therapy and in technological advancements.
Participate in educating patients and caregivers responsibly.
Understand evidence based practice and the use of professional literature for the betterment of the clients which they serve.
Demonstrate effective appropriate verbal, non-verbal, and written communication skills with patients, family members, colleagues and health care team members.
Demonstrate the application of skills and concepts of the Program by passing satisfactorily the Occupational Therapy Assistant local board exam.
1.Comply with the admissions requirements established in the
General Catalog and by the corresponding campus.
2.To be admitted to the Program, candidates must:
Have a minimum grade point index 2.50.
3. To be admitted to a clinical practice agency, the following
A recent certificate of no criminal record issued recently by
the Puerto Rico Police Department.
A health certificate valid for one year issued by the Health
Evidence of vaccination against Hepatitis B.
Undergraduate Admission Procedures
Applicants for admission to any campus of Inter American
University of Puerto Rico must:
Obtain an application for admission from the Admissions
Office of the Campus of their choice or from high school
advisors or other authorized personnel. Application forms
are also available through the Internet.
Submit the completed application to the Admissions Office of
the chosen Campus, preferably by May 1, to apply for the
fall semester, by November 15 to apply for the spring
semester and by April 15 to apply for the summer session.
Students in their fourth year of high school are advised to
submit the application as soon as they decide to study at
this University. By applying before May, they will be able
to receive greater orientation about the University and its
financial aid programs.
*For the Occupational Therapy Program, the application due date is the first Friday of March, each year; and it is considered for the fall semester (August). Our program has admissions once a year and beginning classes in August.
Arrange for a transcript of the high school record to be
sent by an authorized representative of the secondary school
to the appropriate Admissions Office.
Arrange for the CEO test results to be sent to the
appropriate Admissions Office.
Submit an updated
certificate of vaccination if the student is less than 21
years old, except students interested in taking courses in
other countries through distance learning. Final decisions
regarding applications will normally reach the applicant no
later than three weeks after all application materials have
been received by the University. If for any reason the
University requires more time, the applicant will be
notified. A personal interview of an applicant for admission
may be required.
Meet all the academic progress norms established in the
Pass all major courses with a minimum grade of C.
Students who fail on two occasions in a same major course
will be placed on probation in the Occupational Therapy
failing during the probation period in the same course will
be dropped from the Program.
Level II Fieldwork is an integral part of the program and is required to successfully complete the program. Students must complete Level II Fieldwork within 15 months of effectively completing the didactic portion of the program. Level II Fieldwork must be completed concurrently with OCTH 2975 – Integrated Seminar.
The minimum grade point average (GPA) required to remain in the program is 2.00 or better in each semester, and cumulatively throughout the program.
1.Comply with the admissions requirements for transfer students
established in the General Catalog and by the corresponding
2.Admission of transfer students to the Program or to take courses
of the major with combined registration requires the previous
authorization of both Program Coordinator and the Division
If the student leaves the program after
the second year second semester (prior to OCTH 2922 – Fieldwork
II), the student will have a period of one years to return to
the Program without academic penalty. If the student returns
after that period of time, the student may have to repeat some
courses or take a
series of exams or remediative courses as determined by the OTA
Having an Institution free of discrimination is at the core of
our value system as stated on our mission statement which reads:
“Inter American University of Puerto Rico Institution
(UIAPR)-Wide Mission- Developing the talents of men and women,
regardless of race, color, creed, sex, age or nationality is
IAUPR's main purpose. The Campuses offer diversified programs
including, but not limited to, a liberal undergraduate education
as well as graduate, professional and occupational programs
leading to the degrees, diplomas and certificates usually
granted by higher education institutions.”
The Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Ponce Campus
strives to have an admissions process that does not discriminate
in any manner against any applicant.
To complete requirements for graduation with an Associate Degree
from Inter American University, students must:
1.Complete satisfactorily a minimum of 52 academic credits.
Complete the General Education academic requirements and those
specified in the program for the Associate Degree for which they
Achieve an overall grade point index of 2.00 or higher.
4.Achieve a cumulative grade point index of 2.00 or higher in the
5.Complete satisfactorily no less than one-third of all the
credits required for the degree at Inter American University.Credits obtained by Proficiency Examinations will not
count toward this requirement.
6.Complete satisfactorily at Inter American University no less
than one-third of all course credits required for the degree.
All practicing Occupational Therapy Assistant are required to
pass the Puerto Rico licensing exam or the NBCOT.
A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for
the NBCOT certification examination or to attain state licensure
exam. Information on the guidelines for felony convictions can
be provided by the PR Board of Occupational Therapy at (787)
753-4099 or found under Publications “disciplinary actions” at
OTA’S Licensing Exam Pass Rate
Number of Graduates
New Graduates who took the JETOPR test for
the first and second time
Takers who passed the JETOPR in the
Prof. Iraida Oquendo is our Program Coordinator. She obtained a
Bachelor degree in Occupational Therapy Sciences
at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus on May
1999. In 2006, Oquendo completed a
Masters degree in Marriage and Family Counseling of the
University of Phoenix Puerto Rico Campus. She is a
licensed Occupational Therapist in Puerto Rico, and has worked
in a variety of settings building thirteen years of clinical and
Prof. Heydi Colón is the designated Fieldwork Coordinator. She
obtained her Bachelor degree in Occupational Therapy at the
University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus on May 1998.
In June 2005, Prof. Colón completed her Master degree in Early
Intervention Education 0-4 from Inter American University
She is an active clinician licensed by the Puerto Rico
Occupational Therapist Board. Prof. Colón has fourteen years of
clinical experience in different clinical settings including
pediatrics, school and
Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. Students must complete Level II fieldwork within 15 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.