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Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant Diploma

Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant Diploma - students in classroom

2 years

-Main Campus
The Program

The program prepares the graduate to become an Occupational and/or Physical Therapist Assistant and is delivered over five academic terms. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to work as an Occupational and/or Physical Therapist Assistant. Program outcomes are designed to enable successful transition to the role of the Occupational and/or Physical Therapist Assistant, assisting students to:

  • Apply a variety of communication strategies to effectively and respectfully build positive relationships through verbal, nonverbal, written and technological means with clients, families, care providers, and other stakeholders
  • Establish positive, effective, and collaborative relationships with an inter-professional team and others to achieve optimal client care.
  • Manage time and prioritize competing priorities in collaboration with occupational therapists, physical therapists and support the delivery of effective and efficient practice
  • Responsibly advocate, encourage change, and promote the health and well-being of clients, communities, and populations, while applying knowledge and influence within the OTA/PTA role
  • Maintain, enhance and share knowledge, skills and attitude through self-reflective practice, relevant goal setting, networking, quality improvement, self-care, and self-directed learning to continue to be lifelong learners
  • Practice in a legal, ethical and professional manner demonstrating conduct that meets expectations of members of society and the profession.
  • Perform responsibly and effectively through application of evidence-based disciplinary knowledge contributing to the development, implementation and modification of treatment plans while under the supervision and in collaboration with the occupational and/or physical therapist
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to the individual’s culture, diversity, and abilities by establishing, developing, fostering, maintaining and bringing closure to client-centered, positive therapeutic relationships
  • Collect, document and complete client records in a thorough, objective, accurate, confidential, and nonjudgmental manner. Through effective interpretation and communication of this data, students will participate in determining client progress toward specific outcomes as established in the plan of care by the Occupational Therapist and/or Physical Therapist
  • Recognize and apply principles that support safety in the workplace and adhere to all guidelines, procedures, protocols and standards to ensure personal safety and contribute to the safety of others

Note: The Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Red Deer 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 November 30, 2020 for the period until November 30, 2026.

Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program, Suite 26, 509 Commissioners Road West, London, Ontario, N6J 1Y5, (226) 636-0632,

Program Content

Year 1

  • INTP 102 Healthcare Anatomy and Physiology
  • INTP 104 Healthcare Communication I
  • OPTA 112 Healthcare and Rehabilitation 
  • OPTA 117 Foundational Rehabilitation Skills
  • COMM 250 Business and Workplace Writing
  • OPTA 118 Functional Anatomy
  • OTA 105 OTA Skills I
  • PTA 100 PTA Skills I
  • OPTA 122 Common Conditions and Function
  • OPTA 114 Concepts in Mental Health
  • KNSS 307 Growth and Development
  • OPTA 130 Practicum I (Spring)

Year 2

  • OPTA 222 Complex Conditions and Function
  • OPTA 204 Sensation, Perception and Cognition
  • OTA 205 OTA Skills II
  • PTA 200 PTA Skills II
  • OPTA 215 Communication Impairment
  • OPTA 210 Professional Practice
  • OPTA 230 Practicum II
  • OPTA 330 Practicum III

Visit RDC’s Course Catalogue/Timetable to read detailed course descriptions.

Transfer Features

University of Calgary
Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant Diploma graduates will be considered for entrance into the University of Calgary's 10 full course equivalent Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation program.

Thompson Rivers University – Open Learning
Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant Diploma graduates will be granted a maximum of 54 transfer credits into the Bachelor of Health Science.

Transfer arrangements are different at each university and you are advised to consult the Alberta Transfer Guide, your Chairperson, academic advisors and the university to which you will transfer for more information.

Special Fees and Expenses

Note: Practicum Expenses – The RDC Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant diploma program includes three practicum courses which are 180 hours each. Students are responsible for all expenses associated with practicum. Practicum expenses can vary depending on practicum location. Minimum costs will be room and board, relocation costs, and travel to and from the workplace. You will require appropriate clothing or uniform attire for working with the public in a professional setting.

Note: Practicum Travel – Due to practicum availability, students may be required to travel to any location within the province of Alberta in order to complete the practicum requirements. In extreme circumstances, the College may need to delay completion of a practicum until a placement becomes available.

Note: You should be aware that there are expectations regarding professional attire, including proper footwear, in the practical portions of this program.

We understand that you still have questions about the programs.
You can talk to us and we can help.