Program Overview

Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant is a two-year Ontario College Diploma program where students learn the fundamentals of anatomy and physiology, rehabilitation, professional communication, musculoskeletal conditions, and neurological skills. Graduates will be prepared to work under the direction of occupational therapists and/or physiotherapists.

Program Details

Program Code
Ontario College Diploma
66 weeks
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2024 September
2023 September
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2023 September
2024 September

Your Learning Experience

Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant is a two-year Ontario College Diploma program. The program prepares students to work under the direction of occupational therapists and/or physiotherapists to support the therapeutic assessment, treatment and care of clients.


The curriculum is delivered through a variety of educational platforms including in-person and virtual classrooms as well as in-person laboratory instruction, with a focus on the role of the OTA/PTA in supporting clients with musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory and neurological conditions.


Students in the program have access to a brand new, purpose-built clinical laboratory that has ten treatment cubicles and the latest equipment. The program also leverages many other Fanshawe resources including the Health Sciences “Activities of Daily Living” Apartment which simulates a patients' living space (kitchen, living room, bathroom) and equipment offered by the Simulation Lab (ie Pregnancy Suits). All of these resources support an effective student environment for learning and adds to their preparation to successfully work with patients and the healthcare system.


During the two-year program, students participate in three clinical placements in a variety of possible settings including hospitals, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, private outpatient clinics and more. Clinical Placements are an important opportunity to consolidate the knowledge and clinical skills from the curriculum into a specific healthcare setting with patients and their families. Clinical placements take place in locations within a 1-hr drive of London. Students are responsible for all travel and costs related to the completion of required clinical placements (travel, parking, meals, etc).


Placement 1:  Winter term of first year (Jan-Apr) - includes one full day of clinical observation per week for the entire term (75hrs).
Placement 2:  Fall term of second year (Nov-Dec) - consists of a full-time placement for 6 weeks (225hrs)
Placement 3:  Summer term of second year (May-June) - consists of a full-time placement for 6 weeks (225hrs)



Career Information

Graduates of Fanshawe’s Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant program have the knowledge and skills to help clients cope with their limitations and improve their quality of life. They can pursue careers as a physiotherapy assistant or occupational therapy assistant in a variety of settings including: 

  • retirement homes
  • long-term care facilities
  • rehabilitation clinics
  • hospitals
  • mental health agencies
  • nursing homes
  • physiotherapy clinics
  • child treatment centres
  • home care services

Did you know Fanshawe consistently ranks high in graduation employment rates among large colleges in Ontario? 

Here are some examples of career opportunities for graduates of Fanshawe’s Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant program:

Therapy Assistant
Work as part of a collaborative team focused on providing a plan of care to meet client-centered goals.

Occupational Therapist/Physiotherapist Assistant
Plan and deliver therapeutic programs to meet a client’s treatment goals.

Occupational Therapy Assistant
Provide client-centered clinical care under the direction and supervision of an occupational therapist.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Communicate appropriately and effectively, through verbal, nonverbal, written and electronic means, with clients, their significant others, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and members of the interdisciplinary health care team and others;
  2. Participate in the effective functioning of interdisciplinary health care teams to optimize client physical and occupational functions;
  3. Establish, develop, maintain, and conclude client-centred, therapeutic relationships;
  4. Promote a safe environment that prevents or minimizes potential physical or mental harm to the client, therapist assistant and others;
  5. Practice in a legal, ethical, and professional manner within the role of a therapist assistant;
  6. Document client records in a thorough, objective, accurate, and timely manner within the role of the therapist assistant;
  7. Engage in reflective practice and ongoing professional development activities to maintain and enhance competence;
  8. Perform the roles and responsibilities of the therapist assistant effectively through the application of relevant knowledge of health sciences, psychosocial sciences, health conditions, resource management, and clinical procedures;
  9. Contribute to the occupational therapist's or physiotherapist's assessment of the client and the development, implementation and modification of intervention/treatment plans;
  10. Maximize the client’s occupational performance by accurately and safely implementing the interventions, and related tasks under the direction and supervision of the occupational therapist;
  11. Maximize the client’s physical function by accurately and safely implementing the interventions, and related tasks under the direction and supervision of the physiotherapist;
  12. Manage time and prioritize competing demands in collaboration with occupational therapists and physiotherapists;
  13. Use knowledge and influence responsibly within the assistant’s role to promote the health and well-being of individual clients, communities, and populations.


Academic School

Program Coordinator:

Doug Bickford, BScPT, M.Sc., MBA, CHE, CD


Admission Requirements

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), or equivalent, or a mature applicant with a minimum final grade of 65 in each the following courses:

- Grade 12 English (C or U)

- Grade 11 or 12 Math (C, M or U)

- Grade 11 or 12 Biology (C or U) or Grade 12 Introductory Kinesiology (U)

Students who do not meet these requirements are recommended for academic upgrading. A conditional offer may be possible with proof of enrolment. Alternatively, applicants may choose to do the one-year Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Advanced Diplomas and Degrees preparatory program that provides all the admissions requirements for this program.
Competitive Programs
This is a highly competitive program; the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of seats available. Post-Secondary education may be required for successful admission to this program. Please see for details.
International Admission Equivalencies
Admission equivalencies for Fanshawe depends on your country of study. Please enter your location to see the requirements for your country below.
English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

Test Score
TOEFL iBT 92 (22 writing, 26 speaking, 20 reading and 20 listening)
IELTS Academic Overall score of 7.0 with no score less than 6.5 in reading and listening and a score of 7.0 in writing and speaking
CAEL 70 in writing, reading and speaking and a score of 80 in listening
PTE Academic 65
Cambridge English Overall score of 185 with no language skill less than 176 and a score of 185 in listening
ESL4/GAP5 Minimum grade of 80% in Level 10
Duolingo Overall 135 with Literacy minimum 130 and no other subscores below 125


Learn More about English Language Requirements

Recommended Personal Preparation

Recommended Personal Preparation

- Prior to applying, students interested in the Occupational Therapist and Physiotherapist Assistant program should reflect on the following:

- Generally, healthcare is a fast paced, team based environment, with multiple competing demands that need to be prioritized by healthcare providers quickly and efficiently.
- Careers in healthcare usually require long hours of work and are physically and mentally demanding including: assisting patients to transfer, moving heavy supplies/equipment, and working closely with patients with various levels of pain and medical conditions. The day to day tasks in healthcare require above average levels of physical (and mental) endurance, strength and mobility.
- Occupational Therapist and Physiotherapist Assistants work with patients, caregivers and family members under the direct supervision of an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist. Successful outcomes are built on effective communication (both verbal and written), exceptional teamwork, and absolute professionalism at all times.
- Generally, careers in healthcare require above average abilities in Reading, Writing, Analytical Thinking, Self Reflection and Interpersonal Skills (ie communication, conflict management, emotional intelligence, etc).
Applicant Selection Criteria

Applicant Selection Criteria

Where the number of eligible applicants exceeds the available spaces in the program, the Applicant Selection Criteria will be:

  1. Preference for Permanent Residents of Ontario
  2. Receipt of Application by February 1st (After this date, Fanshawe College will consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the program is full)
  3. Achievement in the Admission Requirements
Post-Admission Requirements

Post-Admission Requirements

The following items are applicable to the program and are time sensitive.  Please refer to for important information about preparing for placement by the due date.

  • Possession of a Standard First Aid course certificate (either St. John Ambulance or Canadian Red Cross or equivalent) and a Basic Rescuer course certificate - Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers (HCP) in accordance with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Canadian Guidelines for CPR
  • Evidence of Good Health
  • Police Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Screening, including a check of the Pardoned Sexual Offenders Database
  • Placement Agreement


Level 1
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
WRIT-1048Reason & Writing 1 for Health Sciences3
This course will introduce health sciences students to essential principles of reading, writing, and reasoning at the postsecondary level. Students will identify, summarize, analyze, and evaluate multiple short readings and write persuasive response essays to develop their vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, and critical thinking.
HLTH-1289Rehabilitation & the Healthcare System2
The role of the rehabilitation professional is evolving to meet the changing needs of the population. The practitioner must understand this role and how it relates to other health professionals within the Canadian healthcare system. Students become familiar with the healthcare system in Canada and the responsibilities at each level of government. Focus is on the evolution, relevant legislation, and current challenges in the system. Class discussion acquaints students with the history of rehabilitation and the principles guiding its practice.
HLTH-1284Development Across the Lifespan3
Students will examine development across the lifespan, from pre-natal to end of life. This includes normal development and the variations to the norm as a result of the impact of internal (nature) and external (nurture) factors, as well as factors that contribute to resiliency at different stages of life. The role of the OTA/PTA is explored throughout the course in supporting physical, cognitive, and social development at each stage.
HLTH-1307Intro to Exercise & Physiology3
ANAT-1045Anatomy & Physiology 13.5
Students acquire knowledge of structure and functions within the human body. Students explore the following systems under normal conditions: skeletal, muscular, nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, and special senses. Basic sciences underlying physiological concepts are also highlighted.
HLTH-1290Professional Practice3
In healthcare, practitioners deal with diversity in culture, values, and beliefs that sometimes lead to ethical issues and conflicts. The principles of professional practice are explored as students examine self-awareness, conflict management, cultural diversity, and professional boundaries, including privacy and confidentiality. Students will develop knowledge and skills in workplace safety and patient engagement, and will develop their communication skills and a professional portfolio.
PSYC-1001Introduction to Psychology3
This introductory course in psychology provides students the opportunity to review some of the major theories and research findings from various branches of psychology. Special attention will be given to implications and applications that are specific to issues in policing, law and security. The following topics will be covered: brain and behaviour, sensation and perception, learning, memory, sleep, drugs, stress, social relations, personality, and psychological disorders.
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Tuition Summary


Canadian Costs
Total Cost of Program
International Costs
Total Cost of Program

*Total program costs are approximate, subject to change and do not include the health and dental plan fee, bus pass fee or program general expenses.