Humboldt County Office of Education: Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)

Notice: In July 2022 HCOE classified job descriptions were re-classified. We are working to get the classifications changed on individual job descriptions. A PDF mapping these changes can be found here. For questions please contact the HCOE Personnel Office at (707) 445-7039.

HCOE Job Description

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)

Position Summary:

Under the direction and supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist (OTR),the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) assists in supplementing, enhancing, and extending occupational therapy services by completing a variety of tasks such as, but not limited to,activities designed by OTR to assist with assessment, intervention, treatment and activities to enhance motor, sensory, self-regulatory, feeding and other functional abilities.This is a 10 month position.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Assists OTR with screenings, assessments and occupational therapy services;follows and implements documented IEP plans or protocols;documents student progress toward meeting established objectives and reports the information to the OTR;assists the OTR during assessments with formal documentation, preparing materials, and performing clerical duties;prepares therapy materials and/or equipment for use in the classroom and therapy activities;adapts or modifies instructional materials and/or equipment as determined by student needs and abilities for teacher use in the classroom;assists in maintaining student records, tallying data, preparing charts,records, graphs, and reports;assists in organizing classroom activities such as displaying educational materials, arranging furniture to facilitate instructional requirements, and creates an orderly and clean learning environment;may implement behavior management programs for students as designed by certified staff, observes and reports significant student behavior, behavioral patterns, and/or other problems to the OTR.

Note: The COTA is NOT able to conduct assessments/evaluations,initiate treatments,interpret data, alter IEP plans or perform any task without the express knowledge/approval of the supervising OTR.The COTA is able to administer assessments with OTR approval but is NOT able to interpret the results.

Employment Standards:

Education and Experience:

Associate degree in and/or graduation from a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant certificate program, OR Bachelors degree in Occupational Therapy with a minimum of 70 hours field work/clinical experience from a Board-approved program .Must have demonstrated competence in effective communication required; experience in a school setting preferred.

Licenses and Certificates:

Current certification by the California Board of Occupational Therapy as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) at the time of appointment and must maintain current certification throughout employment in this classification.

Knowledge of:

  • Occupational therapy equipment, materials,procedures;
  • Current occupational therapy methodologies;
  • Normal child development;
  • Physical and mental disorders that can affect pediatric occupational performance;
  • Learning patterns in children;
  • Student behavior management techniques and strategies;
  • Dealing effectively with attitudes and behaviors of students;
  • Effective time management;
  • Effective selection, preparation and presentation of materials;
  • Maintaining student progress documentation;
  • A variety of screening tools, protocols, and forms of documentation;
  • Effective implementation of therapy objectives;
  • Operation of instructional and office equipment;
  • Simple math in order to compile reports, and maintain records and status reports;
  • Effective and tactful communication in both oral and written forms to ensure successful interaction with parents, students, supervisor, school staff, and community agency representatives;
  • Modification and differentiation of lessons to meet students’ needs and progress(with guidance from OTR);
  • Consultation with OTR when student’s progress is not consistent;
  • Development and monitoring of carry over activities with classroom teacher and home;
  • Development and implementation of creative, appropriate lessons/materials to ensure progress towards student IEP goals;
  • Working with students individually and in small groups;
  • Development of schedules for student services that meet IEP requirements.

Physical Requirements:

Essential duties require, but are not limited to, the following physical abilities:

  • Sit at a desk, table, on low chairs, on the floor or on mats, or in classrooms of various configurations for extended periods of time;
  • See, read and distinguish colors, a computer screen, educational materials, books and other printed matter, with or without vision aids;
  • Vision ability for both close and distant objects;
  • Manual dexterity to enter data into a computer, and to perform assigned classroom tasks using both hands;
  • Ability to move quickly on uneven terrain, play yards, and school grounds;
  • Ability to stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, climb, balance, push wheelchairs or pull wagons with student sat times;
  • Physical agility to lift up to 25 pounds to shoulder height and 50 pounds to waist height and to bend,sit on the floor, climb stairs, walk and reach overhead;
  • Mental acuity to perform the essential functions of this position in an accurate, neat, and timely fashion,to make good judgments and decisions and to evaluate the results of decisions and judgments.

FTE:1.0 | Range: 48 | Personnel Commission Approved: 09/12/2017

Personnel Director

Jenny Bowen
Director of Personnel Services

Administration Office

Natalie Carrigan
Administrative Assistant - Superintendent

Press Inquiries

Ken Conlin
Communications Center Manager/Public Information Officer