2022-23 Calendar

Home > Programs > Health & Social Development > Therapist Assistant Diploma

Therapist Assistant Diploma

The Therapist Assistant Diploma will prepare the graduate to work as an Assistant to Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Recreational Therapists. It is a two-year diploma of full-time study including four semesters of coursework plus 18 weeks of practical experience in clinical settings.

Principles, theory and practice will be taught at the Assistant level in the disciplines of Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Recreation Therapy. Students will obtain an academic and practical foundation in the areas of health and rehabilitation science, and will take introductory-level university courses in English, Biology and Psychology. The Therapist Assistant Diploma curriculum is reflective of the growing and evolving scope of practice for Therapist Assistants. It has been developed in consultation with therapists, therapist assistants, and employers province-wide and is informed by national trends and provincial trends and competencies.

The Therapist Assistant Program at Okanagan 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 April 30, 2019 for the period until April 30, 2025.

Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program, www.otapta.ca.

Admission Requirements

Academic Admission Requirements

Applicants may meet the academic admission requirements for the Therapist Assistant Diploma by completing either Option One or Option Two listed below:

Option One

  • B.C. secondary school graduation, or equivalent, or 19 years of age and out of secondary school for at least one year as of the first day of classes.

  • Chemistry 11 or an equivalent Advanced Level ABE Chemistry course

  • At least one of the following: Biology 12, Anatomy and Physiology 12, or BIOL 122 or BIOL 124 or an equivalent Provincial Level ABE Biology course. (Biology 12 or BIOL 122 is strongly recommended.)

Option Two

  • One of ENGL 100, 150, 151, or 153 or equivalent

  • BIOL 131 and 133 or equivalent.

  • PSYC 111 and 121 or equivalent.

Other admission requirements:

  • Current certification in Red Cross Standard First Aid or St. John Ambulance Standard First Aid. Current certification in CPR Level C.

  • Results of tuberculin testing done no more than six months before the date of application with evidence of appropriate follow up if the test was positive.

  • A criminal record check clearance from the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's Criminal Records Review Office. Okanagan College's admission offices will provide applicants with instructions and forms for applicants to submit to the Solicitor General's Office and a deadline for the College to receive the clearance letter. Applicants should only initiate their criminal record check when instructed by Admissions. Failure to provide a clearance letter by the deadline will result in a cancellation of the applicant's admission application.

Applicants are strongly advised to ensure that their immunizations are current and to be immunized for Hepatitis B.  Failure to submit all required documentation by a specified deadline may result in denial of admission. Applicants are strongly advised to have at least a beginner's level of competency with computers and word processing before entering the Therapist Assistant Diploma.

Program pre-practice requirements:

  • Successful completion of all the B.C. Provincial Violence Prevention Curriculum (PVPC) including the 8-hour in-person classroom course.

There may be additional fees associated with other admission and program pre-practice requirements. These requirements are usually completed outside of regular class time. Students are responsible for submitting appropriate documentation by the due dates provided. The admissions office and/or department chair will provide further instructions. Students may proceed into clinical practice education experiences only after successful completion of ALL the program pre-practice requirements.

Note To All Applicants:

  • The Therapist Assistant diploma has a demanding course load.
  • Applicants are advised to consider taking one or more of the following courses before beginning the program: BIOL 131 and 133 (strongly recommended), PSYC 111 and 121, one of ENGL 100, 150, 151, or 153
  • Applicants are strongly advised to have at least a beginner's level of competency with computers and word processing before entering the Therapist Assistant Diploma.

Program Outline

Year I
Semester I
BIOL 131 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
PSYC 111 Introduction to Psychology: Basic Processes
THER 102 Communication and Group Process
THER 103 Disease and Disability
THER 140 Recreation Therapy Assistant: Principles & Practice I
Completed at least one of the following:
ENGL 100 University Writing
ENGL 150 Critical Writing and Reading: Poetry and Drama
ENGL 151 Critical Writing and Reading: Short Fiction and the Novel
ENGL 153 Critical Writing and Reading: Narrative
Semester II
BIOL 133 Human Anatomy and Physiology II
PSYC 121 Introduction to Psychology: Personal Functioning
THER 104 Client Care Principles & Practice: Introductory
THER 120 Occupational Therapist Assistant: Principles & Practice I
THER 125 Practicum Preparation
THER 130 Physical Therapist Assistant: Principles & Practice I
THER 141 Recreation Therapist Assistant II: Principles & Practice
THER 150 Practicum I: Recreation Therapist Assistant
THER 151 Practicum II: OTA and/or PTA Placement
Year II
Semester III
THER 201 Gross Anatomy & Kinesiology
THER 203 Psychiatry & Mental Health
THER 204 Client Care Principles & Practice: Advanced
THER 220 Occupational Therapist Assistant: Principles & Practice II
THER 230 Physical Therapist Assistant: Principles & Practice II
Semester IV
THER 205 Therapeutic Modalities
THER 215 Professional Practice
THER 221 Occupational Therapist Assistant: Principles & Practice III
THER 231 Physical Therapist Assistant: Principles & Practice III
THER 260 Capstone Project
THER 250 Preceptorship I: Occupational or Physical Therapist Assistant
THER 251 Preceptorship II: Occupational or Physical Therapist Assistant

Practicum, Extern and Clinical Experiences

Practical experiences are an integral part of the Therapist Assistant program. Practicum sites may be in hospitals, multi-level care facilities, community or private agencies and government institutions. Locations are throughout, and often outside, the Okanagan Valley. Students should be prepared to leave the Okanagan Valley for practica. While every effort will be made to accommodate student's preferences for locations of clinical experiences, Okanagan College reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of any placement. All agencies and institutions serving as practicum sites must be approved by Okanagan College. Okanagan College reserves the right to change a student's practicum placement. The student has the right to be informed, in writing, of reasons for doing so.

Student Transportation and Accommodation: Students must arrange their own transportation to and from practicum sites. In most cases, a drivers license and access to a reliable vehicle is required. Travel and accommodation expenses are the student's responsibility.

Other Program Information

After Graduation

Graduates will be prepared to work at as entry-level Assistants in the three disciplines of Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Recreation Therapy in a wide variety of healthcare settings throughout B.C. and Canada. There are job opportunities in a wide variety of health care settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centres, multi-level care facilities, community care, community mental health, child development centres, and private practice.

The role of the Therapist Assistant includes the implementation of rehabilitation programs, under the supervision of a therapist, to maintain and enhance functional abilities, independence and quality of life.

When working with clients some examples of duties include:

  • Physiotherapist Assistants: joint range of motion, muscle stretching and strengthening, balance and mobility training, and application of thermal modalities such as heat and ice.

  • Occupational Therapist Assistant: the use of activities and treatment techniques to develop motor, sensory, cognitive, perceptual and psychosocial skills needed to function as independently as possible.

  • Recreational Therapist Assistant: planning and implementation of leisure activity programs to promote physical, social, mental and spiritual well-being.

Assistants are expected to perform support-related duties such as equipment cleaning and maintenance, inventory management, and clerical duties.

Therapist Assistants are expected to demonstrate:

  • Effective oral and written communication skills

  • Professional behaviours and attitudes reflecting knowledge of the scope of practice and responsibilities

  • The ability to listen, comprehend and act, and to show good clinical judgement

  • The capacity to critically evaluate one's own skills and abilities, and identify learning needs

  • An ability to work with people affected by disability, injury, illness or the affects of aging.

Therapist Assistant students graduate with a broad clinical experience and are flexible members of the interdisciplinary health care team.



Program Length

Four semesters, plus 18 weeks fieldwork; two-year diploma

Textbooks and Supplies

In addition to tuition fees, expect to spend approximately $2,000 for textbooks, a transfer belt, supplies for some assignments, a supportive pair of shoes and two Therapist Assistant golf-shirts (information on purchasing these items will be provided by instructors during the first week of classes). Students are responsible for their own transportation to visit practice settings and for travel to practica and preceptorships.

Graduation Requirements

Students must obtain a minimum grade of 50 in English, Biology and Psychology, a pass in Therapist practica and preceptorships, and a minimum grade of 70 in each other THER course.

Normally, students must complete the program within four years of initial entry.

Program Area:

Health and Social Development

Campus (Intake):

  • Kelowna (Sep)




  • Full-Time


2022-23: $9,096.51 (total for the two year program) 

  • Fees include all mandatory fees: Activity fee, Health & Dental, Student Association fee, Education Technology fee, Development fee.
  • All amounts are approximate and are subject to change.
  • International students will pay International tuition fees


Do you need to upgrade? Contact: https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/adult-upgrading

This program is student loan eligible.

Department Website

Okanagan College Calendar: Printed 12/07/2022