Your Guide to Paying for OTA School

Hands on calculator with text "Paying for OTA School"

Choosing to go back to school to pursue a career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant is an exciting step, and one you should be proud of. When it comes to preparing for OTA school, there are a lot of factors to consider, but maybe the most notable is paying for OTA school.

Finances can be a stressful hurdle to climb, especially since it’s not recommended that you hold a full-time job in conjunction with your time in the Online Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at St. Catherine University. That’s why we are here to help make sure it’s streamlined and as easy as possible.

In this blog we will break down St. Kate’s OTA program costs, discuss how to apply for financial aid for occupational therapy students, and share some scholarships that can help cover the cost of school.

Financial Aid for Occupational Therapy Students

It’s important to note that while traditional financial aid may not apply to OTA students, it’s still worthwhile to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as federal loans may be available to you.

Additionally, a Pell Grant could be awarded to qualified students without a prior bachelor’s degree. It’s important to note that your FAFSA must be submitted every school year and meet federal, state and university deadlines.

Be sure to have the following information on hand when completing your FAFSA:

  • The St. Catherine University's School Code: 002342
  • College Grade Level (if you hold a bachelor’s degree): 5th year/other undergraduate
  • College Credits (if you don’t hold a bachelor’s degree): Undergraduates with some college credits

Third-Party Lenders

While St. Kate’s does not offer grants for our online OTA program, award-based funding via a third party may be a valuable option, as federal student aid usually will not fully cover the total cost of attending an OTA program. Banks and credit unions are a great option to explore private loans with low-interest rates and good terms.

Remember, you don’t have to go through this process alone. When you have chosen a private lender, reach out to our Office of Financial Aid. We can help make sure you fully understand the loan periods and how they relate to the semester and yearly limits on private loan certifications. We can also help you determine the loan amount you will need to finance your Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in OTA degree at St. Catherine University.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Scholarships

There are a multitude of scholarships open to prospective OTA students. Every scholarship follows different criteria and can vary in what they’re looking to see from applicants based on the bestowing entity’s values or mission.

One relatively well-known scholarship is the Yellow Ribbon Program or Chapter 33 Post-9/11 GI Bill. This is reserved for U.S. military veterans. To take advantage of this opportunity, contact the Adult Resource Center (ARC) for more information.

Foundation also offers more than 50 scholarships annually to full-time occupational therapy students, ranging from $750–$5,000.  

AOTA Scholarships

The American Occupational Therapy Association also offers its own scholarships as well as resources to find other third-party scholarships.

The association’s E.K. Wise Scholarship supports students who have a vested interest in cultivating a more diverse workforce in under-served areas or communities.

To qualify, you must:

  • be enrolled (or accepted) as a full-time student in a post baccalaureate entry-level occupational therapy educational program like the one at St. Kate’s.
  • show a history of excellent academic achievement.
  • display leadership skills and community service experience.
  • be able to contribute to a diverse work force.
  • be a member of AOTA (upon entry to the St. Kate’s OTA program, you will be a member).

St Kate's OTA Program Cost

It’s important to remember that our online OTA program is an investment for your future, just like any college education. As such, pursuing certification as an OTA requires solid financial planning.

Of course, we should mention what you’ll be receiving as part of your education. The online OTA program at St. Kate’s offers three start dates a year and features a hybrid curriculum of online coursework, in-person labs with esteemed faculty and fieldwork experiences designed to help you understand the day-to-day role of an OTA. Your labs can be completed at any of our lab sites in California, Minnesota, Texas or Virginia.

Keep in mind that you do not need to live in those four states to participate in our OTA program, but you will need to appear in person and travel to our lab sites within one of these states up to 12 times during the program, and you may also need to travel depending on the fieldwork location you choose. Traveling may have some lodging and food costs that you’ll want to work into your financial plan.

Now, let’s talk tuition costs. Our OTA program tuition is based on the amount of credit hours required to graduate:

  • Program Credit Hours: 47–71 (depending on your educational background)
  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $806

To put it simply, based on the credit hours you complete, the total estimated tuition cost would range between $37,882–$57,226.

Separate from tuition costs, there are also miscellaneous fees that need to be covered, including:

  • Technology Fee: $300 per semester
  • Student Activity Fee: $45 per semester
  • Books/Supplies/AOTA Membership: Estimated $2,500 during the program
  • Clinical Clearance Costs: Will vary

Earn Your OTA Degree from St. Catherine University in as Few as 16 Months

If you’re considering becoming an occupational therapy assistant, you owe it to yourself to talk to an admissions counselor from the St. Catherine University Online Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. As the first university in the nation to offer an occupational therapy assistant program, we set the standard by which all OTA programs are judged. With St. Catherine’s Online Occupational Therapy Assistant program, you can be an occupational therapy assistant in as few as 16 months.

Call today or complete the form to talk to an admissions counselor about whether our program is right for you.

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The Ultimate Guide to Occupational Therapy and OTA

Get answers to your questions about the field, about the OTA career path, and about St. Catherine University’s Online OTA program.

book with cover title: Occupational Therapy Assistant Explained