News Release

Santa Ana College Graduating First Cohort of Bachelor of Science in Occupational Studies

Students will participate in Santa Ana College’s June 7 graduation,
followed by a separate pinning ceremony June 8

(Santa Ana, CA) - Twenty-three Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA) will receive bachelor’s degrees when Santa Ana College (SAC) graduates the first cohort of its new Bachelor of Science in Occupational Studies program June 7, at the Santa Ana Bowl, 602 N. Flower St. in Santa Ana.

Senate Bill 850 established a program for community colleges to apply for a pilot baccalaureate program at 15 community colleges, offering current COTAs the opportunity to advance their clinical training. SAC’s program prepares graduates for a changing job market while providing them with a solid foundation to pursue graduate-level studies.

Students enter the program as fifth-semester juniors and attend courses Wednesday nights, Saturdays, online and through hybrid classes that allow them to continue working while learning.

One graduating student, Jessica Padilla, said she always intended to continue her education past the COTA level, but was hindered by the high cost of tuition at most universities.

“When I heard SAC was starting the Occupational Studies BS program, I was thrilled that I could finally advance my education in a program relevant to my career and at such an affordable cost,” she said.

Padilla, who received her Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant at SAC in December 2009, has worked in pediatrics for the past nine years and said she chose to enter into the occupational therapy field because she was inspired to help children live purposeful and functional lives. Padilla said she will continue working in pediatrics while waiting for a COTA to Registered Occupational Therapist (OTR) bridge program to be offered locally. Her goal, she said, is to further pursue her education to afford her the opportunity to educate and inspire future COTAs.

“The Occupational Studies BS program has empowered and inspired me to become a leader and advocate in the OT field,” she said. “The work in the program is well designed and pushes us OTAs to become more knowledgeable in research, confident in communication and an overall well-rounded clinician.”

COTAs and students entering SAC with the intent of obtaining a four-year degree who are interested in learning more about the BS in Occupational Studies can visit or contact Program Coordinator Michelle Parolise at (714) 564-6833.

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, and provides invaluable workforce training and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.

Contact: Patricia Homo

Phone: (714) 564-5527