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Occupational Therapy Assistant

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is designed to prepare students with entry-level skills to provide rehabilitative services to persons with psychosocial, physical, and developmental impairments.

Program Details

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is designed to prepare students with entry-level skills to provide rehabilitative services to persons with psychosocial, physical, and developmental impairments. Occupational therapy assistants, under the guidance and supervision of a registered occupational therapist (OTR/L), work with individuals to help them improve their functional capacities to participate in self-care, work, and leisure pursuits.

The degree program in Occupational Therapy Assistant is a full-time, five-semester sequential curriculum leading to an Associate in Applied Science Degree.

Special Accreditation Status: The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Northern Virginia Community College is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is 301.652.AOTA and ACOTE’s website can be found at www.acoteonline.org.

Upon graduation, students will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).

Graduation Rate of Students in the OTA Program
Academic Year Number of Graduates
Entering/Graduating
Graduation Rate
2021-2022 24/20 83.3%
2020-2021 21/35** 166%
2019-2020* 20/0 0%*
2018-2019 20/17 85%
Total 85/72 84.7%

* COVID pandemic delayed graduation for the Class of 2020
** Students graduated from the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021

In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction could affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Students who are interested in the NOVA OTA Program are encouraged to attend a face-to-face information session and follow the steps in preparation for competitive placement into the OTA Program. Competitive eligibility does not guarantee admission.

The total estimated cost of the OTA program for the entering cohort 2022-2024 includes tuition/fees (69 credits), books & supplies, parking, required criminal backgrounds, drug screens, liability insurance, and suggested student memberships as of 11.11.22 is $15909.50. Tuition and fees are subject to change. The table below details the expenses per category.

Tuition and fees*
(69 credits over 5 semesters plus prerequisites)
$13075.50
Books and supplies $1550.00
Parking $450.00
Criminal Backgrounds, Drug Screens, Training, Liability Insurance $634.00
Suggested student membership $200.00
Total $15909.50

* Tuition and fees are subject to change

2023 Applicants: Due to the lack of availability of observation hours, students may utilize this change to the observation hours requirement for the OTA program for the application period for May 1 – May 15, 2023. Obtaining observation hours is preferable and will be considered during the application period.

The first step to beginning health career training at NOVA/MEC is to attend a mandatory Information Session.

Information Session

Please note that the online information sessions contain program information for the current academic year only.

Attending an OTA Information Session is mandatory in the 12 months prior to applying to this program.

OTA Information Sessions:

Date Time Location
October 11, 2022 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Zoom
November 15, 2022 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Room 212
November 22, 2022 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Zoom
December 13, 2022 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Zoom
January 24, 2023 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Zoom
January 31, 2023 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Room 254
February 14, 2023 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Room 254
February 28, 2023 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Zoom
March 21, 2023 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Room 256
March 28, 2023 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Zoom
April 11, 2023 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Zoom
April 18, 2023 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Room 256
May 2, 2023 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Room 256
May 9, 2023 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Zoom

Join Zoom Meetings
https://vccs.zoom.us/j/86742833274

Meeting ID: 867 4283 3274

Pre-Health students who have questions regarding program requirements or students who need academic advising are encouraged to visit Advising & Counseling.

703.822.6570, Medical Education Campus, Room 302

Transfer Opportunities

Transfer is not the primary purpose of this credential; however, NOVA may have agreements that facilitate the transfer of this and other career-oriented programs to selected senior institutions. In order to learn more about possible transfer opportunities please visit: https://www.nvcc.edu/transfer/. Students interested in transferring should contact an advisor or counselor to discuss their options and plans.

Credit for Prior Learning

Northern Virginia Community College accepts industry-standard certifications, credentials and/or professional courses for credit. Broadly, licenses, credentials and/or certifications must be current and valid for consideration. For more information regarding the status of the certification and its eligibility for credit, please see an advisor or faculty members in the discipline area that awards CPL credit.

The most current information can be found here for CPL: Certifications and Credentials.

Program Degrees and Certificates

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Career Prospects

The NOVA OTA graduates have done exceptionally well on their national board exams. Graduates often find employment in many medical and community facilities.  Graduates can pursue advanced degrees including attending bridge programs to pursue master's degrees in Occupational Therapist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth of Occupational Therapy Assistants is expected to increase by 32% through 2029.

Get Started

Want to get started with this program? Speak with an adviser to start shaping your educational journey at NOVA.

Contact an Advisor

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