Welcome to the Northern Virginia Community College Website

Accessibility Navigation:


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).

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.

2022 Applicants: Due to the lack of availability of observation hours, please see the change to the observation hours requirement for OTA program for the application period for May 1 – May 15, 2022.

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 a face-to-face OTA Information Session is mandatory in the 12 months prior to applying to this program. The online presentation does NOT take the place of the in-person Information Session. You are required to include the code provided at the in-person session on your application as proof of completion.

In-Person Sessions:
It is important to arrive on time; otherwise, it will be necessary to attend another information session. Please do not bring children. Times are subject to change. Please check back for cancellations.

Date Time Location
April 14, 2021 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m Zoom
May 5, 2021 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m Zoom
September 14, 2021 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m Zoom
October 12, 2021 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m Zoom
November 9, 2021 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m Zoom
December 14, 2021 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m Zoom

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 Opportunites

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


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 Assistancts 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