Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistant image

Prepare Students to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is designed to prepare students with entry-level skills to provide occupational therapy services to persons with psychosocial, physical, and developmental impairments.  Occupational therapy assistants, under the guidance and supervision of a licensed occupational therapist (OT), work with individuals to help them improve their functional capacities to participate in many areas including self-care, work, play/leisure, and socialization pursuits. Becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant is a rewarding career for students interested in a dynamic and creative career in health care.


Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is designed to provide students with the philosophical, theoretical, clinical knowledge, and clinical skills necessary to provide occupational therapy services.  The curriculum prepares students to effectively collaborate with occupational therapists to provide efficient, quality client centered occupational therapy services. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates must take and pass a national board exam and complete the licensing process in all states to begin a career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. 

Two Years
Medical Education
Curriculum Details

Why Study Occupational Therapy at NOVA?

Comprehensive Curriculum

Acquire philosophical, theoretical, and clinical knowledge and skills essential for delivering high-quality occupational therapy services to individuals throughout the lifespan.

Collaborative Practice

Learn to assist and collaborate with occupational therapists and other health care professionals through active participation in hands-on experiences in classroom, community fieldtrips, and fieldwork.

Career Advancement

NOVA students excel in national board exams, opening doors to fulfilling careers in various medical and community facilities, with opportunities for advanced degrees and specialization.

Program Details

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program is a two-year, full-time course of study. OTA graduates develop their skills through participation in classroom, laboratory, fieldtrips, and fieldwork experiences. In the program, students learn about the field of occupational therapy, clinical skills and reasoning, and the role and responsibilities of the OTA.  Students are prepared to take the national board exam through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) after graduation.  After successful completion of this exam, the graduate will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) and then will be eligible to apply for licensure. Licensure is required in all 50 states to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Note that a felony conviction could affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Information Session

The first step to beginning health career training at NOVA/MEC is to attend a mandatory Information Session. Please note that the information sessions are provided in both face-to-face and zoom formats and contain program information for the current academic year only. See the video below for more general information.

In Person and Zoom Information Sessions

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

More Program Details and Resources


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.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Career Outcomes

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 25% through 2031.

Credits and
Transfer Info

Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for prior learning (CPL) generally refers to the process of granting college credit for learning gained in nontraditional ways, including but not limited to: certifications, AP or IB exams, military training, or life experience.


Learn more about possible transfer opportunities associated with this program of study. Students interested in transferring should contact an advisor or counselor to further discuss their plans.

Your Next Steps to NOVA