Purpose: The program is designed to provide students with the philosophical, theoretical, and clinical knowledge necessary to provide quality occupational therapy. This curriculum is designed to prepare students to assist and collaborate with occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures. Students will participate in classroom and fieldwork experiences in this program. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates must take and pass a national board exam and complete the licensing process in order to begin their career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Graduates may, in accordance with state laws, assist in development of treatment plans; carry out routine functions, direct activity programs, and document the progress of treatments.
Transfer Information: Transfer is not the primary purpose of an A.A.S. program, but NOVA has articulation agreements that facilitate the transfer of this and other career-oriented programs to selected senior institutions. Students interested in transfer should contact a counselor or their academic advisor early in their program.
Admission Requirements: Applicants must do the following:
• Comply with all general admission requirements for Allied Health Programs.
• Attend an in-person Occupational Therapy Assistant information session within 1 year of application. Visit the website website for dates.
• Be a high school graduate or have obtained a GED.
• Complete BIO 141-142 Human Anatomy and Physiology I-II, ENG 111 College Composition I, HLT 141 Introduction to Medical Terminology, and SDV 101 Orientation to Healthcare Career with a “C” or higher.
• Qualify for MTH 154 or higher on the NOVA math placement test. This requirement must be met prior to applying to the OTA program.
• Maintain a curricular GPA of 2.5 or higher at the last school or college attended (with a minimum of 13 credits).
• Complete at least 16 hours of observation time with an occupational therapist (OTR) or a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). Observation hours must be documented and signed by the OTR or COTA who is supervising the applying student on a form found on the website.
• Complete a video statement for a video statement committee.
• Assure that all previous transcripts are accounted for and are on file at NOVA prior to the program application deadline date. These transfer credits must be evaluated before any transfer credit is granted. Application acceptance dates will be posted on the website once established. Admission will be on a competitive placement basis of fully qualified candidates. Students will also receive special consideration if they have earned the Health Science Career Studies Certificate, if more than 25 hours of observation are accumulated, and/or if documented work experience as a rehabilitation technician or an OT aide is provided.
• Students are notified in writing of acceptance into the program following the timely submission of a completed application. Once accepted, students must have current CPR certification, must complete a basic first aid course, a documented medical examination, criminal background check, a 12-panel drug screen, and must maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher to remain in good standing.
Highly qualified students can apply during the next application period. In the meantime, students interested in the OTA program are encouraged to attend a face–to–face information session. Dates can be found online. Follow the steps in preparation for competitive placement into the OTA program. Competitive eligibility for the OTA program does not guarantee admission.
Continuation Requirement: Students must comply with all continuation requirements for Allied Health and Occupational Therapy Assistant students.
Transfer Placement: OTA credits earned at other institutions will be reviewed by the program director of the OTA program to determine if any course substitutions may be warranted within the curriculum. Students wishing to transfer into the NOVA OTA program will be required to satisfactorily complete a skill competency assessment before being accepted into the OTA program. Transfer students must additionally be in good academic standing and must provide a written reference from the program director of the previous institution as well as from a clinical educator as applicable. All transfer students must meet all of the OTA program application and admission requirements before being considered in the competitive admissions process.
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 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is 301-652-AOTA. ACOTE can be found online 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.
Continuation Requirements: Each course in the program major must be completed with a grade of “C” or better before taking the next course in the sequence.
1 See humanities/fine arts courses listed under General Education Electives.