May 30, 2024  
2023-2024 NOVA Catalog 
2023-2024 NOVA Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Therapy Assistant, A.A.S.

Location(s): MEC

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CIP Code: 51.0803

NOVA Code: 1260

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 a 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 Health Science Programs.
  • Attend an in-person Occupational Therapy Assistant information session within one year of application. Visit the website at
  • Be a high school graduate or have obtained a GED.
  • Complete ENG 111 , HLT 141 , and SDV 101  Orientation to Healthcare with a “C” or higher.
  • Complete  BIO 141 - BIO 142  with a “C” or higher. (Please note: BIO 141 requires the completion of BIO 101, or NAS 2 or a placement test as noted at:
  • Complete or self-place into MTH 154  or higher:
  • 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).
  • Complete a video statement and writing prompt for review by 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 more than 25 hours of observation 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, and 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 must attend a face-to-face information session. Dates can be found at Follow the steps in preparation for competitive placement into the OTA program. Competitive eligibility for the OTA program does not guarantee admission.

Continuation Requirements: Students must comply with all continuation requirements for Health Sciences and Occupational Therapy Assistant students. All courses (including General Education courses) must be completed with a grade of “C” or better before taking the next course in the sequence and to satisfy graduation requirements.

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 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD20852-4929.. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is 301-652-AOTA. ACOTE can be found online at 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, all states require licensure in order to practice and one component of licensure generally includes 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.

Total 13 credits

Two Years

Total 15 credits

Total 14 credits

3rd Semester

Total 5 credits

Total 13 credits

5th Semester

  • OCT 290 - Coordinated Internship in OT (4 CR.)
  • OCT 290 - Coordinated Internship in OT (4 CR.)
  • OCT 295 - Trends in Professional Issues in Occupational Therapy Practice (1 CR.)

Total 9 credits

Total credits for the A.A.S. Degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant: 69 credits (includes 13 prerequisite credits)

BIO 141 and BIO 142 must be completed within 5 years at time of admission

1 See humanities/fine arts courses listed under General Education Electives . Electives should be selected with advice of a counselor or academic advisor to meet the requirements of the transfer institution.

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