Occupational Therapy Assistant

Degree Type
Associate of Science

This program is currently not accepting new students.

Occupational therapy is the profession for individuals who enjoy solving challenging problems that help people of all ages overcome physical, developmental, mental and/or emotional disabilities and achieve independence; you will find many opportunities in the field of occupational therapy. The need for therapists will grow well into the 21st century, reflecting the importance of function, prevention of disability, and promotion of health. The Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA), under the supervision of a registered Occupational Therapist, uses therapeutic activities to help people with an illness or disability live healthy, productive lives. Therapy is functional, purposeful, and individualized for each client. In the classroom, students experience simulated and actual clinical activities. Students will learn vital skills to safely work with people with many types of abilities, disabilities, and functional challenges.

American Occupational Therapy Association Centennial Vision (2006)

“We envision that Occupational Therapy is a powerful, widely recognized, science-driven evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society’s occupational needs.”

Admission Requirements

General college admission requirement:

  • High School Diploma including general education core.

Program requirements: (all located in the OTA Admission Packet located on RVCC website: https://www.rivervalley.edu/admissions/application-process-forms/admissions-forms):

  • 2-4 hours Fieldwork observation
  • High School Chemistry, college-level Chemistry I or Intro to Chemical Principles
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Signed Essential Skills Agreement
  • Signed Licensure/Liability Agreement
  • CPR for allied health professionals or a course including child, adult and AED training
  • Criminal background checks and fingerprinting (required for FW placement and may be completed in the first year of matriculation) *the cost of these are the responsibility of the student
  • An interview with the Program Director after all program and college application materials are submitted.

Curriculum Grading and Progression Through Program

Students who earn less than a “B-” (80%) grade for any professional course must repeat that course.  Students who repeat the course for the second time and earn less than a “B-grade will be suspended from the program for one semester. Students who earn less than a “C” (73%) grade for any liberal arts course must repeat that course.  Students who repeat the course for a second time and earn less than a “C” grade should refer to the Student Handbook policy. At selected points in the curriculum. Students must pass a comprehensive examination in order to progress. 

Curriculum Flexibility

The curriculum may be completed in two to three years. A curriculum plan is individualized for each student and done so with the OTA Program Director. All students must complete the curriculum within a three year period from the date of their matriculation.

Criminal Background History: Consideration for Applicants

OTA Students with Criminal Backgrounds Students are asked about their criminal background on their Lackawanna College application. Background checks are required for all OTA students and are completed in the first semester of the program. If a student has answered the application question dishonestly he/she will be investigated by the director of public safety and will be dismissed from the OTA program and/or Lackawanna College. However, if a student with a criminal background answers the question honestly, a criminal background check will be conducted upon admission and the director of public safety will determine the student’s fitness for the college. If the student is determined to be of low risk to the college, his/her criminal background will not interfere with his/her acceptance to the college. A student, with a criminal background, accepted into the OTA program may have difficulty being placed for Level II Fieldwork. Some fieldwork sites have policies forbidding the placing of students with certain criminal backgrounds in their settings. It is important for the OTA academic fieldwork coordinator to be aware of any student with a criminal background so efforts may be made, sooner than later, to establish for him or her, a fieldwork site.

OTA Students Previously Convicted of a Felony or Other Serious Crime Taking and passing the national certification exam is mandatory for practicing occupational therapy in the United States. States require OT practitioners to be licensed. A passing score on the certification exam is typically a requirement to secure an OT/OTA state license. Prospective students who have been convicted of felonies and/or other serious crimes (as defined by NBCOT) may not be eligible to take the national certification exam to become an Occupational Therapy Practitioner.

As of January 1, 2019, the NBCOT will implement its Policy for Presumptive Denial. Exam candidates who do not meet NBCOT eligibility requirements have the right to appeal any decision made by the NBCOT.

NBCOT Presumptive Denial Policy URL: https://www.nbcot.org/-/media/NBCOT/PDFs/Presumptive_Denial_Policy.ashx NBCOT Early Determination Review Any potential or current OTA student concerned about his/her future eligibility to take the certification exam, as it relates to his or her criminal background may participate in NBCOT’s Early Determination Review. NBCOT Early Determination Review Payment Form URL: https://www.nbcot.org/-/media/NBCOT/PDFs/early-determination-review-paymentform.ashx?la=en

Program Accreditation

RVCC’s OTA program 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 its web address is www.acoteonline.org. RVCC’s current accreditation status is: “Accredited – Inactive”

Graduates of the program will be able 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). Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based upon the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.


Total Credits
Course Sequencing

* For OCTA 125R and 212R: Must be matriculated in professional program or receive special written permission of instructor.

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Sub-Total Credits

* For AHLT 220R, AHLT 210R, OCTA 213R and OCTA 214R: Must be matriculated in professional program or receive special written permission of instructor.

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Sub-Total Credits

For OCTA 220R, 290R and 291R: Must be matriculated in professional program or receive special written permission of instructor.

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Sub-Total Credits