Occupational Therapy Assistant (Associate's) - Richmond, Virginia

Occupational Therapy Assistant (Associate's)

Associate of Applied Science

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Learning, playing, working and caring for our families are among the "occupations of life." We take them for granted, but sometimes—due to physical, emotional or other challenges—the job of living is difficult for some people who can't fully participate in everyday tasks or live independently.

Occupational therapy assistants (OTA) work under the direction of occupational therapists in treating patients with injuries, illnesses or disabilities. They help these patients develop, recover and improve the skills needed for daily life and work. For example, an OTA might work with injured workers to help them get back into the work force by teaching them how to work around lost motor skills. An OTA might work with people with learning disabilities to teach them skills that let them be more independent.

The Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant prepares the student for positions in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and schools. Many OTAs work in the offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists.

Employment of occupational therapy assistants is expected to increase 43 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.1

What do OTAs do?2 Here's a brief summary:

  • Help patients perform therapeutic activities, such as specific stretches and other physical exercises;
  • Work with children who have developmental disabilities, leading them in play activities that promote coordination and motor skills;
  • Teach patients how to use special equipment that improve their daily life skills;
  • Record patients progress, report to occupational therapists and perform other administrative tasks.

In addition to classroom experience, this program will also include a 16–week internship of full–time, on–the–job application of skills.

If you are looking for a challenging career and have a desire to learn, achieve, and give your best to society, a career as an occupational therapy assistant may be for you.

1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, April 6, 2012
2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, April 6, 2012

NOTE:  The Occupational Therapy Assistant program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) c/o Accreditation Department, 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. The ACOTE website is www.acoteonline.org.

ACOTE accreditation is a three phased process. The first phase, the awarding of Candidacy Status allows the program begin the enrollment process. When the Candidacy Status is granted, the program may admit its first class of students and proceed with the "Initial Review". In this step the program assesses its compliance with the ACOTE Standards and submits an initial Report of Self Study. Upon review of this report, ACOTE grants, defers action on, or denies a Letter of Review. The granting of the Letter of Review indicates that on the basis of the paper review of the submitted materials, ACOTE has determined that the program is likely to meet the applicable ACOTE Standards if fully implemented in accordance with its plans. THE GRANTING OF A LETTER OF REVIEW IS NOT A GUARANTEE OF ACCREDITATION STATUS.

Graduates of the program 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). The NBCOT is located at 12 South Summit Av., Suite 100, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, telephone number 301-990-7979 web site www.nbcot.org. After successful completion of this exam, the graduate will be a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA ). In addition, most states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Students must graduate from an accredited program to sit for the NBCOT certification exam. The College makes no representation, promise, or guarantee that accreditation will be granted by ACOTE, or that completion of this program assures eligibility for or passage of any certification examination or acceptance by any state board. Prospective and current students, as well as graduates, are responsible for researching and understanding all examination, registration, or licensure requirements in any state in which they seek to become registered, licensed, or employed.


Virginia College is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges (ACICS). ACICS has granted approval for Virginia College to offer this program. Virginia College in Richmond is licensed to operate by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).


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*Program details subject to change. See the official campus catalog and appropriate addenda for the latest information.


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