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Occupational Therapy Assistant

Associate’s Degree

Performing the functions of independent, everyday life is difficult for some people due to surgery, injuries, illnesses or other challenges. They need help learning or relearning the skills needed to play, work and carry on the basic activities that most of us take for granted.

That's the job of an occupational therapy assistant (OTA), working under the direction of an occupational therapist in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics and schools. 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. Or, an OTA might work with people with learning disabilities to help them become more independent.

The Virginia College OT Assistant Program

The Associate of Applied Science degree program in Occupational Therapy Assistant at Virginia College is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). In addition to classroom experience, this program also includes a 16-week internship of full time, on-the-job application of skills. Graduates will be eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination. 1

What Does an Occupational Therapist Assistant Do?

Many OTAs work in the offices of therapists specializing in fields such as physical, occupational and/or speech therapy. Regardless of the work setting, some OTA duties include:

  • Helping patients perform therapeutic activities such as specific stretches and other physical exercises
  • Working with children who have developmental disabilities, leading them in play activities that promote coordination and motor skills
  • Teaching patients to improve their daily life skills by using special equipment
  • Recording patient progress

Growth of Occupational Therapy Assistant Jobs

Employment of occupational therapy assistants is expected to increase 41%from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. 2

How Much Do Occupational Therapy Assistants Make?

The median pay in 2012 (the most recent year that data is available) for occupational therapy assistants was $48,940 per year. That's considerably more than the median annual wage for all workers, which was $34,750. 2

Virginia College Prepares You to Find the Job.

Not only do we help you learn to do the job, we help you find the job. The Virginia College Career Development Specialists can help you hone your job search skills like resume building, interview techniques, job market research and job-lead follow up. This team can also assist your job search through its relationships with local employers.

Get Started Now.

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. Complete the Request More Information form and take the first step toward your successful new career.

Available at the following locations:

Richmond, Virginia 

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). 

The occupational therapy assistant program 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 and its Web address is 

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 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 may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. NCBOT exam data can be found here:

The College makes no representation, promise, or guarantee that completion of this program assures 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.

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