Occupational Therapy Assistant

Why Study Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy is a health and rehabilitation profession that helps people attain or regain more productive, satisfying or independent lives in their chosen occupations.

When lives have been disrupted by injuries, diseases, physical, emotional, developmental, social, or cognitive challenges, occupational therapy practitioners assist by adapting or modifying the environments so they may optimally function in everyday tasks.

Under the supervision of an Occupational Therapist, Occupational Therapy Assistants work with people, groups or populations to address those aspects of their performance that affect health, well-being and quality of life.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The OTA Program Application due date is November 15, 2021. Please send all completed applications to: [email protected].

Why Choose RCC?

The 64 credit A.A.S. degree is generally completed in 2.5 years. Sixteen weeks of full time clinical fieldwork is required once the academic portion is completed.

The program is designed to prepare graduates to sit for a National Certification Exam and apply for state licensure as a generalist Occupational Therapy Assistant.


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 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929.. ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA, is 301-652-AOTA.

Graduates of the program are prepared 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). New York State and most other states, require licensure in order to practice, in addition to national certification. (www.acoteonline.org)

*The OTA Program is accredited for a 10 year period from 2013/2014 to 2023/2024 which is the maximum number of years awarded.

The total number of graduates from the OTA program of Rockland Community College during the 3-year period of 2017-2019 was 118 with an overall graduation rate of 63%.

Graduation Year Student Entering / Graduating Graduation Rate
2017 43/23 53%
2018 45/28 62%
2019 31/23 74%
Total: 118/74 63%

The School Performance for 2020 is 100%. Students must pass a national licensing exam in order to obtain employment. Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy can be found online at:


One Bank Street, *Suite 300
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

School of Nursing, Health and Wellness

Real World Ready

Listening to workforce needs

Graduates of Rockland Community College are provided with a clear path to meaningful careers that meet the needs of businesses and industry in the communities we serve. Our students are trained in specific skills that are needed by employers, and guided through a career path that leads directly to workforce opportunities. With affordable tuition, students who begin their college careers at RCC are ready to meet the demands of the real world.

Free Career Exploration Assessment [ACCESS CODE: pathways]

Student Success

At Rockland Community College, you are provided with a Student Success Team that will help you with your academic journey, career exploration, transfer planning, support service referrals, and more! Your Team includes your Dean, Program Director, Faculty Advisor, Student Success Advisor, Connection Center Counselor, Financial Aid Advisor, Peer Mentors, and if you’re involved in any of these special programs, your Athletics, Honors, TRiO, and Veterans Advisors. During your first semester, you will take an ‘Introduction to the School’ course that will outline the various College offices and departments that can help you on your path.

Get Advised

Career Outlook

OTA graduates develop the skills necessary to work in a variety of healthcare settings, schools, out-patient clinics, pediatric settings, and home care settings.

Job Roles

Under the supervision of an Occupational Therapist, Occupational Therapy Assistants work with people, groups or populations to address those aspects of their performance that affect health, well-being and quality of life.


Opportunities for change and variety characterize the outstanding range of career options in occupational therapy. You will be welcomed by employers including public schools, rehabilitation hospitals, mental health centers, nursing homes, physician practices, and home health agencies.


Occupational Therapists

$91,170 Annually
National Average $87,480 annually

Occupational Therapy Assistants

$62,220 Annually
National Average $63,420 annually

Employment and wage data by occupation are based on the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, which collects information from approximately 51,000 businesses. labor.ny.gov

Alumni Spotlight

Get Started Today

Program Admission

*The Next Application Deadline is November 15, 2021.
Applications will ONLY be accepted via email sent to: [email protected]

No paper applications will be accepted.

The OTA program has an admissions process that a student must complete prior to beginning the OTA course of study. Currently, Information Sessions are held virtually throughout the year to provide interested individuals with current information about the program, curriculum, and application process. Sessions are usually one hour in length. Please contact the OTA program for more information.

Refer to the College catalog for information on policies and services applicable to all students at Rockland Community College. Because the health field changes so rapidly, adjustments to the curriculum, requirements and policies are sometimes necessary. The OTA faculty maintains the highest educational standards, which may require changes in the information and policies on this site without prior to notice.

I understand that in order to submit an application to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Rockland Community College I must:

  • Have earned a high school diploma or GED
  • Have applied and been accepted to Rockland Community College
  • Have taken the English and Math Assessment Exams; applicants must place to ENG 101. **If English 101 has already been completed, please contact Records to see if those credits will transfer. A C or above is required to submit application.
  • Earned a grade of C+ or better in BIO 110 (A&P I) (** see below)
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher at the time of submission of application
  • Attend an OTA Program Information Session.
  • Complete the mandatory Observation Requirement hours (minimum of 18) as outlined by the OTA Program. These hours have been waived. Please contact Program Director for alternate requirements. Virtual observation is acceptable.
  • Complete the Observation Report of an OT Setting as outlined by the OTA Program. (form included in application)
  • Obtain 2 Letters of Recommendation in sealed envelopes
  • Obtain a Valid Health Clearance Form from Records & Registration.
  • Complete the required OTA Self Reflection Essay.( form is included in application).
  • Obtain RCC transfer credit evaluation and verification of prior degree, if applicable
  • Obtain RCC transcript, if applicable

Application Deadline:

May 15 for admittance to fall semester.

November 15 for admittance to spring semester

Applications will only be accepted via email to: [email protected]

No paper applications will be accepted.

Only completed applications meeting the above requirements will be considered for review and possible acceptance to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. Admission is competitive and selective. Submitting an application DOES NOT GUARANTEE admission to the program.

**If accepted, a Provisional ‘Acceptance’ into the program will be granted to applicants enrolled in BIO 110 as long as all other requirements have been met. Formal acceptance will only be granted after a transcript showing BIO 110 with a grade of C+ or better is received by the OTA department

Program Policies

English & Mathematics Requirements:

  1. Students must place to ENG 101 in order for their application to be considered.
  2. Students who have completed ENG 101, ENG 102 with a grade lower than C must repeat the course/s prior to completion of the academic portion of the program (prior to placement in Level II fieldwork). It is strongly recommended that students complete the ENG 101/102 requirements during their first two semesters in the OTA program.
  3. Enrollment in Math courses is dependent upon Math Exam Placement results. Applicants must refer to Math department policies regarding placement and course requirements.


A grade of C is the minimum passing grade for all Liberal Arts courses in the occupational therapy curriculum. All OTA (OCC) courses in the curriculum require a final grade of C+ or better. Re-taking an OTA discipline (OCC) course requires a final grade of at least a B-.

If a student fails two courses with the OCC designation or fails the same OCC course twice, the student will be dismissed from the OTA program.

If a student is dismissed from the OTA program they will not be considered for reentry sooner than one year. Prior to reentry the student must successfully pass the current final exams of each occupational therapy course they previously passed if they want those credits to be accepted for the current program.

All occupational therapy concentration courses, (courses designated OCC) excluding Level II Fieldwork must be completed within eight semesters. Level II fieldwork must be completed within 18 months following completion of academic coursework.


All students must be advised by the OTA Program Chair (or designee) in order to register for any OTA course(s). Any student who registers for courses without advisement may be dismissed from the OTA program.


The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator (AFWC) arranges all Level I and Level II fieldwork placements. Students must refer any inquiries, concerns, or comments to the AFWC and not the clinical site directly.

Level I fieldwork is a required component of the final grade earned for all OTA course with a fieldwork requirement. Level I fieldwork not successfully completed will result in a failure for that course.

Program Expectations

The OTA Program maintains the highest educational standards. The study of occupational therapy is academically demanding. There is emphasis on accurate writing that is required in coursework, fieldwork and clinical practice. Professional behavior is expected in all aspects of the program, including verbal interactions in the classroom and written communication with instructors and clinical sites. There are many interpersonal demands that are required and you are expected to be respectful of and meet the needs of others; be culturally respectful and aware; and accepting of diversity of all persons.

The OTA Program requires that all core OT courses be completed within eight (8) consecutive semesters (fall/spring). Level II fieldwork must be completed within eighteen (18) months following completion of academic preparation.

Progression Policy after Withdrawal from a Core OT Course

A student enrolled in the OTA Program may withdraw from a core OT course (course designated OCC) only one (1) time throughout his/her curriculum. A withdrawal (course grade of W) may be granted with documentation outlining the necessity for the request. A student must submit an application to repeat, complete the appropriate self-assessment and remediation plan and meet with OT department personnel. Re-admittance to a course will be granted on a space available basis.

To pass a course on the second opportunity a student must achieve a final grade of B- or higher. If a passing grade of B- is not earned, the student may not repeat the course again. The student is then dismissed from the program.

Only one (1) core OT course (course designated as OCC) withdrawal is permitted while enrolled in the OTA Program. Subsequent withdrawals will result in dismissal from the program, If a student withdraws from a semester of core OT courses (courses designated as OCC), policy applicable to students re-applying to the OTA Program after failure, dismissal or withdrawal will be implemented.

Progression Policy for Repeating a Core OT Course after Failure

Students who plan to repeat a core OT course (course designated as OCC) following a failure in a previous semester must submit an application to repeat, complete a self-assessment and remediation plan and meet with OT department personnel. Re-admittance to a course will be granted on a seat available basis. To pass a course on the second opportunity a student must achieve a final grade of B- or higher. If a passing grade of B- is not earned, the student may not repeat the course again. The student is then dismissed from the program.

  1. ENG 101, ENG 102 and all liberal arts requirements in the occupational therapy curriculum must be completed with a grade of C or higher.
  2. BIO 110, BIO 111 and all core OT courses (courses designated as OCC) must be completed with a grade of C+ or higher. Any core OT course (course designated as OCC) repeated must be completed with a grade of B- or higher.
  3. Completion of MAT 065 and/or MAT 101 or 100 is a graduation requirement for all students whose entering math placement is MAT 065 and/or MAT 101/100 although math is not a curriculum requirement for OT. A math placement of MAT 101 or higher indicates that a student has met the graduation requirement and no additional math courses are required. Please note that should a student pursue an advanced degree in Occupational Therapy or another course of study, MAT 101 or higher may be required.
  4. All Level II fieldwork must be completed within eighteen (18) months following completion of academic preparation.
  5. All core OT courses (courses designated as OCC) must be completed within eight (8) consecutive semesters (fall/spring).
  6. All course and/or degree requirements on the OTA degree sheet in effect at the time of a student’s admission to the program are required for graduation.
  7. Students must submit a completed Application for Graduation to the Records Office and pay the required graduation fee prior to the last date to apply for graduation, as stated in the college calendar, in order to be eligible for graduation.
  8. Students must wait until after the end of the semester and final grades have been received by the Records Office before requesting a transcript which reflects graduation transcript. If students need earlier verification of graduation they can request this by contacting the Registrar.

Students who plan to repeat a core OT course (course designated as OCC) following a failure in a previous semester must submit an application to repeat, complete a self-assessment and remediation plan and meet with OT department personnel. Re-admittance to a course will be granted on a seat available basis. To pass a course on the second opportunity a student must achieve a final grade of B- or higher. If a passing grade of B- is not earned, the student may not repeat the course again. The student is then dismissed from the program.

Certification is awarded by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. It allows a student to use the identifying initials “COTA” after his/her name. It is granted as the result of passing the national certification examination. A committee of OTRs and COTAs selected by NBCOT who have a diverse practice background prepare the examination questions. The examination consists of 200 multiple choice questions to be completed in four hours. The examination is offered on-line by a testing service at sites throughout the United States.

Each student is responsible for completing his/her application and paying the fee/s. As of January 2018 the on-line fee for the Certification Examination is $515 ($559 for a paper application). An official transcript verifying graduation is required. For complete examination information including how to schedule a web-based practice examination contact:

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy
One Bank Street, Suite 300
Gaithersburg, MD 20878*


Licensure allows a student to be legally authorized to practice in a particular state or jurisdiction. An individual cannot practice in New York State without this credential and certification by NBCOT. A renewal application and fee will be required every three years for as long as one remains in practice. Most other states and jurisdictions have laws that also require legal licensure, certification and/or registration to practice. Most states issue a temporary license which allows the individual to practice in the interim between graduation and the passing of the initial certification examination.

As of May 2016, new OTA licensure will take effect in New York State. Please refer to the address below for specific requirements/ additional fees.

It is the graduate’s responsibility to secure the proper credentials prior to practice. To receive an application contact:

Office of the Professions
Division of Professional Licensing Services
Occupational Therapy Unit
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234-1000*


*If you have a felony conviction it may interfere with the certification and licensure process. Contact the agencies (addresses above) for more information.

OTA Fieldwork Expectations

Level I fieldwork experiences provide students with meaningful opportunities to interact with clients, OT practitioners and staff. During Level I fieldwork students are required to visit specific sites outside of their regularly scheduled class time. These visits are designed to enhance understanding of basic course content and provide opportunities for developing professional behaviors, competent observation skills and therapeutic affective skills.

Level I fieldwork is required for 6 OTA courses (OCC 101, OCC 201, OCC 202, OCC 204, OCC 205, OCC 207). Additional time in a variety of community settings may also be required in other OTA courses, as requested by the course instructor. Students must successfully complete the fieldwork component of each course in order to earn a passing grade for the course. Travel is required, as is the ability to schedule and attend fieldwork so that it does not interfere with class attendance.

Level II fieldwork is the final step in the academic program and occurs after all other course work has been successfully completed. Level II fieldwork consists of two separate 5 credit experiences (OCC 171, OCC 172). Each fieldwork experience requires the student to spend a minimum of 8-10 weeks full time at a facility where the academic knowledge learned in the classroom will be applied in an occupational therapy setting. Students in Level II fieldwork are supervised and evaluated by a licensed OTR or COTA. All level II Fieldwork must be completed within 18 months following completion of academic preparation coursework.

  • Fieldwork sites are located throughout the tri-state area (within a 65 mile radius of the Suffern campus) Level I placements are distributed by lottery. Level II placements are made at the discretion of the academic fieldwork coordinator after student preferences have been considered.
  • Due to the nature of the occupational therapy profession, students should expect to attend fieldwork weekdays between the hours of 8:00-4:30 (not including travel).
  • Students must maintain current Health Clearance and provide proof of such to all fieldwork sites.
  • Students should be prepared to undergo criminal background checks, drug testing and finger printing prior to fieldwork as these may be required by fieldwork sites.

OTA Program Cost

 OTA Program 2021/2022 Full-Time SemesterOTA Program 2021/2022
Part-Time Per Credit
Total Program Cost 2021-2022
4 semesters and Fieldwork A/B
Tuition – NYS Resident with Certificate +$2,606.00$218.00
per credit
Tuition – Out of State Resident/F1 Visa++$5,212.00$436.00
per credit
Student Activities Fees$74.00
per semester
$4.50 per credit
(Min $9.00)
Malpractice Insurance$13.50
per course**
per course**
Technology Fee$15.00
per credit
per credit
Books & SuppliesFull-Time
15-16 credit hour load
approx. $700
7-8 credit hour load
approx. $350

+Rockland County Resident and New York State “Non Rockland “residents with a Certificate of Residency
++Fall and Spring Semesters Only
* OCC 101, OCC 105, OCC 107, OCC 201, OCC 202, OCC 204, OCC 205
** Fieldwork A and B:  OCC 171, OCC 172
Transportation Costs: Varies depending on Days on Campus and Clinical Placements




How do I apply to the OTA program?
If you are not already admitted to the college, you must apply to the college first. The first step is attending an OT Information Session held at the College each month. The goal of these sessions is to review the application process, learn about the program curriculum and expectations. (Dates/rooms are subject to change.) Please call 845-574-4436 for more information or e-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]
How many students are accepted each year?
We accept 22 students each fall and 22 students each spring. Deadline for Fall admission is May 15 and Spring admission is November 15th. Applications are accepted up to these dates. See Application Process for more information.
How long will the program take me?
The program is 64 credits and requires a commitment of 5 semesters. However, many students complete the program at a slower pace due to the demanding nature of the coursework and their personal lives. We require students to complete the program in no longer than 8 semesters to ensure their knowledge is current in order to succeed in the national certification examination.
Can I complete the program by only attending at night or day?
All of the program’s courses are given one time during a semester. Some are day and some are evening classes. You need to have flexibility in your schedule. The program tries to meet the needs of those who need a day or evening class. The OTA program is not full-time study, but when taking your Liberal Arts concurrently with OTA courses, you may have a full-time caseload.
Do I need to take the English and Math Assessments?
Yes, you must take the English and Math Assessments. If you need any remedial English, it must be completed prior to beginning occupational therapy courses. Even if you are transferring Eng 101/102 credits, you must still take the English Placement Assessment. If you do not place at the Eng 101 level, it may delay your admittance into the program. If you need remedial math, you can begin occupational therapy; however you must successfully complete the remedial math before you begin level II fieldwork.
I already have college credits. Can they be applied to the program?
Yes, once admitted to the college, the Records department will review your transcript and notify you regarding which courses will transfer to the program. An official college transcript should be sent to the Records Office for evaluation.
I already have my bachelor’s degree, what do I do?
If you want to become a professional therapist (OTR) then select an appropriate master’s program. You may choose to complete some prerequisites at Rockland Community College. Visit www.aota.org. They have a listing of all associate, master and doctorate programs according to state.
What other expectations are there for students beyond the academic ones?
The program seeks to build professional responsibilities in its students. We expect our graduates to be empathetic people, and to be caring and show concern for others. Above average interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to interact appropriately with patients, staff and families is essential to the profession. If a student demonstrates a significant lack in these areas, they may be dismissed from the program.
Is it true no grade lower than C+ is accepted by the program?
Yes, all courses in the OT curriculum require a passing grade of C+. The reason for this policy change is to insure that graduates of the program are competent practitioners and are sufficiently prepared to pass the national certification examination.
How many times can I repeat a course?
If you get below a C+ you may repeat an OCC course once more. The program reviews each course that a student wishes to re-take, and admission into a course is based on availability. A higher final grade (B-) is expected for any course re-taken. A second failure in any OCC course results in being dismissed from the program. If you get below a C in a non-OCC course it can be repeated until you do get a C or higher (with the exception of BIO 110/BIO 111) However, if failures persist and it appears college academic work is too challenging, you may be dismissed from the program.
What is fieldwork?
All education programs for health professionals require clinical or fieldwork experiences. These experiences tie what is taught in class to actual experiences students have with clients (patients) in treatment settings. Students get to practice their skills and apply the knowledge they have gained through these clinical fieldwork experiences. These experiences are completed during the daytime hours. Level I fieldwork is part of many of the core OTA courses in the curriculum and these clinical experiences are completed in addition to the semester coursework.
What is Level II Fieldwork?
Level II Fieldwork is experienced at the end of the program when all the academic courses are completed. The student spends the minimum of 16 weeks (full time) in two different sites supervised directly by an OTR or COTA, and treating patients/clients in an occupational therapy treatment program. This level II fieldwork experience are courses OCC 171 and OCC 172 for which the student earns a grade, receives credits and pays tuition. Fieldwork sites are selected to provide the student with strong clinical experiences and are an extremely important part of the occupational therapy education. Students are given 18 months to complete these two experiences.
Are there additional costs or fees associated with the program?
Yes, there is a malpractice insurance fee, the cost of a name tag, and materials fees in several courses.
Can I take courses in the summer and winter sessions?
You can take the liberal arts and sciences courses that are offered in the summer and winter sessions. If appropriate, Level II Fieldwork may be offered during these times.


What Does An Occupational Therapy Practitioner Do?

Occupational therapy uses everyday activities as the means of helping people to achieve independence.

For the person with a physical disability, the first focus is on performing critical daily activities, such as dressing, grooming, bathing, and eating. Once these skills are mastered, the occupational therapy program is built around the skills needed to perform a person’s daily responsibilities, such as caring for a home and family, participating in education, seeking and holding employment and participating in the social structure of the community.

The goals for a client with mental illness are also based on the ability to function independently. In treating mental or emotional problems, the occupational therapy program often includes practice in managing time, working productively with others, and enjoying leisure.

What Tasks Would I Be Performing During a Work Day?

Depending on your employer or the setting in which you work, your occupational therapy career may include:

  • aiding the growth and development of premature babies,
  • enhancing learning environments for physically challenged school children,
  • adapting home environments for people dealing with the effects of stroke,
  • analyzing job task requirements for an injured worker, or
  • participating in research to measure the effectiveness of treatment activities.
Where Do Occupational Therapy Practitioners Work?
Opportunities for change and variety characterize the outstanding range of career options in occupational therapy. You will be welcomed by employers, including public schools, rehabilitation hospitals, mental health centers, nursing homes, physician practices, and home health agencies. As your career progresses, you will want to consider advancement opportunities in management, specialization, teaching, research, or private practice.
Does Occupational Therapy Offer Opportunities For Individuals Of Culturally Diverse Backgrounds?

The Occupational Therapy profession is actively seeking to expand the number of practitioners representing the many aspects of cultural diversity in our society. Currently, target populations include African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, people with disabilities, and men – all of whom are underrepresented in the field.

For information on financial aid contact:

  • The National Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education for their publications on financial aid resources for individuals from culturally/ethnically diverse backgrounds (1-800-641-7824).
  • The HEALTH Resource Center for a publication on financial aid for students with disabilities (1-800-544-3284)
How Do I Prepare For An Occupational Therapy Career?

To become an occupational therapist, you may choose one of two routes: a post baccalaureate master’s program, or a professional master’s degree program. All Occupational Therapy educational programs include a period of supervised fieldwork experience.

To become an occupational therapy assistant, you must complete either a two-year associate degree or one of a limited number of certificate programs. These programs also include supervised fieldwork experience.

Because entrance requirements, prerequisites, and program components differ from school to school, it is important to get specific information from those programs to which you are interested in applying.

What Prerequisites Will I Need When Applying To An Occupational Therapy Program?
Schools typically require course work concentrating on the biological and behavioral sciences, including biology, psychology, and sociology. Most programs also require volunteer or paid work experience with person with disabilities.
How Can I Learn Which Colleges And Universities Offer Occupational Therapy Education Programs?

A nationwide listing of the more than 200 occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant education programs offered by colleges and universities is available from the American Occupational Therapy Association. The education programs are available on AOTA’s website at www.aota.org; click onto Student Resources for complete listing of schools nationwide.

Source: American Occupational Therapy Association

Notification of Disclosure

Federal Law limits the issuance of professional licenses, registrations and limited permits to United States citizens or qualified aliens. Those students who are not US citizens or qualified aliens should contact the NY State Education Department at 518-474-3817 or www.op.nysed.gov for further assistance.

All applicants should be made aware that when making an application to the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) you will be asked to answer questions regarding any felony convictions. NBCOT will consider any felony convictions on a case by case basis. If you have a history of a felony conviction it is strongly recommended you contact NBCOT immediately, (One Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878 or call 301-990-7979) or  www.NBCOT.org to see if you will eligible to take the certification exam.