School of Health & Natural Sciences

Occupational Therapy Assistant
Associate's Degree

Occupational Therapy is based on the belief that humans have an innate need to engage in everyday life tasks and activities that support their individual areas of occupation. Engagement in occupations is related to one's health, well-being, adaptation and life satisfaction. Individuals are entitled to engage in occupations that they find purposeful and meaningful. It is then the role of the occupational therapy assistant to direct their effort toward helping clients engage in daily life activities. The occupational therapy assistant’s knowledge of occupation is used to affect human performance so that the individual can reach his or her highest level of functioning regardless of disability, age, gender, race, or cultural background. Occupational therapy assistants work under the supervision of occupational therapists.

Career Opportunities

By choosing a career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you’ll have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives while entering a rewarding profession that has flexible and diverse job opportunities in areas such as:
  • Acute Care Hospitals
  • Rehab Hospitals
  • Schools and Pre-Schools
  • Early Intervention
  • Nursing Homes
  • Sub-Acute Care
  • Adult Day Care
  • Home Care
  • Design and Accessibility Consulting and Home Modification
  • Driver Rehabilitation and Training
  • Ergonomics Consulting
  • Health and Wellness Consulting
  • Low Vision Services
  • Private Practice Community Health Services
  • Technology and Assistive Device Development and Consulting


All of the OTA major concentration classes are held Monday - Thursday evenings at the Dobbs Ferry Campus. Weekend labs are held at the Dobbs Ferry campus and/or at local health care facilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I obtain information about the program?
To find out more about the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, call (914)674-7833 or e-mail the OTA program at You may also download the Program Information Sheet.
How can I apply to the program?

Students need to be admitted to Mercy College. Applications are then submitted for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. They are due:

1. April 1 for the Fall semester
2. November 1 for the Spring semester

Interviews will be arranged as applications are reviewed for the Fall and Spring semesters.

When and where are courses held?
All of the OTA major concentration classes are held at the Dobbs Ferry Campus. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday OTA classes are from 6:00 PM - 8:45 PM, Tuesday evening class is from 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM. Additionally, there are three clinical lab days each semester that will be held either on a Saturday or Sunday. Clinical lab days may be held at the Dobbs Ferry campus and/or at local health care facilities.
How long will it take me to complete the program?
The answer to this question depends on your personal situation. The program can be tailored to your personal needs. The OTA program can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis. The full-time program consists of two years. In the first year, the student completes all pre-requisite courses. During the second year, the student completes the OTA core courses. Upon completion of the courses, students complete (2) eight to ten week Level II Fieldwork placements. Level II Fieldwork placements must be completed within 18 months upon completion of coursework.

The part-time program requires that all coursework (including Level II Fieldwork) must be completed within 5 years from initiation of coursework. Therefore, at the maximum, students have 3 ½ years to complete the core coursework and 18 months to complete Level II Fieldwork.
What are the fieldwork requirements of the program?

Level I: Each of the major module application courses (7 Credit - Childhood & Adolescents & 7 Credit - Adulthood & Maturity) has imbedded in the course 1 credit towards a Fieldwork I experience. This experience requires 21 hours of fieldwork time that may be taken on a once-a-week, part-time or consecutive-day basis depending on the site. These fieldwork experiences must be successfully completed over the duration of the appropriate semester in order to pass each 7-credit major module course.

Level II: Once all the academic coursework is successfully completed for the program, students are required to complete a minimum of (2) eight to ten-week full-time fieldwork placements. Fieldwork II placements typically are scheduled Monday through Friday; but some may require weekend hours. Requirements are based on the operating hours of the assigned fieldwork site. Fieldwork II placements may be taken in consecutive semesters or in some circumstances, students may have a semester between fieldwork experiences. The fieldwork experiences are arranged by the Associate Director/Clinical Education Coordinator. Every attempt will be made to schedule fieldwork within one hour travel time from your home. Both Fieldwork level II experiences must be completed within 18 months of the completion of academic coursework.

Does New York State require a national board’s exam?
Yes. Any person who graduates from an occupational therapy assistant program is required to pass the national certification exam in order to practice as occupational therapy assistant in New York State. The exam is given by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT).

A limited permit in occupational therapy allows an individual who has completed an occupational therapy educational program to work, under supervision, between the completion of the program and the time that the licensing examination results are received. A graduate may apply for a limited permit through the New York State Office of Professions and it is valid for one year. It may be renewed once, at the discretion of the Department, for one additional year. To do so you must submit a new application, an explanation as to why you failed to become licensed within the year of the original permit and the appropriate fee.