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  • A.A.S. in Occupational Therapy Assistant

    Help individuals restore their ability to do the things they need, want or are expected to do
    Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant and join an exciting and rewarding field.
    School of Health and Natural Sciences
    Dobbs Ferry

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Personal Information

Occupational Therapy Assistant A.A.S. Curriculum

General Education Requirements 34 Credits
Major Concentration: OTA 38 Credits
Total 72 Credits

General Education Requirements

  • BIOL 130 Hum Anatomy & Physio I Lecture
  • CISC 120 Intro Computers/App Software
  • ENGL 111 Written Engl/Lit Studies I
  • ENGL 112 Written Engl & Lit Studies II
  • HIST 101 Any History Course
  • PHIL 112 Logical Thinking
  • PHYS 110 Introduction to Physics
  • PSYN 101 Introduction to Psychology
  • SPCM 110 Oral Communications
  • SOCL 101 Introduction to Sociology
  • HLSC 205 Stnd Sfty Precaut/Hlth Care Pr
  • HLSC 210 Ovrview Occup Therapy Practice
  • HLSC 225 Intro Hlth Prof Lit/Sci Write

Anatomy and Physics pre-requisite courses must have been taken within the last five years.

Major Concentration Courses - Fall

  • OCTR 201 OT Practice Assistnt: Overview
  • OCTR 204 OT Practice Assistnt: Med Cond
  • OCTR 203 OT Practice Assist/Ther Mod I
  • OCTR 260 OT Practice Assistn/Child Adol*

*One credit is applied to Fieldwork Level I Experience.

Major Concentration Courses - Spring

  • OCTR 218 OT Practice Assistn/Inter Skls
  • OCTR 206 OT Practice Assist/Ther Mod II
  • OCTR 207 OT Practice Assist/Synopsis
  • OCTR 214 OT Pract Assist:Adult/Matur*

*One credit is applied to Fieldwork Level I Experience.

Major Concentration Courses - Fieldwork Level II

  • OCTR 209 OTP Assist: Advanced Clin Ed I
  • OCTR 210 OTP Assist: Advnced Clin Ed II

NOTE: All Occupational Therapy Assistant students are required to complete all Level II Fieldwork within 18 months following completion of academic coursework. All required coursework and fieldwork must be completed within five years from the initiation of coursework in the Major Concentration of Occupational Therapy.

NOTE: A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Essential Performance Standards 

The program has an "Essential Performance Standards" form that outlines the necessary affective skills and professional behaviors, communication/interpersonal skills, psychomotor skills, cognitive skills and self-care skills deemed essential for completion of the program and performance as a competent occupational therapy assistant. This form is signed by the student stating they either are or are not capable of performing  the skills and abilities that are listed.



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
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.
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.
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.
How long does earning a degree take?
Full time students can complete the 72-credit degree program in two years.
Is Mercy College a nonsectarian institution?
Yes. Qualified applicants are admitted without regard to race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age or physical disability.
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.
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: April 1 for the Fall semester and November 1 for the Spring semester. Interviews will be arranged as applications are reviewed for the Fall and Spring semesters.
Susan Mulliken Clinical Education Contract Coordinator
Christine Sullivan Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Assistant
Cristina Dumitrescu Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistant Overview

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program at Mercy College is a full or part-time, evening program leading to a 72-credit Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Occupational Therapy. As a graduate, you’ll be prepared to perform as an entry level Occupational Therapy Assistant. Classes are held Monday - Thursday evenings at the Dobbs Ferry Campus. Three additional clinical lab days are scheduled on either a Saturday or Sunday each semester.

Occupational Therapy Assistant FAQS

Is Mercy College a nonsectarian institution?
Yes. Qualified applicants are admitted without regard to race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age or physical disability.
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: April 1 for the Fall semester and November 1 for the Spring semester. Interviews will be arranged as applications are reviewed for the Fall and Spring semesters.

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
Service Learning @Mercy
Meet Christine Sullivan, Program Director, Occupational Therapy Assistant program

Learn about her story and explore Occupational Therapy at Mercy College.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Fast Facts

  • Full or part-time program
  • Classes held Monday - Thursday evenings
  • 75% of 2012 and 2013 graduates secured positions as occupational therapy assistants within three months of graduation  
Information Sheet - Fall, 2015 and Spring, 2016

Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
Information Sheet - Fall, 2015 and Spring, 2016


The Mercy College 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 phone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA. Graduates of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be Certified Occupational Therapist 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. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

For further information on these limitations, you can contact NBCOT at: National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, 12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877 - (301) 990-7979. Applicants are also encouraged to contact the State Board of Occupational Therapy in the state they anticipate practicing to investigate any limitations.

NBCOT Certification

Degree Completion

Students who enter the occupational therapy assistant program with all general education prerequisite courses completed typically meet requirements for graduation within 18 months. Below is a chart indicating the number of students who graduated from the program and the graduation rate for each class for the past 3 years. The overall graduation rate for the past 3 years (2012, 2013 and 2014) is 82%.

Class of: 2012 2013 2014
Total number of program graduates 23 27 26
Graduation rate 88% 77% 81%


NBCOT Certification

For 2013, the program had an overall pass rate of 89% for graduates taking the NBCOT exam within 1 year of graduation: .


Overall, employer surveys indicated that employers are satisfied with Mercy College occupational therapy assistant program graduates. 100% of employers indicated satisfaction with Mercy College occupational therapy assistant program graduates as entry-level generalist practitioners in terms of professional skills and behaviors, interpersonal communication and critical thinking. 

75% of the students who graduated in 2014 and sought employment within the occupational therapy profession began working within three months of graduation. One hundred percent of employers stated they would hire a Mercy graduate in the future.

Degree Requirements

Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Requirements:

  1. Students must earn a grade of C or better in all general education pre-requisite courses and all occupational therapy assistant core courses (those with the prefix "OCTR").
  2. Any student who receives a grade of C- or below in any OTA core course (prefix “OCTR”) must repeat the course. 
  3. If a student is placed on academic probation as per college policy, the student is required to meet with their OTA faculty advisor in order to develop an educational plan.
  4. Students must take all courses in the sequence according to the curriculum design of the Program.
  5. If a student must repeat a course for any reason, they must wait to do so until the course is offered the following academic year.
  6. A grade of F in any occupational therapy assistant course may be grounds for dismissal. The faculty will discuss the situation and will make the final decision regarding whether dismissal from the program is warranted, depending on the reason for the failure.
  7. Students who receive an unsatisfactory in any category in the Fieldwork I Experience during any semester will have their records reviewed by the Occupational Therapy Assistant faculty. The faculty will decide if the student may repeat the experience, or if the student will be permitted to repeat the entire major module course. In either case, the student will receive an educational plan that is designed by the faculty that addresses the student's particular issues.
  8. Students may not take any Fieldwork II experiences until they have successfully completed all Fieldwork I experiences.
  9. Should a student fail a Fieldwork II experience, the faculty will discuss the reasons for the failure and a decision will be made as to whether the student will be given an opportunity to repeat the fieldwork experience. Reasons for the decision will be shared with the student during a face-to-face or telephone meeting with the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and the program director (o designee). An "Educational Contract" for the repeated FW II assignment will be written by the Academic Fieldwork Coordingator and signed by the student and also the program director prior to the student repeating the failed experience. Failure to uphold the specifications of the educational contract will result in failure of the repeated fieldwork placement and automatic dismissal from the program. The student must register and pay tuition for any repeated Fieldwork course (OCTR 209 0r 210).
  10. Failure in any two Fieldwork experiences, Fieldwork I or II, will result in dismissal from the program.
  11. Students are evaluated by the faculty and their peers (anonymously) throughout the Program. 
  12. During clinical fieldwork experiences, student work schedules may not interfere with the hours they spend at the fieldwork site.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Objectives

The Mercy College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is organized around a developmental model, which examines the impact and effect of life challenges and occupations throughout the life span. Consistent with its philosophy, the program is designed to utilize the stages of human development. The developmental approach provides the students with a learning framework from which to develop their skills and abilities as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. The program is divided into four modules which are presented in an evening/weekend format. These modules focus on application of material in a variety of settings and with different populations in a developmental sequence so that the students learn to generalize the information and are able to use it to solve problems as they develop their own knowledge base.

The pediatric and adult major module courses require 21 hours of Level 1 Fieldwork for each course. These Level I Fieldwork experiences are designed to provide practical application of classroom work.

Upon completion of all course requirements, students complete two full-time Level II Fieldwork experiences for eight to ten weeks each. All Level II Fieldwork experiences must be successfully completed within 18 months of the academic coursework in order to satisfy degree requirements.