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Occupational Therapy Assistant

Make a difference in someone’s life – every day

Tidewater Community College’s nationally accredited occupational therapy assistant program will get you moving — toward a rewarding career. Occupational therapy assistants help people regain independence and live life to the fullest after an illness or injury. Sometimes that means training patients to brush their teeth or dress and bathe themselves. Other times it can be helping them learn to use a wheelchair or rehab equipment. Occupational therapy assistants establish a partnership with their patients, who range from young children to the elderly.

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Virginia Beach Campus
Associate of Applied Science - Occupational Therapy Assistant

Learn how to assist individuals in meeting a level of independence to perform the occupational roles necessary for productive living. Course work includes: kinesiology, neurological concepts, physical and developmental disabilities therapy, therapeutic media and skills, and assistive technology.

Additional Program Information:

The Occupational Therapy/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 (2082) and its web address is


Individuals in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program may elect to pursue professional certification following completion of the associate degree. The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) offers a national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant. After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).

Admission to the occupational therapy assistant program is very selective and requires a separate application in addition to general admission to the college.

To qualify for this competitive program, you will need to complete and submit your application by March 15 for fall admission.

Applicants must also attend a mandatory information session, which is held the third Thursday of each month at 3 p.m. (except December) at the Regional Health Professions Center on the Virginia Beach Campus.

Admission to the college does not guarantee admission to the occupational therapy assistant program.

Download program information packet

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  • 2018 – 29 graduates – 93.5% graduation rate
  • 2017 – 27 graduates – 90% graduation rate
  • 2016 – 30 graduates – 100% graduation rate

Overall 3 year graduation rate – 86 graduates – 94.5%

Retention rate – 96.7%

Graduates of the program will be eligible to site for the National Certification Exam for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the graduate will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).

TCC has a 96.7% pass rate for 2016-2018 for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Exam.

In addition, all states require licensure 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 a state licensure.

Is this program for you?

Yes, if you:
  • have excellent communication skills
  • have patience
  • enjoy working with people

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