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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.

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 located at 7501 Wisconsin Ave, Suite 510E, Bethesda, MD 20814. ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA, is 301-652-6611 and its web address is


Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit 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 an average pass rate of 93% for 2021-2023 for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Exam.

NBCOT Exam Data is available here.

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.

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 May 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.

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Download program admissions packet

View upcoming information sessions

  • Graduation Year: 2023     Students Entering/Graduating:30/30     Graduation Rate:100%

  • Graduation Year: 2022     Students Entering/Graduating:24/21     Graduation Rate:87.5%

  • Graduation Year: 2021     Students Entering/Graduating:30/29     Graduation Rate:96.7%

  • Total for 3 Years:      Students Entering/Graduating:84/80     Graduation Rate:95.2%


    This program prepares students to sit for professional exams and/or apply for professional licensure that is required for employment in the related occupation in Virginia. ACOTE® accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs satisfy the states’ educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Students graduating from an ACOTE® accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational program are eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification exam and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, please refer to the AOTA State Licensure webpage.

    Is this program for you?

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