Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Keep reading for details on attending a virtual information session and changes to observation hours requirements. Now is the time to pursue a career in healthcare. To get started, enroll at the college, then complete a program application using the instructions on this page. Program applications are currently being accepted by email only. Admissions Specialists are available to help you by phone or by email. Call 704.330.6284 or 704.330.6958 to schedule your personal phone appointment.

What You Will Learn

Enroll in the occupational therapy assistant program at Central Piedmont and earn an Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant. Occupational therapist assistants (OTAs) are drawn to helping people and are compassionate and encouraging. In their role, they follow a treatment plan to help their patients improve movements and functions. Because they work closely with patients and occupational therapists, they must have strong communication skills.

Occupational therapy assistants help individuals of all ages with rehabilitative activities and exercises outlined in a treatment plan developed in collaboration with an occupational therapist.

Occupational therapy assistants, through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations), help people affected by disease, illness, injury, or condition, to participate in the things they want and need to do.

Occupational therapy has a holistic perspective, focusing on finding a fit between the person, their environment, and their chosen life activities/occupations.

In our occupational therapy program you will quickly acquire foundational knowledge in occupational therapy theory, kinesiology, therapy and medical terminology, and therapy principles.

You will practice intervention and preparatory techniques to safely monitor and evaluate patient performance related to sensation, movement, vision, perception, cognition, emotions, and daily routines.

Our students also learn how to review medical history, maintain patient records, perform patient transportation, and perform therapy activities using specialized equipment for patients of varying ages and abilities. Through training, you will also study legal regulations, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act; professional and ethical standards; and federal, state, and local requirements.

Graduates of our program are eligible to take the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

After successful completion, they become Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA). Once you successfully pass the national certification examination, you can apply for a license in any state.

Review the virtual information session

Why Choose Central Piedmont

Central Piedmont’s occupational therapy assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Program outcomes:

  • 2018: 18 graduates with a 100% graduation rate; 100% pass rate on the certification exam
  • 2017: 24 student graduates with a 92% graduation rate; 100% pass rate on the certification exam
  • 2016: 23 student graduates with a 96% graduation rate; 95% pass rate on the certification exam
  • total student graduates for this program for 2016-2018 was 65
  • NBCOT program data results

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE):

6116 Executive Boulevard
Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929

In our program, you will spend more than 600 hours of supervised clinical training in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, pediatric clinics, and other settings to gain invaluable hands-on experience that supplements and complements traditional classroom learning. Our program has a 100% pass rate for 2015 for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy certification examination.

You will also have the opportunity to participate in the Student Occupational Therapy Association.

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

Central Piedmont provided me with many resources and ways to create a small community within my program. When you’re connected to your community, it’s not just about coming to class. It’s about coming to the campus to make connections and obtain experience. Sandra Barrera '19 Read Sandra's story

The Details

  • Program Options

    Earn an occupational therapy assistant Associate in Applied Science. The Human Services Technology program also awards an interdisciplinary certificate in children with exceptionalities offered in collaboration with the Early Childhood Education and occupational therapy assistant programs.

    The college catalog details the occupational therapy assistant program options currently available at Central Piedmont as well as program eligibility and course requirements. If you would like information on opportunities to transfer associate degree credit to a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Resource Center.

    Visiting Students

    If you wish to transfer occupational therapy assistant course credit back to your home institution, explore how to enroll at Central Piedmont as a visiting student.

    Corporate and Continuing Education

    Central Piedmont's Corporate and Continuing Education provides non-credit, non-degree courses and programs, including job skills, industry-focused career training, certificates, certifications, professional licensure, and personal enrichment. Day, evening, weekend, and online opportunities are available.

    College and Career Readiness

    If you are looking for programs to gain the knowledge or skills necessary to finish a high school degree or to get a job, visit Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness.

    College Credit for High School Students

    Visit Career and College Promise to learn about opportunities for high school students to earn college credit at Central Piedmont.

  • Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Requirements

    The occupational therapy assistant program requires the completion of 76 credit hours completed full-time in six consecutive semesters (two years). The curriculum includes general studies courses as well as program-specific courses. General studies courses can be taken at any time. For detailed information on occupational therapy assistant course and program requirements, visit the Central Piedmont Community College catalog

    While awaiting your admissions decision, you are encouraged — but not required — to complete general education courses, particularly BIO 168, BIO 169, MED 120, PSY 241, and PSY 281. There a time limit for expiration of BIO 168 and BIO 169: each class is looked at separately, and each of them must be fewer than five years old at the time of application. The points on the application are given for ENG 111 and/or BIO 168, not for higher level classes. The program chair may approve course substitutions for courses taken at another institution.

    Fieldwork education is a crucial part of your preparation to become an occupational therapy assistant. It provides you an opportunity to carry out practice and other professional responsibilities under supervision and role modeling by an experienced practitioner.

    Continue reading for the steps to apply to the program.


  • Locations

    Central Campus

    Program courses are only available during the day on weekdays. Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm where courses are available using Schedule Builder.

  • Course Delivery Methods

    • Classroom/Lab/Clinical
    • Combined (Classroom/Lab/Clinical and Online)

    Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm course delivery methods using Schedule Builder.

  • Occupational Therapy Assistant Careers

    Most states regulate occupational therapy assistants. Graduates of the program will be eligible 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). All states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.

    The exam is national, so you can take it anywhere it is offered. Your exam results will be reported to the appropriate state regulatory bodies that you have previously indicated. Once you successfully pass the national certification examination, you can apply for a license in any state.

    As opposed to an occupational therapist, occupational therapy aides usually receive their training on the job and are not eligible for certification or licensure. Occupational therapy aide programs are not accredited by AOTA's Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and certification of aides is not required.

    You can contact the North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy (NCBOT) to determine what services and regulations apply to occupational therapy aides in North Carolina. Occupational therapy aides provide supportive services to the occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.

    Occupational therapists are employed in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, long-term or extended care facilities, sheltered workshops, schools, home health programs, and community programs. 

    All entry-level educational programs prepare you to be a generalist. Specializing in one area of practice would be something you would pursue after you graduate and successfully pass the national certification examination. Many practitioners do select a specialty area of practice.

    Others change their area of practice throughout their careers. Occupational therapy provides a great deal of career flexibility. Visit Central Piedmont’s Career Coach or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for occupational therapy assistant career requirements and opportunities, salary information, and job openings.

  • Costs and Aid

    Central Piedmont provides real-world, affordable, hands-on education and career training. Learn how much it costs to attend Central Piedmont. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

    Occupational Therapy Assistant Costs

    In addition to regular tuition and fees, there are laboratory fees assigned to courses with a lab/clinical component. Additional costs include textbooks, workbooks, medical fees for a physical exam, and drug screening and immunizations.

    Total estimated program costs (PDF)

    Occupational Therapy Assistant Scholarships

    In particular, students interested in the occupational therapy assistant program should consider the following scholarships. Please note that many scholarships are managed by organizations outside of Central Piedmont.

  • Review the Virtual Information Session

    Review the virtual information session. You'll be able to learn more about our program and get points on your application for attending once you're ready to get started with the admissions process. The virtual information session will prompt you to:

    1. Provide us with some basic contact information information about yourself so that we know you are interested in the program.
    2. Watch the video: the full video is approximately 25 minutes long and contains all of the information provided at an in-person information session.
    3. Answer three final questions about information provided in the video and select "Submit" so that we can credit you for attending once you apply.
  • Related Programs

  • Admitted Students: Find Your Faculty Advisor

    Students at Central Piedmont have a faculty advisor for each program of study offered.

    Contact occupationaltherapyassistant@cpcc.edu.

Apply to the Program

There is only one admission cycle per year which starts each spring semester. Applications are accepted in the fall semester to begin the program in January. The application requires completion of observation or volunteer experience.

It is suggested that you contact local facilities that employ occupational therapists and/or occupational therapy assistants (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, or school systems) to set this up. You can find these numbers on the internet under occupational therapy or rehabilitation.

You can also look for specific settings such as Pediatric Occupational Therapy Clinics. Applicants to the program will need to complete observation experiences totaling at least 12 hours in at least 2 separate environments and with clients from different age groups or conditions.

These requests are made quite frequently and you will find most facilities accommodating. Be prepared to discuss your reason for the request and your availability. You are advised to call facilities rather than email them.

Meet with a program admissions specialist if you have questions.