Occupational Therapy Assistant A.A.S.
A work of heart.
Help people of all ages to regain, develop, or master everyday living skills for independent, productive, and satisfying lives with the two-year Occupational Therapy Assistant A.A.S. Degree program. The program’s academic and fieldwork training prepare you for a career in occupational therapy. Receive the training to work under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist, implementing intervention plans to enable participation in life activities for people of diverse ages, cultures, and abilities.
Learn to interact with healthcare providers and OT clients in a professional and meaningful manner. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national board exam for certification through the National Board of Certification for Occupational Therapy.
Program Accreditation Status: Good Standing
ACOTE c/o AOTA
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
Phone: 301-652-AOTA or 301-652-2682 or 301-652-6611
www.acoteonline.org | aota.org
Information sessions will be available virtually for Academic Year 2020-2021. OTA applications will be available mid-December. Applications for the incoming Fall 2021 class will be accepted January 1 - April 1, 2021. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
If you have additional questions regarding the application, selection, and admission process for the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at Nashville State Community College, please send an email to OTA@nscc.edu and put OTA Application and Admission in the subject line.
Program Office: W-35, Weld Building, Main Campus
615-353-3708 ~ Fax: 615-353-3608
Piper Sesnan, OTD, OTR
OTA Program Director
Admission and Selection Process
- Students who have previously accepted a program seat but did not begin program may not apply again.
- Applicants must be admitted/enrolled into Nashville State Community College before applying to the program.
- Applicants must have GPA of 2.0 or higher to apply to the NSCC OTA Program. GPA of 2.5 is preferred.
- Applicants must complete five required General Education courses with a grade of "C" or better. These courses include:
- BIOL 2010 Anatomy and Physiology I (must be completed within 5 years before beginning the program - since Fall 2016)
- If an applicant is accepted into the OTA program, BIOL 2010 must be completed before entering the OTA program in Fall 2021. If a student is accepted into the program, but unable to complete Anatomy and Physiology before entering the Fall 2021 semester, they will lose their seat in the program and will need to reapply for admission next year. The student is not guaranteed program admission upon reapplication.
- ENGL 1010 English Composition I
- PSYC 1030 Intro to Psychology (must be completed no later that the first Fall semester of the program)
- Humanities Elective
- COMM 2025 Fundamentals of Communication or COMM 2045 Public Speaking or PSYC 2130 Lifespan Development Psychology
(In accordance with our mission as a Tennessee Community College, Nashville State does not award priority or preferential status based on where a student completed General Education coursework. All transferring institutions are treated equally.)
- As applicable, an ESOL student must complete all coursework as recommended by the Michigan Test prior to acceptance into the NSCC OTA program. Students who waive ESOL recommended coursework are ineligible for the NSCC OTA Program.
- Per guidelines of the TN Department of Health Related Boards and the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), applicants need to review the "Questions of Moral Character" and the information provided regarding NBCOT exam eligibility and Tennessee Licensure eligibility. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. This information can be found on the OTA Program Application and at www.nbcot.com and tn.gov/heatlh/article/OT-about.
- CPR certification, criminal background checks, and drug screens are NOT required for program application. If selected to participate in the program, you will be provided with additional information or CPR certification, background checks, drug screens, and the timeline for completion.
Selection Process for Interview
- Interviews for the 2021 application cycle will be held via Zoom. Interview dates and times will be provided in the application packet. The application packet will be available January 2021.
- The interview committee consists of a current NSCC faculty member, a current NSCC OTA student, and a NSCC OTA program clinical supervisor.
- NOTE: The program faculty reserve the right to require an additional, personal interview with an applicant if the interview process does not provide the interviewers with sufficient information to rate the student.
- Applicants are randomly selected for interview dates.
- The OTA program interviews 90 applicants and accepts a maximum of 30 students.
- Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. The NSCC program will interview approximately 30 students per interview date.
- Application scores are ranked from highest to lowest. The top 90 scores will be selected for an interview.
- Only applicants selected for an interview will be considered for admission.
- Application scores based on this chart.
Information Regarding Program Selection Process
- During the interview, applicants are evaluated on professional appearance, personality as it relates to the OTA profession, creativity and problem solving, maturity, role as a group member, relating to others, communication skills and responses to interviewer questions.
- The Composite Admission Score is the total of the applicants score from the interview, writing sample, general education course completion, and GPA.
- Applicants will be notified mid-May regarding acceptance status via the email address provided on the application.
Criminal Background Checks
Prospective students will be required to provide a copy of a background check and drug screening. NSCC does not use the background check or drug screening as criteria for admission to the program. Background checks and drug screenings are required by clinical sites as a condition of participation. Students are required to participate in a variety of clinical experiences to successfully complete the program. For questions regarding the background check, please call 615-353-3708.
Graduates of our program must successfully complete the NBCOT Examination before they are eligible for licensure in the State of Tennessee. All OTA licensure applicants must have a criminal background check completed before licensure will be granted. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. If students have questions or concerns regarding criminal history and employment eligibility, please contact NBCOT at 301-990-7979 (www.nbcot.org) and the Tennessee Board of Occupational Therapy at 615-532-3202 or 800-778-4123
ESOL and Learning Support Course Requirements
Functional Requirements for Program Participation
The role of an Occupational Therapy Assistant is both rewarding and demanding. The following essential functions are required of all students who enroll in the Nashville State Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.
- Independently move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces
- Participate in transfers of patients (children to adult) from a variety of heights and surfaces
- Guard and assist patients with functional mobility
- Be able to physically manage self so as not to be a danger to others
- Trunk control adequate for independent balance and function
- No muscle spasms that consistently affect movement or stability
- Manipulation skills adequate to make notations, participate in clinic maintenance, adjust equipment, assist in patient/client movement, etc.
- Perform CPR
- Travel to and from academic and clinical sites
- Physically participate in an active, 8–10 hour school/work day, consistently.
- Use verbal, non-verbal, and written communication to effectively explain and/or demonstrate tasks and techniques to others
- Communicate effectively in English with patients, families and other healthcare providers, both verbally and in written form
- Effectively adapt communication for intended audience
- Speak with enough volume to be reasonably heard by intended audience
- Perceive, understand, and appropriately act on non-verbal communication, such as changes in mood, activity, facial expressions and postures
- Assume the role of an effective member of a healthcare team
- Function effectively under supervision, including collaboration as well as effectively receiving and providing feedback
- Interact and establish rapport with individuals and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds
Problem Solving/Critical Thinking
- Function effectively under stress
- Respond appropriately to emergencies
- Use sound judgment to adhere to infection control and safety procedures
- Demonstrate problem-solving skills that reflect consideration of multiple forms of information: written, verbal, observation, etc. Must be able to reason, measure, calculate, prioritize and synthesize information
- Address problems or questions to the appropriate person at the appropriate time
- Consistently follow policies and procedures required by clinical and academic settings, governmental regulations, and requirements of reimbursement sources
- Demonstrate the capacity to consistently, effectively, and efficiently plan, organize, and perform job duties within limited time frames according to current industry standards
- Read and understand information from textbooks, online resources, and other materials
- Synthesize information effectively to be able to demonstrate knowledge and skills through written work, tests and demonstrated performance: Student should be able to synthesize this information from a variety of formats. These formats include, but are not limited to text, lecture, video/computer, and demonstration.
- Data collection from a variety of sources and interpretation of materials that include, but are not limited to text, notes, online resources, observation, and clinical records
- Pay attention, without prompting, to teachers, guest speakers and other classmates during verbal presentations
- Effectively use a computer and computer programs. These include, but are not limited to: email, PowerPoint, search engines, up/downloading of documents, YouTube, and other online resource sites.
- Visually observe with enough acuity (in a variety of lighting conditions) to participate in lab activities, lectures and clinical experiences
- Read small print information—such as that can be found on medical equipment
- Hear sufficiently to perceive normal tone of voice to follow directions, participate in conversations, answer phones and intercoms
- Assess and treat all assigned clients, including palpation of the client
- Monitor vital signs
- Auditory, visual, and tactile abilities sufficient to assess patient status and perform treatments
- Perform responsibilities while in close proximity or in physical contact with others
- Emotional health and stability sufficient to complete complex patient care responsibilities within an allotted time
- Flexibility to function and remain calm under stressful conditions, including emergency situations, taxing academic, and clinical workloads
- Consistently demonstrate compassion, empathy, tact, honesty, responsibility, integrity, and strong work ethic
- Follow safety precautions
- Perform tasks and interventions within competency level and seek assistance and training when additional knowledge or competency skills are required
- Actively seek and participate in continuing professional education opportunities in order to maintain and improve knowledge and competence
- Utilize evidence and OT theories, models, and frames of reference to provide the most effective interventions for clients and patients
- Independently track and complete multiple tasks, meeting deadlines and priorities as set by self and others
- Effectively interact with diverse populations and personalities
- Document and report activities accurately according to the requirements of the setting as well as external regulations, policies or procedures, and professional ethics
OTA applications will be available mid-December. Applications for the incoming Fall 2021 class will be accepted January 1-April 1, 2021. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
Occupational Therapy A.A.S. Degree
Program Requirements (PDF)
In an attempt to keep expenses at a reasonable cost to the student, the faculty at NSCC research the OTA budget annually. Per this goal, estimated expenses vary at an approximate 2-year expenditure of $10,000 for all tuition and fees and additional expenses.
Additional Expenses include but are not limited to:
- Textbooks and Lab Materials (approximately $500 a semester)
- Fieldwork Attire
- Criminal Background & Drug Screen
- Liability Insurance
- CPR Certification Course
- Physical Exam
- Travel to Clinical Sites
Updated information regarding current tuition and fees may be found here. For financial aid information, please contact our financial aid office.
OTA Frequently Asked Questions
Separate OTA program application required.
Learn about the separate OTA program application and selection process below and by clicking Requirements to the right.
When will OTA program applications be available?
Applications are available beginning the first week of December each year. The application period runs through the first Friday in March. The application procedures are clearly outlined in the application packet, including selection criteria, timelines for interviews, notifications, etc.
How many students are selected for the program?
30 seats are available for incoming students.
How many people apply?
Over the past several years the OTA program has received over 200 applications for each application period.
Are volunteer hours required?
No, volunteer hours are not required.
What courses do I need to take in order to be able to apply?
Course information is outlined in detail on our program advising sheet (PDF).
What about Learning Support coursework or English as a Second Language?
Download PDF of ESOL and Learning Support Requirements for OTA Program Application
Must I complete all General Education coursework before I apply to the OTA Program?
No. However, if you require Learning Support coursework (new NSCC students are notified via the Admissions office), those courses must be completed prior to application.
Points are awarded during the application review process for any required General Education course that is completed or in progress (proof via transcript required at time of application).
How long is the Program?
The NSCC OTA Program is two years in length (fall and spring semesters only), regardless of the prior completion of general education coursework. Students will spend three semesters in campus-based OTA coursework and one semester in internships.
I’ve already completed a degree (at any level). Will it still take two years?
Are evening classes available? Where can I take the classes?
All OTA classes are day classes on the Nashville State Main Campus, there are no evening or weekend options available. While some of our courses are offered online, students can expect to spend 2–4 days a week on campus the first three semesters (schedule varies by semester), and must complete two eight-week internships (full time, days only) the last semester in the program.
How much does it cost to go through the OTA Program?
Updated information regarding current tuition and fees may be found here. For financial aid information, please contact our financial aid office. Students can expect to spend approximately $500 per semester for books and supporting materials.
What skills do I need to be successful in the OTA Program and as an OTA?
The skills necessary to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant will be learned through the OTA Curriculum. However, there are certain skills and abilities that are required of all students who enroll in the OTA Program. Please click Requirements on the right and review the Functional Requirements for Program Participation information.
Call 615-353-3383 or email Piper.Sesnan@nscc.edu.
Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination For The Occupational Therapy Assistant administered by the National Board For Certification In Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination.
After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).
Tennessee requires licensure to practice as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. All applicants for Tennessee licensure must pass the NBCOT certification examination, in addition to other requirements. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to attain state licensure.
If students have questions or concerns regarding criminal history and employment eligibility, please contact NBCOT at 301-990-7979 and the Tennessee Board of Occupational Therapy at 615-532-3202 or 800-778-4123.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Employment
An Occupational Therapy Assistant works under the direction of an Occupational Therapist in hospitals, schools systems, nursing homes, psychiatric programs, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics and in the community. Occupational Therapy Assistants have been trained to use “occupations” or activities of daily life to help people of all ages participate in their activities of choice to their fullest potential.
- Employment and Salary Statistics
- Bureau of Labor Statistics for Occupational Therapy Assistants - Visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information on employment for Occupational Therapy Assistants, the nature of the work, job outlook, wages, related occupations and more.
- Business Insider Occupational Therapist - Best Jobs in Healthcare
- U.S. News Best Healthcare Jobs - Occupational Therapist
- Future Job Outlook for Occupational Therapists
- American Occupational Therapy Association - Workforce Trends in Occupational Therapy
OTAP Course Policies and Procedures
Policies and Procedures
Chapter I – Introduction
Chapter II – OTA Program and Student Objectives
Chapter III – OTA Curriculum
Chapter IV – OTA Program and NSCC Policies
- Classroom Dress and Behavior Policy
- Professional Behavior Requirements
- Use of Cell Phones
- OTA Course Policies
- OTA Program Probation
- OTA Program Retention
- OTA Program Retention - Approved 3-year Students
- Transferring from another OTA Program
- Withdrawal from OTA Program
- OTA Program Readmission Policy
- OTA Program Advising
- Health and Liability Insurance
- OTA Program Dues and Fees
- Grievance and Appeal Procedure
- Prior Work Experience
Chapter V – General Information
- OTA Student Organization
- OTA Advisory Council
- General Contact Information
- Student Disability Services
- NSCC Library and Learning Center
Chapter VI – Resources
- AOTA Assembly of Student Delegates
- Preparing for Graduation
- NSCC Career Services
- Lifelong Learning
- OTA Program Evaluation
- SQ3R Study Method
- Test Taking Hints
Chapter VII – Appendix
OTAP Fieldwork Information and Manual
OTA Fieldwork Manual
Chapter I – Introduction
- Mission Statement
- General Program Objectives
- Philosophy and Purpose of the Program
- Curriculum Design
- Fieldwork within the Curriculum
- Level I and Level II Fieldwork Placement Policy
- Communication During Fieldwork Experience
- Special Consideration Request
- Fieldwork Cancellations
- Fieldwork Sites and Supervisors
- Academic Fieldwork Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities
- Student Responsibilities During Fieldwork
- Dress Code
Chapter II – Level I Fieldwork
- Level I Fieldwork Objectives
- General NSCC OTA Program Level I Fieldwork Purpose
- Level I Fieldwork
- Level I Fieldwork Grading Policies
- Level I Fieldwork Site Evaluation
- Student Evaluation of Fieldwork Site
Chapter III – Level II Fieldwork
- Level II Fieldwork
- Level II Fieldwork Supervision
- Level II Fieldwork Grading Policies
- Level II Fieldwork Site Evaluation
- Professional Behaviors Expectations
- Level II Fieldwork Termination
- Tips for a Successful Fieldwork Experience
Chapter IV – Additional Resources
Chapter V – Appendix
- Curriculum Course Sequence
- Curriculum Course Sequence 2
- Course Descriptions
- Level I Objectives
- Level I Fieldwork Site Evaluation
- Level I Fieldwork Site Evaluation 2
- Student Evaluation of Level I Fieldwork
- Level II Fieldwork Objectives
- Student Evaluation of Level II Fieldwork
- What Happens If...
OTA Fieldwork Resources
Accreditation and Outcomes
The NSCC Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by: ACOTE
ACOTE c/o AOTA
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
Phone: 301-652-AOTA or 301-652-2682 or 301-652-6611
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.
OTA Program Outcomes
All students graduating from the Nashville State Occupational Therapy Assistant Program are eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Certification Exam. Proof of successful completion of this exam is required for a license to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in the state of Tennessee.
NBCOT examination comparison pass rates from schools across the country (including NSCC OTA students).
First Year Students
Information for First Year OTA Students
- New Student Congratulations Letter
- Orientation Letter
- My Record Tracker and True Screen
- First Year Book List
- June 15 Letter
- Scholarship Information & Important Dates
- Fall 2020 1st Year Cohort Class Schedule (updated July 17, 2020)
- Photo ID Process
- Zoom Orientation Information
- Fieldwork 2020-21
- OTA Orientation Agenda
- Library Orientation Information
- Process for Campus Access (Fall 2020)