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 Office, D Building, Suite D-27
Karen Goodman, Program Secretary
Donna Whitehouse, OTA Program Director
Advising & FAQ
OTA Questions and Answers
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 Monday in February. 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 615-353-3708 or email Donna.Whitehouse@nscc.edu.
- All students are required to maintain personal health insurance while enrolled in the OTA program. Proof of health insurance required.
- All students are required to hold and maintain CPR certification while enrolled in the OTA program. Proof of CPR certification required.
- Students admitted into the OTA program are required to have a recent health physical and be current in all vaccines and immunizations. Proof required.
- Health insurance, CPR certification, health physical, vaccinations and immunizations are not required for program application.
- The program requires that students be proficient in the use of a computer. Students should be prepared to access and submit documents through Desire2Learn, use PowerPoint and be proficient with email. The program utilizes an online testing format. Students should have access to a personal computer, and/or identify alternative computer resources, such as the computer labs at NSCC.
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.
ESOL and Learning Support Course Requirements
Printable PDF of ESOL and Learning Support Course Requirements for OTA Program Application
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 health care 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
Accreditation and Outcomes
The NSCC Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by: ACOTE
c/o Accreditation Department
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
301-652-2682 ~ Fax: 301-652-7711 ~ TDD: 800-377-8555
firstname.lastname@example.org ~ www.aota.org
Direct link to information about for the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education: www.aota.org/Education-Careers/Accreditation.aspx
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.
For access to NBCOT examination comparison pass rates from schools across the country, including NSCC OTA students, click here.
For access to NSCC OTA Program NBCOT examination student pass rate information, and to NSCC OTA Program graduation rates, please click here (PDF).
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
Fall 2017 OTA Applicants
Update: February 21, 2017
The NSCC OTA Program has begun the process of inviting students to the first round of OTA Program interviews, scheduled for March 13, 2017.
Invitations are issued on a rolling basis, and in no certain order. All students invited to an interview are considered for admission equally.
As outlined in the application packet, students will be notified of interview status via email. It is the students responsibility to keep the NSCC OTA program informed of any contact email changes. If a student does not respond to the invitation according to the timeline outlined in the invitation email, that student forfeits their interview seat and will not be rescheduled.
Students who have not been selected for an interview will be notified once all interview selections have been made. No information regarding interview decisions will be provided beyond information that was provided in the application packet. It is anticipated that all selections will be completed, and emails sent to all applicants, by early April 2017.
Additional interview dates for invited students: March 27 and April 17, 2017
Donna Whitehouse, MHA, OTR
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Director
February 7, 2017
Dear 2017 OTA Program Applicants,
Thank you so much for submitting your applications in a timely manner. We are now in the process of reviewing all files and selecting students for interviews. As outlined in the application packet, all students will receive notification regarding interview status. We do not yet have a date as to when those notifications will be emailed, but we will put that information here, on this website and on our Facebook page.
Many students are calling in to check to see if their application file is complete. Due to the number of applications received, and the fact that we are in process of reviewing all files, it is not possible for our office to review and notify individual students regarding file completion.
If you followed the application checklist, and submitted everything according to the checklist, you should be fine.
Our focus now is file review. Answering individual questions about individual files takes time away from that file review. Please understand that when we say we cannot provide information about your individual file it is because we are busy reviewing all files.
Remember that all students will get an email about their interview status. Emails will be sent on a rolling basis, as students are selected for an interview. We will post on this website when interview letters are mailed. If selected for an interview, students must respond to that email within 48 hours to confirm an interview seat. Students who do not respond within 48 hours will lose their interview seat and will not be rescheduled.
Thank you for your understanding.
Donna Whitehouse, MHA, OTR
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Director
Course and Fieldwork Assets
OTA Course 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 (PDF)
- Professional Behavior Requirements (PDF)
- Use of Cell Phones (PDF)
- OTA Course Policies (PDF)
- OTA Program Probation (PDF)
- OTA Program Retention (PDF)
OTA Program Retention - Approved 3-year Students (PDF)
- Transferring from another OTA Program (PDF)
- Withdrawal from OTA Program (PDF)
- OTA Program Readmission Policy (PDF)
- OTA Program Advising (PDF)
- Health and Liability Insurance (PDF)
- OTA Program Dues and Fees (PDF)
- Grievance and Appeal Procedure (PDF)
- Prior Work Experience (PDF)
Chapter V ~ General Information
- OTA Student Organization (PDF)
- OTA Advisory Council (PDF)
- General Contact Information (PDF)
- Student Disability Services (PDF)
- NSCC Library and Learning Center (PDF)
Chapter VI ~ Resources
- AOTA (PDF)
- AOTA Assembly of Student Delegates (PDF)
- ACOTE (PDF)
- TOTA (PDF)
- Preparing for Graduation (PDF)
- NBCOT (PDF)
- NSCC Career Services (PDF)
- Lifelong Learning (PDF)
- OTA Program Evaluation (PDF)
- SQ3R Study Method (PDF)
- Test Taking Hints (PDF)
Chapter VII ~ Appendix
- OTA Curriculum Schedule (PDF)
- OTA Curriculum (PDF)
- Scheduling Chart (PDF)
- OTA Course Policies (PDF)
- Professional Behavior Competence Document (PDF)
OTA Fieldwork Manual
Chapter I ~ Introduction
- Introduction (PDF)
- Mission Statement (PDF)
- General Program Objectives (PDF)
- Philosophy and Purpose of the Program (PDF)
- Curriculum Design (PDF)
- Fieldwork within the Curriculum (PDF)
- Level I and Level II Fieldwork Placement Policy (PDF)
- Communication During Fieldwork Experience (PDF)
- Special Consideration Requests (PDF)
- Fieldwork Cancellations (PDF)
- Fieldwork Sites and Supervisors (PDF)
- Academic Fieldwork Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities (PDF)
- Student Responsibilities During Fieldwork (PDF)
Chapter II ~ Level I Fieldwork
- Level I Fieldwork Objectives (PDF)
- General NSCC OTA Program Level I Fieldwork Purpose (PDF)
- Level I Fieldwork (PDF)
- Level I Fieldwork Grading Policies (PDF)
- Level I Fieldwork Site Evaluation (PDF)
- Student Evaluation of Fieldwork Site (PDF)
Chapter III ~ Level II Fieldwork
- Level II Fieldwork (PDF)
- Level II Fieldwork Supervision (PDF)
- Level II Fieldwork Grading Policies (PDF)
- Level II Fieldwork Site Evaluation (PDF)
- Professional Behaviors Expectations (PDF)
- Level II Fieldwork Termination (PDF)
- Tips for a Successful Fieldwork Experience (PDF)
Chapter IV ~ Additional Resources
Chapter V ~ Appendix
- Curriculum Course Sequence (PDF)
- Curriculum Course Sequence 2 (PDF)
- Course Descriptions (PDF)
- Level I Objectives (PDF)
- Level I Fieldwork Site Evaluation (PDF)
- Level I Fieldwork Site Evaluation 2 (PDF)
- Student Evaluation of Level I Fieldwork (PDF)
- Level II Fieldwork Objectives (PDF)
- Student Evaluation of Level II Fieldwork (PDF)
- What Happens If… (PDF)
OTA Fieldwork Resources
- Level I Fieldwork - AOTA
- COE Guidelines for an Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Experience - Level II (PDF)
- AOTA OT-OTA Student Supervision and Medicare Requirements (PDF)