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Associate in Science

Occupational Therapy Assistant

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 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 and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org.

Graduates of an ACOTE accredited OTA 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). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, most states including New Jersey require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.

Graduates will be able to:

1. Become a COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant) by successfully passing the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Assistant (NBCOT) exam within six months of graduation.

2. Demonstrate the roles and responsibilities of the OTA as defined by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), consistent with the licensure regulations for an OTA in the State of New Jersey.

3. Communicate effectively in an understandable and professional manner with clients, families, colleagues, and the public.

4. Produce clear and understandable documentation according to the requirements of the facility, federal and state laws, regulatory and payer requirements, and AOTA.

5. Deliver occupational therapy services under the supervision of an occupational therapist (OT) in accordance with the AOTA Practice Framework:

  • Practice in a safe, ethical, and collaborative manner under the supervision of an occupational therapist in accordance with the regulations of the healthcare, educational, or community settings.
  • Provide occupational therapy services to persons, groups, and populations from diverse experiences and cultures in health care, educational and community settings.
  • Contribute to the evaluation process of the person, group, or population, by gathering information, implementing assigned assessments, and reporting results to the OT and treatment team.
  • Under the guidance of an OT, provide occupational therapy interventions in accordance with evidence-based OT practice models that support the philosophy and values of the profession.
  • Encourage, advise and coach persons, caregivers, groups, and populations who experience physical, psychosocial, cognitive challenges and/or developmental disorders or delays, or are negatively impacted by the aging process, to choose and practice occupations and skills that support adaptation and resilience.
  • Problem-solve to devise, in collaboration with the client, OT, and team, alternative contexts, environmental adaptations, and/or task modifications to support participation in valued occupations, routines, and roles.
  • Teach individuals, groups, and populations about the health promoting associations between meaningful occupation and healthy development, positive health outcomes, and well-being; and advocate for the provision of occupational therapy services.
  • Exhibit and commit to refining client centered practices including the therapeutic use of occupation, interpersonal, communication, and teaching-learning tactics that consider the interests, values, and needs of diverse individuals, caregivers, groups and populations.

6. Contribute to the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective and integrated care as a team member in health, education, and community settings.

  • Maintain, organize, and prioritize workload to meet the requirements of the practice setting.
  • Participate in ongoing quality improvement and implement changes as needed to ensure quality services are delivered and outcomes are measured.

7. Participate as an occupational therapy professional in local, state, and national organizations.

  • Advocate for occupational therapy services and for the recipient of those services.
  • Uphold the ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession.
  • Comply with requirements for continued competence through formal and/or continuing education, and by actively seeking and participating in regular supervision.


Admission Requirements:

This program is a joint program between Rutgers University and Passaic County Community College and is a competitive program. Students must complete the prerequisite General Education courses at PCCC and then apply to Rutgers School of Health Related Professions for admission to the professional phase of the program. The courses offered in the professional phase are held at the Scotch Plains campus of the Rutgers School of Health Related Professions.

Regarding admission to the professional phase of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, students should note that admission criteria are minimum standards, and in most cases, applicants accepted into the program exceed these requirements. The following requirements must be met prior to admission to the program:

1. Meet Passaic County Community College admission criteria.

2. Achieve proficiency on the College Placement Test, OR complete the required remediation with a grade of “C” or higher.

3. Complete at least sixteen (16) credits of the required courses including EN 101, EN 102, PS 101, and BS 103 prior to application, and provide documentation of enrollment in the remainder of the prerequisite courses to ensure completion before the start of the professional phase courses. Applications are available online form the Rutgers School of Health Related Professions OTA website and are due no later than June 1st for the full-time program, which begins in the Fall, and no later than November 1st for the part-time program, which begins in the Spring. Applicants may request permission to take two (2) of these courses concurrent with the professional curriculum:

  1. Introduction to Sociology
  2. Ethics or Philosophy
  3. Diversity Studies

Application Procedure:  In addition to the application, the following items are required to be submitted:

1. Submit official college transcript(s) that document a grade of “C” or higher in each prerequisite course and a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 in these courses. BS 103, BS 104, and PS 102 must have been completed within the last five (5) years.

Alternatively, applicants may submit a request to waive the five year requirement by providing documentation that knowledge from Human Anatomy and Physiology and/or Developmental Psychology/Lifespan has been used in an employment situation during the past five years. This documentation will be reviewed and considered by the Admissions Committee for the OTA Program. This documentation must include:

      a. Job description with narrative statement describing how knowledge from coursework was used in employment setting.

      b. Letter of recommendation from a person of authority at the work agency which includes reference to job functions where this knowledge was applied.

 2. Applicant must complete and submit documentation of a minimum of 20 hours of observation experience in a setting where occupational therapy services are provided. The documentation of this required observation must be signed by a licensed occupational therapist or licensed occupational therapy assistant preferably on the facility letterhead.

 3. Applicant must submit two (2) letters of recommendation using the OTA Applicant Recommendation Form; one must be from an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant.

 4. Applicant must write and submit an essay justifying OT as a career choice, reflecting on volunteer experience, prerequisite course work, and other community service.

 5. Selected applicants must participate in an on-site meeting with the OTA Program Admission Committee. This includes an individual, and group interview, and the applicant must complete an on-site writing sample.

 6. Applicants who did not attend secondary school in the US or have not completed a sufficient number of college level English courses are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Acceptable scores for TOEFL areas follows: 550 and above for paper based test and 79 for Internet based test. All results must be forwarded directly to SHRP from the testing agency.

Please note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. An individual who is considering entering an OT educational program or who has already entered an OT educational program can have his or her background reviewed by requesting an Early Determination Review. The fee for this review is $100.00 for information on candidate’s code of conduct, character, and early review contact.

Credentialing Services at NBCOT
12 S. Summit Avenue, Suite 100
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

General Education Requirements(35 credits)

Code Name Credits
Communication (6 credits)
EN 101 Composition I 3
EN 102 Composition II 3
Mathematics (3 credits)
Choose one (1) of the following courses  (3 credits)
MA 101 College Mathematics I 3
MA 103 Basic Statistics 3
MA 108 College Algebra 3
Science (8 credits)
BS 103 Anatomy and Physiology I 4
BS 104 Anatomy and Physiology II 4
Technology (3 credits)
CIS 101 Computer Concepts and Applications 3
Social Science (9 credits)
PS 101 Introduction to Psychology 3
PS 102 Human Growth and Development 3
SO 101 Introduction to Sociology 3
Humanities (3 credits)
Choose one (1) of the following courses  (3 credits)
PH 101 Introduction to Philosophy 3
PH 106 Introduction to Ethics 3
Diversity (3 credits)
Choose one (1) course from the following categories
Category 8 - Diversity 3

Major Requirements(42 credits)

Code Name Credits
OCTH 1010 Occupational Therapy Foundations 3
OCTH 1019 Level One Fieldwork A: Intergration and Practice Applications 1
OCTH 1020 Occupational Performace and Participation: Skills and Client Factors 3
OCTH 1029 Level 1 Fieldwork B: Integration and Practice Applications 1
OCTH 1031 Conditions Impacting Occupation, Participation, and Health I: Adult/Older Adult 2
OCTH 1032 Conditions Impacting Occupation, Participation, and Health II: Children/Adolescence 2
OCTH 1039 Level I Fieldwork C: Integration and Practice Applications 1
OCTH 1040 Occupational Performance and Participation: Therapeutic Applications 3
OCTH 1052 Principles and Practices II: Rehabilitation, Disability, Aging, and Participation 3
OCTH 1053 Principles and Practices III: Children and Youth 2
OCTH 1071 Professional Seminar I 1
OCTH 2019 OTA Practice: Fieldwork II: Adult/Older Adult 5
OCTH 2029 OTA Practice: Fieldwork II: Children/ Adolescence 5
OCTH 2072 Professional Seminar II 2
PSRT 1102 Communication Techniques 3
PSRT 1103 Group Intervention for People with Disabilities 3

Total Credits 77

Guided Pathways Academic Map

Fall Semester Credits
BS 103 Anatomy and Physiology I 4.0
CIS 101 Computer Concepts and Applications 3.0
EN 101 Composition I 3.0
PS 101 Introduction to Psychology 3.0
SO 101 Introduction to Sociology 3.0
Total 16.0
Spring Semester Credits
BS 104 Anatomy and Physiology II 4.0
EN 102 Composition II 3.0
MA 103 Basic Statistics 3.0
PH 106 Introduction to Ethics 3.0
PS 102 Human Growth and Development 3.0
Total 16.0
Summer Session I Credits
Diversity Elective 3.0
Total 3.0