The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program provides active classroom instruction and extensive field experience in the (technical level) theory and practice of occupational therapy with individuals and populations across the life span within various service delivery models. The prescribed curriculum affords students the opportunity to develop the necessary skills needed to seek employment as an entry-level occupational therapy assistant in a variety of institutional and community-based settings. Job opportunities are available in rehabilitation facilities, general hospitals, outpatient clinics, long term care facilities, home health agencies, public school systems, and various community programs servicing those with or at risk for health related problems and dysfunction.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program is offered in 3 options of study (variations in curriculum sequence) to meet the needs of students. These variations include: 1) a traditional full-time option, 2) a part-time curriculum sequence, and 3) an accelerated option. The traditional full-time (2-year) and part-time (3-year) options of study combine general education courses with OTA courses in sequencing of the curriculum. The accelerated option of study is designed for students who have completed the 6 general education requirements of the traditional OTA program [BIO211, BIO212, CMP101, CMP102-150, PSY102, PSY204] and can commit to a full-time day program for an extended 3-semester time frame, typically 13-14 months pending fulfillment of Level 2 fieldwork requirements. OTA courses constitute all of the full-time credit hours within the extended 3 semesters [fall, spring, and summer that extends into the next fall]. Program requirements are the same for each option of study. Further description and outline of the course sequencing for each option of study can be found in the Student Handbook section OTA Program Options of Study.
On an individual basis, graduates of the program have been able to receive transfer credits to professional schools and continue their studies to become occupational therapists. Acceptance of the transfer credits depends on the receiving institution. Students planning to transfer should consult directly with the institution of their choice. NSCC's OTA Program has an official transfer agreement with Salem State University combined BS/MS Program in Occupational Therapy as well as with New England Institute of Technology OT Bridge Program where OTA graduates can earn a master's degree in occupational therapy.
The OTA Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA). Graduates of the program receive an Associate in Science degree and are eligible to sit for the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT). After successful completion of this examination, the individual will be a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). In addition, most states require licensure to practice. Licensure in many states, including Massachusetts is based on the results of the NBCOT certification exam. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. In order to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Massachusetts, individuals must be licensed and work under the supervision of a Licensed Occupational Therapist.
Students interested in participating in an academic program that involves working with children, the disabled, or the elderly, or which includes a clinical affiliation, internship, or field placement with a private or public healthcare provider, may be required to undergo criminal background checks, including a national as well as local check (i.e. Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) and Sex Offender Record Information (SORI)). Depending on the contents of these criminal background check(s), a student's participation in an academic program that involves working with children, the disabled, or the elderly or which includes a clinical affiliation, internship or field placement with a private or public healthcare provider may not be allowed, and therefore may impact a student's ability to complete program requirements. Furthermore, please note that eligibility to participate in the program and/or clinical affiliation, internship or field placement as a result of screening requirements, such as criminal background checks, is not a guarantee of eligibility to sit for professional credentialing examination(s) or employment upon graduation.
Information regarding academic accreditation, professional certification and Massachusetts' licensure may be obtained from the following organizations respectively:
Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
c/o Accreditation Department
American Occupational Therapy Association (OCOTE
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.
12 South Summit Ave., Suite 100
Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150
Board of Registration in Allied Health Professionals
Division of Professional Licensure
1000 Washington Street, Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118-6100
The OTA Program is a selective admissions program. Further information about the program, application process, and admission requirements can be found on the academic department web page at www.northshore.edu/departments/ota
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