2024-2025 Catalog 
    Jun 17, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog

Occupational Therapy Assistant (AAS)

CIP 51.0803
Degree: Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
Program Code: 126-01
Program Length: 22 months - 5 Semesters
Minimum Credits: 66

OTA Application

OTA Job Shadowing Form (pdf)

OTA Student Handbook (pdf)

Program Advisor
Annette Looney
Booth Center Room 312

Purpose: To prepare selected students to qualify as contributing members of the health care team who will care for patients under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist. The goals of the occupational therapy team are to develop, restore, or maintain adaptive skills in individuals whose abilities to cope with daily living are threatened or impaired by disease, injury, developmental disability, or social disadvantage.

Accreditation: The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Southwest Virginia Community College is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org.

Occupational Objectives: Employment opportunities include positions in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, day care centers, long-term care facilities, schools, sheltered workshops, homebound programs and community agencies.

Program Format: The OTA program educational experience consists of on-site lecture, hands-on laboratory, computer web-based instruction through the learning management system, and a variety of clinical experiences. Students need to have skills necessary to navigate the internet for researching projects and assignments and utilizing the Canvas Learning Management System for classes (i.e., online testing, online resources, grades, and discussions).

Admission Requirements: In addition to the general requirements for admission to the College, consideration for a position in this program requires the following:

  1. Graduation from high school or satisfactory completion of the GED.
  2. The completion of one Year Biology with lab and Chemistry with lab or completion of BIO 141  and BIO 142  (“C” or better grades)
  3. High school seniors who have not completed the full sequence of the prerequisite courses must be enrolled in the second semester of these courses and have earned a grade of “C” or above for the first semester to be considered for program admission. Grades in these courses must reflect a minimum of “C”. Any prescribed corequisite courses must be successfully completed before the application deadline.
  4. Minimum 2.5 high school or college curricular GPA - Based on Last School Attended Whether HS or College, with at least 12 credits completed
  5. Competency must be demonstrated in Math and English via measures identified in Multiple Measures Placement Policy.
    1. Place into ENG 111  or Completion of ENG 111  (grade “C” or better)
    2.  Completion of MTH 154   or higher (grade “C” or better)
  6. A minimum of twelve (12) hours of documented job shadowing in an occupational therapy setting with an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant should be submitted to the program director prior to the application deadline.

Students planning to transfer to senior institutions should inform their advisors and should consider coursework that can be used for transfer.

When enrollments must be limited for any curriculum, priority shall be given to all qualified applicants who are residents of the political subdivisions (Buchanan, Dickenson [partial], Russell, or Tazewell counties), supporting the College and to Virginia residents not having access to a given program at their local community college, provided such students apply for admission to the program prior to registration or by a deadline established by the College. In addition, residents of localities with which the College has a clinical site or other agreement may receive consideration for admission

Students residing in the college service area will be given priority consideration for admission to the program. Out-of-region applicants will only be considered for openings in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program after all qualified in-region applicants are considered. To be considered in-region, an applicant must be domiciled within the service region for 12 months prior to the program application deadline.

Students accepted into the program are required to submit a certificate reflecting a successful physical examination, signed by a licensed physician. The physical examination must be completed after receiving notification of acceptance to the program and prior to beginning classes. Immunizations must be current and include Hepatitis B and MMR. Proof of Tuberculin skin test (PPD) and CPR certification must be shown on admission to the program and kept current throughout the program.

Criminal Background Checks/Drug Testing: Background checks for criminal history and sex offender crimes against minors are required for admission to the OTA program. Students with convictions may be prohibited from clinical practice and may not complete the program. Clinical agencies may require drug testing prior to placement of students for clinical rotations. Students with positive drug test results may be prohibited from clinical practice and may not complete the program. Cost for criminal background checks and drug testing will be the responsibility of the student.

Program Requirements

Academic Requirements: The student is required to complete a sequence of courses and learning experiences as listed in the course curriculum. All courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or above. General Education courses required in the OTA program may be completed earlier than the semester listed in the program curriculum, however they may not be completed later than the semester listed once the student is enrolled in the OTA program.   Students must achieve a grade of “C” or better in all program courses. Any student receiving a grade of “D” in any of the program courses will be placed on Program Probation. That course shall be remediated once, with a written contract containing the requirements of the remediation. Please note: Students may be required to wait at least one academic year before they will have an opportunity to remediate the course. Students on program probation status will only be allowed to remediate the course if there is an open position in the class and they have approval of the program director. Dismissal from the program shall result if: 1) the student does not meet the requirements of the probationary contract; 2) the student receives a final grade of less than “C” in any program courses either during or after the period of the Program Probation; or 3) earning more than one “D” in a semester on program courses or a final grade of “F” in any coursework after admittance to the program will result in dismissal from the program. Remediated courses must be completed with a final grade of “C” or better.

Clinical and Behavioral Requirements:

Selected and supervised learning experiences are required by this program and will be accomplished at selected health care facilities. Because there are limited clinical sites within the area, students may be required to travel to other areas to complete clinical training. Students are responsible for providing their own transportation, uniforms, and living expenses during fieldwork experiences. In the fifth semester, there will be approximately 40 hours per week of clinical time (Level II fieldwork) in two eight-week segments, so students must plan their schedules accordingly. Program faculty will observe and evaluate the student. If in the judgment of the program faculty the student does not exhibit those behaviors required of the occupational therapy assistant, the student may be asked to withdraw from the program.

NOTE: All OTA students must complete Level II Fieldwork within 18 months following completion of academic preparation.
NOTE: A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.


Reciprocity Statement 

Pursuant to United States Department of Education (US DOE) regulation 34 CFR 668.43 (a) (5) (v), the Southwest Virginia Community College Associate Degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant program provides the following information for all prospective and current students:

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Southwest Virginia Community College 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. ACOTE can be found online at www.acoteonline.org. 

Upon graduation, students 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). 

In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. The Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact (OT Compact) is an interstate compact or formal agreement among states, that facilitates interstate practice of occupational therapy. Under the OT compact, Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) who are licensed in good standing in a Compact member state may practice in other Compact member states via a “compact privilege”, which is equivalent to a license. Please see https://otcompact.org for more information.  Note that a felony conviction could affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. 

SWCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Licensure Reciprocity (https://sw.edu/health-technology/wp-content/uploads/Licensure-Reciprocity.pdf).


Semester Total

  • Lecture Hours: 16
  • Lab Hours: 3
  • Course Credits: 17

Semester Total

  • Lecture Hours: 13
  • Lab Hours: 6
  • Course Credits: 16

Semester Total

  • Lecture Hours: 4
  • Lab Hours: 8
  • Course Credits: 6

Semester Total

  • Lecture Hours: 11
  • Lab Hours: 11
  • Course Credits: 14

Fourth Semester

Semester Total

  • Lecture Hours: 1
  • Lab Hours: 80
  • Course Credits: 13

Total Minimum Credits: 66