Sep 28, 2022  
Mercy College 2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
Mercy College 2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog

Occupational Therapy Assistant, A.A.S.

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Cristina Dumitrescu, M.S. ,O.T.R./L., COTA/L, Program Director

Associate in Applied Science

General Education Requirements 26 credits
Health Science Requirements 3 credits
Occupational Therapy Requirements 39 credits
Total 68 credits

Additional Program Information

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). ACOTE contact information is: ACOTE, c/o Accreditation Department, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. The phone number is 301-652-2862. ACOTE’s website is and email is Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination of the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, (COTA). Passing the NBCOT examination is currently required in order to obtain a license and practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in most states (including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut). Please refer to the “Practice Acts” of each state for the licensure requirement of a particular state.

NOTE: A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

NOTE: Students must be in good academic standing with a grade point average of 2.75 or higher in all major courses (all those courses that begin with OCTR) in order to advance to the full-time advanced clinical component of the program. All Occupational Therapy Assistant students are required to complete all Level II Fieldwork within 18 months following completion of academic coursework All required coursework and fieldwork must be completed within five years from the initiation of coursework in the major concentration of occupational therapy.

Admission Criteria/Procedure:

To take the program on a full-time or part-time basis, all candidates must:

  1. Be admitted to Mercy College.
  2. Submit official transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended to the Mercy College Admissions Office.
  3. Have a minimum GPA of 2.75 in order to be interviewed or accepted into the program. Admission is based on a preference for applicants who have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
  4. Place at the ENGL 111  level.
  5. Complete a personal interview with the OTA Program Director or OTA designee.
  6. Complete the OTA Program Application and a written on-site essay at the time of the interview.
  7. Submit a résumé of professional, educational, and volunteer experiences, if appropriate.

  8. Submit official transcripts from all colleges attended. 

  9. Complete a written plan for completion of remaining pre-requisite courses, using the Prerequisite Checklist to indicate courses taken, courses to be completed along with dates of expected completion.

  10. Submit TWO references on the required Mercy College OTA Recommendation Form. Preferably, one recommendation should be from an occupational therapy assistant or an occupational therapist, work supervisor, or an instructor of a prerequisite course. Recommendations must be current (not older than 6 months).  References must be received by the deadline for admission, via email, or in-person. 

  11. References must be received by the deadline for admission (March 31—Fall semester /October 31—Spring semester).

  12. Any file that does not have the Recommendation Forms completed by the end of the application period deadline will be considered “incomplete” and will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

Acceptance Procedure:

  • Prospective students are required to meet with the PACT Advisor for evaluation of transfer credits prior to submitting an application to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.
  • All candidates for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program must first be admitted into Mercy College. Perspective students should complete the Application for admissions to Mercy College available online and should indicate Occupational Therapy Assistant as their area of interest.
  • General information regarding eligibility is available online or from the Admissions Office, Mercy College OTA Program website, or the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Office at the Dobbs Ferry Campus.
  • Selected applicants will be invited to interview with representatives of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Admissions Committee at which time an onsite writing essay will be required.
  • Each applicant’s records will be presented to the Admission Committee of the program. The final acceptance into the program decision is based on a combination of GPA, references, interview, and written work. Candidates will be notified as to their acceptance into the Occupational Therapy Assistant and the dates of mandatory orientation in August. All acceptances will be provisional, based on successful completion of all pre-requisite minimum course requirements.
  • Acceptance may be deferred up to one admission cycle under extenuating circumstances. The student must submit a written request for deferral and supporting documentation to the Program. The Program Director and Admission Committee will review the request and notify the student of the decision.

Deadlines for applications into the Program:

March 31st  for the Fall semester

October 31st  for the Spring semester  

Admission Decisions:

  • Admission decisions will be based on a ranking of composite numerical scores of an applicant’s GPA, interview, on-site essay, and recommendations.
  • Decision letters will be mailed to applicants on April 15 (Fall semester) and November 15 (Spring semester).


  • Students who are admitted to the program who have less than a cumulative GPA of 3.0 will be admitted on a conditional basis.
  • Conditionally admitted students must have between a 2.75 and 3.0 grade point average within the major courses at the end of the first semester. Any student falling below a 2.75 GPA within the major, will receive a faculty review and must submit an educational plan that is reviewed and approved by the Program Director. Such educational plans must have clear objectives with deadlines for achievement.
  • Transfer credit will be granted only for those prerequisite courses with a grade of C or higher.
  • OTA courses from other colleges will only be accepted in transfer as approved by the Program Director and shall not have any fieldwork component included in the content
  • Anatomy prerequisite courses must have been taken within the last five years.

Each applicant’s record will be reviewed by the Admission Committee of the Program. The final admission decision is based on a cumulative scoring and then ranking of the candidate’s GPA, interview, references, and the written essay. Admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Mercy College is very competitive; completion of the application requirements and formal interview does not guarantee admission.

Essential Performance Standards

The program has an “Essential Performance Standards” form that outlines the necessary effective skills and professional behaviors, communication/interpersonal skills, psychomotor skills, cognitive skills and self-care skills deemed essential for completion of the program and performance as a competent occupational therapy assistant. This form is reviewed at the time of the interview and is signed by all accepted students stating whether they are or are not capable of performing the skills and abilities that are listed. Information regarding the Office of Accessibilities is discussed at the time of the interview.

Each year, there will be a mandatory two-day orientation at the beginning of August (dates will be communicated). Avoid any events or time off that would interfere with your attendance. OTA program strongly recommends that all students have a personal laptop computer, powerful enough to support the demanding video and computational requirements necessary for coursework, as well as adequate storage to accommodate new software releases. Chrome books do NOT support the fieldwork database or exam-taking platforms. 

Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Requirements and Progression Criteria:

  1. Students are expected to attend all class sessions. No more than three absences are allowed without the risk of failing a major course. Documentation may be requested by the Program Director for any absence/s. Absence on a weekend lab day counts as 3 class absences.
  2. Professional behavior is expected at all times in both the classroom and the clinical placement settings. The Program Director and the faculty will address any demonstration of unprofessional behavior. 
  3. Students must earn a grade of C or better in all general education Prerequisite courses.
  4. Any student who receives a grade of C- or below in any prerequisite general education course will be required to repeat the course.
  5. Students must receive a B or better in all OTA core courses. Students who receive less than a grade of B, or if OTA core courses GPA fails below 2.75, students are required to repeat the course. OTA core courses may only be repeated once.
  6. Any student who receives a grade below B in two or more OTA core courses or if the student’s GPA, within the OTA major, falls below 2.75, the student may be dismissed from the program after a faculty review.
  7. Students must take all courses in the sequence according to the curriculum design of the program.
  8. If a student must repeat a course for any reason, they must wait to do so until the course is offered the following academic year. A grade of F in any occupational therapy assistant course may be grounds for dismissal. The faculty will discuss the situation and the Program Director will make the final decision regarding whether dismissal from the program is warranted. These situations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and would require appropriate documentation (medical, legal, etc.)
  9. Students who receive a rating of “Unsatisfactory” in any category in any Fieldwork I Experience will have their records reviewed by the Program Director and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. The student will then be discussed with the faculty who will decide if the student may repeat the experience or not. In either case, the student will receive an educational plan that is designed by the faculty that addresses the student’s particular issues.
  10. Students may not take any Fieldwork II experiences until they have successfully completed all Fieldwork I experiences.
  11. Should a student fail a Fieldwork II experience, the faculty will discuss the reasons for the failure and a decision will be made as to whether the student will be given an opportunity to repeat the fieldwork experience. Reasons for the decision will be shared with the student during a face-to-face or telephone meeting with the Program Director and the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. An “Educational Contract” for the repeated FW II assignment will be created by the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and signed by the student and also by the Program Director prior to the student repeating the failed experience. Failure to uphold the specifications of the educational contract will result in failure of the repeated fieldwork placement and an automatic dismissal from the program. The student must register and pay tuition for any repeated Fieldwork course (OCTR 209  or OCTR 210 ).
  12. Failure in any two Fieldwork experiences, Fieldwork I or II, may result in dismissal from the program.
  13. During clinical fieldwork experiences, student work schedules may not interfere with the hours they spend at the fieldwork site.
  14. National boards exam preparation: Students must attend all scheduled mandatory exam preparatory activities and class meetings during OCTR 209 OTP Assist: Advanced Clin Ed I OCTR 210 OTP Assist: Advnced Clin Ed II , and OCTR 214 OT Pract Assist:Adult/Matur . Students will review and practice certification exam-style questions in preparation for their licensing exam with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT). FW Level II grades will be released only if students attend both mandatory sessions and any other preparatory events that are scheduled by the program.
  15. All students will enroll in OCTR 211  course. The course will be offered in Term C during the last Fall semester and students will be expected to achieve a minimum of 80/100 on their final exam in order to pass the course. 

Graduation requirement:

All students must have a cumulative GPA within the major courses of at least 2..75 to graduate from the program. Students must apply for graduation according to the college guidelines listed in this catalog. 

Program Dismissal Review: 

In cases in which a student has been dismissed from the Occupational Therapy Program, the student may request a dismissal review when they believe that extenuating circumstances affected his/her academic performance in the program. The student must follow the SHNS Program Dismissal Review Policy detailed at the beginning of the School of Health and Natural Sciences section of this catalog. 

Complaints That Fall Outside the Realm of Due Process

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is committed to meeting its mission as it relates to serving our students, potential students, staff, faculty, adjunct faculty, clinical faculty and the public consumer of occupational therapy. To that end, we are committed to ensuring that exceptional complaints for which there is no established College, School or program policy or procedure are considered and resolved in a timely, fair, consistent and equitable manner.

Procedure: Complaint to the Program: Complaints should be addressed to the Program Director through the online form located here 
If the program director is the subject of the complaint, the complaint should be addressed to the Dean, School of Health and Natural Science.


Professional Licensure

If you are interested in obtaining professional licensure, please check with the appropriate licensing body in the state where you intend to practice. For additional information and detailed requirements, please refer to the specific program of interest on the “School Resources” section of the Mercy College NC-Sara webpage.

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