May 26, 2024  
Mercy University 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
Mercy University 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Occupational Therapy Assistant, A.A.S.

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Cristina Dumitrescu, Ed.D., M.S. ,O.T.R./L., OTA/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). NBCOT offices are located at One Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. The phone number is: 301-9907979, the email address is, and their website is

After successfully completing 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 each state’s “Practice Acts” for a particular state’s licensure requirement.

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/ Progression Procedure:

The OTA Program is a cohort program that only starts full-time students in the fall term.  Part-time students may be eligible to start in the spring term.

Admission Criteria: – Admission to the OTA Program is a competitive multi-step process.

Freshman admission requires:

Have an overall high school GPA of 85% or higher and a minimum of two years of high school English with an 85% (B) average or higher.

Submit TWO references with their application. Preferably, one recommendation should be from an occupational therapy assistant, occupational therapist, work supervisor, or instructor of a high school or college course. Recommendations must be current (a maximum of six months). 

Admission preference for applicants with high school GPAs of 85% or higher or previous college credit with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above. For their first academic year, students will only enroll in general education course requirements:

General Education Requirements:

BIOL  130                   Human Anatomy & Physiology I  3 credits
BIOL 130A                  Human Anatomy & Physiology I Lab  1 credit
BIOL  131                   Human Anatomy & Physiology II  3 credits
BIOL 131A                  Human Anatomy & Physiology II Lab  1 credit
ENGL  111                  Written English & Literature Studies I  3 credits
ENGL 112                   Written English & Literature Studies II  3 credits
MATH 116                   College Algebra  3 credits
PSYN  101                  Intro. to Psychology  3 credits
COMM  110                 Oral Communications  3 credits
SOCL  101                   Intro. to Sociology  3 credits
General Education Requirements 26 credits

* Anatomy pre-requisite courses must have been taken within the last five years.

For students to remain in the program and progress to the occupational therapy assistant courses (OCTR), they must complete the first year with the following performance:

a)         Minimal overall GPA of first year must be 2.75 or higher

b)         A grade of C or better in all general education prerequisite courses

c)         Any student who receives a grade of C- or below in any general education course will be required to repeat the course.

d)        Anatomy pre-requisite courses must have been taken within the last five years.

Sophomore or Transfer student Progression Criteria for OTA Major courses:

All students interested in progressing to fall full-time OTA Major courses MUST complete all General Education and Health Science Requirements before the start of the fall semester.

Health Science Requirements:

HLSC  205                  Standard Safety Precautions for the Healthcare Professions 1 credit
HLSC  210                  Overview of OT Practice 1 credit
HLSC  225                  Intro. To Health Professions Literature & Scientific Writing 1 credit
Health Science Requirements 3 credits
  • General information regarding eligibility is available online or from the Admissions Office, Mercy University OTA Program website, or the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Office at the Dobbs Ferry Campus.
  • Students who meet the program’s progression criteria will be invited to interview with representatives of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Progression Committee when a written essay is required.
  • The OTA Program’s Progression Committee will review each applicant’s records. Progression into the occupational therapy assistant courses (OCTR), is based on a combination of GPA, interview, and written work. Candidates will be notified of their progression decision within two weeks from the date of the interview.  
  • 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 are on hold for this academic year:

March 31st  for the Fall semester

October 31st  for the Spring semester  

Admission Decisions:

  • The OTA Program offers rolling admissions for all applicants. Our priority application deadlines are March 15 for fall admissions and January 15 for spring admissions. All required documents must be received before a decision can be made.  

  • Admission decisions will be based on a ranking of composite numerical scores of an applicant’s GPA, interview, on-site essay, and recommendations.


  • 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 University 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 requires 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 fieldwork databases 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 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 University NC-Sara webpage.

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