Apr 23, 2024  
Mercy College 2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
Mercy College 2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Therapy Assistant, A.A.S.

Cristina Dumitrescu, M.S. ,O.T.R./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

Attention: Changes have been made to this page. Please see Catalog Addendum  for details. 

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 www.acoteonline.org and email is accred@aota.org. 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 the two ”Recommendation Forms” that are distributed at the time of the interview. These forms serve as references (no separate written reference letters will be accepted or reviewed). Preferably, one “Recommendation Form” will be completed by an Occupational Therapy Assistant or a Registered Occupational Therapist, Work Supervisor or an instructor of a Prerequisite course. The recommendations must be recent (not over six months old). All “Recommendation Forms” must be submitted in a sealed envelope with the reference’s signature over the seal. 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.

Deadlines for applications into the Program:

OTA will have rolling admission for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

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 within two weeks of the interview date.


  • 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.
  • Admission to the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Mercy College (professional program) is extremely competitive; completion of the application requirements and formal interview does not guarantee admission to the program.

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 in 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 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, fails 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 if the student will be permitted to repeat the entire major module course. 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 Occupational Therapy Practice for the Assistant: Advanced Clinical Education I OCTR 210 Occupational Therapy Practice for the Assistant: Advanced Clinical Education II  and OCTR 214 Occupational Therapy Practice for the Assistant: Adulthood and Maturity . 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 a 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 which a student has been dismissed from the Occupational Therapy Program, the student may request a dismissal review when he/she believes 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.