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Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)
Durham Technical Community College offers a two-year associate’s degree program to train occupational therapy assistants in the Triangle area. The curriculum prepares graduates to work under the guidance and supervision of a registered occupational therapist (OTR/L). Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) help registered therapists in all aspects of occupational therapy from screening and assessment to treatment and documentation.

OT is a rehabilitation profession that focuses on doing and action. OT professionals work with people to improve their ability to participate in work, leisure, and self-care activities. They work with all age groups in a wide variety of settings. Children are assisted with school and play skills. Adolescents are assisted with prevocational and social skills. Adults are assisted in recovering from injuries or helping them cope with long-term illnesses or disabilities. Older adults are assisted in regaining skills or making changes in their homes for safer or more independent living situations. OT personnel work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, nursing homes, community settings, home health agencies, psychiatric and mental health centers, hand therapy sites, and other health care settings.


ota graduates

Treatment may be conducted in individual or group sessions. Activities that are personally meaningful are also used to assist clients in meeting their goals. OT personnel must be flexible, empathetic, organized, and creative to provide clients with the best opportunities to progress and achieve what is important to them.

Become a Member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA)

SOTA is a non-profit, student-run organization that promotes occupational therapy through community service, public relations, fundraising, and campus activities. SOTA provides fellowship among students and faculty, educational opportunities through community service activities, and leadership opportunities within the organization.

This year SOTA is opening its doors to prospective DTCC OTA students!  Membership is a great opportunity to meet current OTA students in the program, learn more about OT and get involved in community.  The SOTA membership fee is $5 for current OTA students and $2 for prospective OTA students per semester.

Acceptance for admission is conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. All admissions requirements must be completed prior to a studentís placement on the waiting list. Courses are offered in a sequential order, starting once each year. All eligible students may take non-OTA prefix courses as soon as they complete college admission requirements for curriculum students. Students may elect to complete the program on an extended part-time basis, with faculty consultation; however, full-time clinical internships are a critical part of the OTA training program and must be completed within 18 months of other class work to successfully complete the program. Clinical sites are spread throughout the region, and reliable transportation is essential. View the OTA Admissions Checklist and OTA Admissions Packet.

Students must achieve a minimum grade of C in all courses on the plan of study in order to progress in the OTA program. Students who fail to make the required grade of C in any curriculum course will need to meet with the program director for academic counseling and advising before continuing in the program. Students may take OTA courses a maximum of two times; if they are unable to achieve a C on the second attempt in the same course, they will not be able to complete the program.

ota students2After completing the curriculum plan of study, the student is awarded an Associate in Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Questions regarding accreditation should be directed to the AOTA Accreditation Department, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220 or by phone at 301- 652-2682. For further information about OTA programs contact AOTA at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Bethesda, MD 20824-3425 or by calling 301-653-AOTA.

Graduates from the program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for occupational therapy assistants. This exam is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT, 301-990-7979). The total number of graduates who passed the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination as first-time new graduate test takers in 2009-2011 was 23 out of 23, which is a pass rate of 100 percent. During that three-year time period, the program had 25 graduates. After successful completion of this exam, graduates will be Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs). The state of North Carolina requires licensure to practice as a COTA; licensure is based on results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. These processes are separate from the college’s program and graduation requirements.

Employment opportunities for Occupational Therapy Assistant program students and graduates can be viewed on the student/graduate employment page.

If you have any questions or want further information about the Occupational Therapy Assistant program attend an information session or contact Susan Cheng at 919-536-7233, ext. 8103 or Carol Marcus at 536-7233, ext 8120. You may also visit the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) at and North Carolina Occupational Therapy Association (NCOTA) at

Please Note: Effective February 14, 2011, all students applying to Health Technologies program must meet the English language requirement.

Durham Technical Community College
1637 Lawson Street
Durham, NC 27703

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