Occupational Therapy Assistant

Give people their independence.

Helping patients is our passion, and at Mercyhurst North East, our Occupational Therapy Assistant program trains students to not only master the physical side of the job, but the mental and emotional side as well. Our students help people of all ages regain, develop, or master everyday skills in order to live independent, productive, and satisfying lives. Whether it’s an infant with developmental problems, an elderly person facing health challenges, or a person living with disabilities, OTAs help patients with rehabilitative activities and exercises and monitor their progress while encouraging and motivating them along the way.

Requirements for admission include a high school diploma or GED, with a GPA or 2.5 (C+) and completion of high school algebra, biology and chemistry with a C or better in each course. Preference is given to applicants with SAT scores at or above 900, two section total, or a 20 composite ACT score.

Additional requirements after a student is accepted and confirmed include 20 hours of documented work or volunteer experience in two different occupational therapy settings under the supervision of a licensed OT or OTA, and CPR certification.

After matriculating, students are required to provide immunization records, a physical health examination and criminal record check result.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program 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, and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.

Graduates of the program 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 graduate will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, most states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the 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. For more certification information, visit www.nbcot.org.

Find the Mercyhurst  OTA Program passing rate for the NBCOT exam here: https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

2017 marked the centennial celebration of Occupational Therapy, which you can learn more about by visiting http://www.otcentennial.org.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

OTAs work in a variety of job settings, including nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, mental health centers and schools.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, OTA employment will grow by 41 percent between now and 2022, which is much faster than average for all occupations.

Sample Courses

Human Anatomy and Physiology
In an official introduction to the human body, students will learn the major organs, muscles, and overall structure of human anatomy.

Analysis of Human Movement
OTAs must have a thorough understanding of how each exercise will help or affect their patient, which is why knowing how the human body moves and operates is imperative.

Experience & Outcomes


Each student is required to complete clinical work at one of the multiple facilities committed to working with the North East program.

National Certification

Graduates, upon successfully completing their program, are required to sit for the NBCOT examination to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).

Career Advancement

OTA majors can work in a variety of settings and further their education by becoming occupational therapists.

Dawn Earp, COTA/L
Academic fieldwork Coordinator/ Instruction
Mary Gavacs, M.Ed, OTR/L
Director of Occupational Therapy Assistant Program