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Occupational Therapy Assistant

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See the benefits.

The profession of occupational therapy has its roots in purposeful activities, or occupations. Students at Villa Maria College help others improve their quality of life through the supervised use of daily activities.

Individuals aspiring to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant must graduate from an ACOTE-accredited OTA program and licensure or certification is required in all states in which an OTA works.

A Solid Foundation

Villa Maria’s Occupational Therapy Assistant students hit the ground running, with practiced faculty guiding them through the fundamentals. Through engagement in purposeful activities, occupational therapy practitioners guide patients and help them to realize their goals.  Students quickly build upon a strong foundation, developing the expertise needed to work in an array of clinical settings. This program prepares students to be open minded, non-judgmental allies, and advocates for others.

A Versatile Education

The OTA program at Villa Maria supports students through constructivist teaching practices within the domain of occupational therapy practice. Through careful scaffolding of content and rigor, students will be guided from basic principles of anatomy, activity analysis, and human movement to more advanced content involving case studies and interventions in various practice areas. Students are expected to demonstrate professionalism in their interactions on campus and in the clinic.

Practiced and Prepared

Because of the College’s internship requirement, you will gain relevant job experience while you complete your coursework.
You will graduate in just two years, and you will be a prepared job applicant. Not only will Villa Maria’s experienced OTA faculty support you as a student, they will help you prepare for the licensure exams after you graduate.

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The Villa Difference.

Occupational therapy assistants belong at Villa. Patience is a virtue, and it’s one that so many occupational therapy assistants possess. In the OTA program at Villa, you’ll channel your caring gene in a powerful way that helps patients, whether they’re eight or 85, get back their lives through therapy regimens that redevelop fine motor skills and visual perception faculties that are essential to living a fulfilling, independent life.

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Our Faculty 

Deborah Brownell

The Career Potential

A COTA is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. After graduating from Villa Maria’s accredited, two-year program and passing the certification exam, you will become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, or a COTA. COTAs are able to carry out therapeutic treatments and consultations independently, contribute to the evaluation by implementing assessments as directed by an OT, practice autonomously once oriented to the patient the first time, and more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that employment in the profession of COTA will increase much more than average by 2029. The average salary for a COTA is $59,000 per year. 

As a COTA, you can work with occupational therapists in all different kinds of settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Mental health facilities
  • Community-based outreach centers
  • Group homes
  • Specialty clinics
  • Home care
  • K-12 schools
  • Preschools

The Facilities

The facilities available to Villa Maria’s OTA students are much more robust than other comparable programs in the WNY region.

  • Two multi-functional laboratory rooms to provide you with the opportunity to practice clinical skills. 
  • A newly constructed pediatric lab and hospital rooms for additional clinical skill practice. 
  • Art and music labs to apply and develop purposeful activity techniques for patients. 
  • The adjacent Felician Sisters Health and Wellness Center, an assisted living and long-term care facility where you will also practice your skills. 

Villa Maria offers OTA students the ability to work regularly with the equipment used in the OTA field, this includes: 

  • Mobility devices, like walkers, canes, and wheelchairs 
  • Simulation labs, including a patient bedroom, a patient bathroom, and a patient kitchen 
  • Specialized pediatrics lab 
  • Stand-to-sit lifts 
  • State-of-the-art physical agents, like electrical stimulation, ultrasound, cryo-therapy, and paraffin 
  • Upper extremity splinting

The Requirements

  • You are required to attain a grade of C+ or better in all OTA courses. If you fail to achieve a grade of C+, you may re-take that course. You may only retake one OTA course before dismissal from the program.
  • You must have an annual physical exam, PPD or Mantoux test for TB, and have a Hepatitis B immunization or a signed waiver of immunization prior to placement in a clinical internship.
  • You are encouraged to be CPR-certified prior to placement in a clinical internship. The college provides a CPR course for students on a yearly basis. You are responsible for fees for this course.
  • It is strongly recommended that you become a member of the American Occupational Therapist Association (AOTA). Fees for membership are included in course fees.
  • Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant  Curriculum Requirements 

Please note: Students who have a felony conviction may not be eligible to sit for the NBCOT certification exam.

Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online here.

Accreditation Status

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 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-6611 and its Web address is

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 individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.”

Students must complete Level II fieldwork within 18 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program. Level II FW at Villa Maria College is completed in 2 different settings.

For more information about accreditation status of the program, please contact Deborah Brownell via phone: 716.961.1847 or email:

Villa Maria College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Graduation Rates

Graduation Rates for Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate of Applied Science Degree (does not indicate rate national certification examination)

Graduation Year # Students Entering # Students Graduating Graduation Rate
2019 17 11 65%
2018 14 7 50%
2017 12 10 85%
Total 43 28 67%

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) program data results can be found here:

Year indicates Academic Reporting Year which is August 26 to May 17.
Villa Maria College’s OTA Program first cohort graduated in 2017.

Direct Admission into the OTA program is competitive and requires a high school average of 85 and/or a college GPA of 2.8 (or higher) in addition to proven strong science background that includes biology and chemistry OR physics in the candidate’s academic history. Applicants interested in the program are strongly encouraged to be involved in or give evidence of prior volunteer or work experience in the healthcare field. A letter of recommendation from a supervisor of the healthcare experience should be submitted to the director of admissions. Persons interested in the OTA program are advised to apply early as enrollment in the program is limited. Once an application is completed and all transcripts are received, eligible applicants will be contacted to set up any required interview(s) with a program faculty member.

Applicants who do not meet the required GPA,  those with a GED, or those missing the necessary sciences may be admitted to Villa Maria College as Liberal Arts/Occupational Therapy Assistant or LBG/OTA. These students will be advised by OTA faculty, and have an opportunity to raise their GPA and/or take appropriate classes to prepare them to enter the OTA program. Please note that LBG/OTA students are not guaranteed admission into the OTA program. Admission is contingent upon meeting the GPA requirements stated above.

In 2017, the first cohort of OTA students graduated from Villa Maria College. In 2021, it was reported that Villa’s certification exam (NBCOT) passing rate was 100%. Currently in 2022, the passing rate is also 100%. All of our students are now fully employed in the field of Occupational Therapy.

Tuition per semester (full-time): $12,965
Tuition per credit hour (part-time): $865

Registration Fees

Full-time: $285
Part-time: $105

*Fees may be added for courses requiring a course fee.
**Please note these costs are subject to change.

Villa Maria’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
Named to Best Two-Year Colleges in New York List

Join the family.

There’s a lot of pressure to know what’s next. We’re here to say, it’s OK if you’re still figuring it out. In fact, it’s great. Villa is a place where that kind of continual discovery is prized. Because going to college isn’t about having it all figured out. It’s about inventing who you’re going to become. You’ll see.

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