Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational therapy assistants help patients of all ages and with all different types of disabilities and challenges to participate in everyday life activities. They are patient, reliable and compassionate individuals. Under the supervision of an occupational therapist, this health care professional focuses on providing treatments that will assist disabled people to function independently in their homes and their communities, and help people regain skills lost due to injury.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) curriculum prepares individuals to work under the supervision of a registered/licensed occupational therapist in screening, assessing, planning, and implementing treatment and documenting progress for clients receiving occupational therapy services. Employment opportunities include hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, long-term/extended care facilities, sheltered workshops, schools, home health programs, and community programs.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program began in Fall 2017, and accepts up to 20 students each fall. Students are admitted through a competitive admissions process. See Admission Information for more details.

Students must achieve a grade of B or above in all OTA prefix courses and a grade of C or above in all general education courses in the OTA curriculum to progress in the program of study. After completing the OTA curriculum of study, the student is awarded an Associate in Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant.


The OTA Program at Rowan-Cabarrus 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

Graduates of the Rowan-Cabarrus OTA 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, including North Carolina, require licensure to practice as a COTA; licensure in North Carolina is based on 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. These processes are separate from the college’s program and graduation requirements. Students are encouraged to contact the North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy (NCBOT) www.ncbot.org and the NBCOT, www.nbcot.org directly for additional information.

Program Chair

Amy Mahle

Amy Mahle




North Campus

Carolyn Sithong
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
North Campus

Occupational therapy assistants focus on the physical, psychological, and social needs of their clients, helping them to rebuild their health, functional independence, and self-esteem.

The average annual wage for occupational therapy assistants was $60,690 in May 2016.

Employment of occupational therapy assistants is projected to grow 40 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Occupational therapy assistants work primarily in long-term care facilities, pediatric or adult outpatient clinics, and hospitals.