Top Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Schools in the U.S.

Learn about some of the top schools to offer programs for aspiring occupational therapy assistants. Go over program details and certification requirements as well as specific information for these schools.

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School Overview

A certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) provides physical and mental rehabilitative services to patients under the supervision of registered occupational therapists. There are approximately 130 schools in the U.S. approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), the main governing board for occupational therapy assistants. Top choices to offer these 1-or 2-year programs include Houston Community College in Texas and Santa Ana College in California.

Top Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Schools

1. Houston Community College System in Texas

Houston Community College System is the largest collective 2-year college institution in Texas. Individuals interested in becoming COTAs can enroll in a certificate or associate's degree program at the school. The Certificate in Occupational Therapy Assistant program can be completed in one year and requires 47 academic credits. After completing the program, students are eligible to sit for the certification exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). With certification, occupational therapy assistants can obtain licensure from the Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners.

Requiring 71 credits, the Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy program provides students with a comprehensive general education curriculum by including courses in American government, anthropology, technical writing, natural science and history as well as the OT courses required for certification.

2. Santa Ana College in California

Santa Ana College is located approximately 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles and enrolls students in day, evening, weekend and distance-learning options. The school offers an Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant program that combines specialized therapy courses with a general education curriculum. The program requires at least 80 credits and teaches students how to provide effective therapeutic services to a range of patients with mental health, physical and professional conditions. After completing the program, graduates can sit for NBCOT certification. Those who receive certification must apply for licensure from the State of California Board of Occupational Therapy before seeking employment.

List of Good Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Schools

College/University Name Distinction Location
Austin Community College In addition to having 10 full-service campuses, ACC offers free tutoring and support services to students. Austin, TX
Houston Community College System HCC offers its intro to occupational therapy assistant class online. Houston, TX
Macomb Community College In 2013, MCC's graduation rate for its occupational therapy assistant program was 91.4%. Warren, MI
Owens Community College Owens employs faculty members who have real-world experience in the subjects they teach. Perrysburg, OH
Sacramento City College In 2012, 91% of OTA students passed the NBCOT exam on the first try. Sacramento, CA
Salt Lake Community College Students in allied health programs can apply for a Health Sciences Foundation Scholarship through the school. Salt Lake City, UT
Santa Ana College Students can choose to enroll in an online/evening/weekend version of the OTA program. Santa Ana, CA
Suffolk County Community College SCC is the largest community college in New York State. Selden, NY
Tidewater Community College Between 2011 and 2013, 85% of first-time NBCOT test-takers passed the exam. Norfolk, VA
Wayne County Community College District The school features a Scholarship Committee that funds merit scholarships and textbook assistant programs. Detroit, MI
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