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:

6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929

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 Costs

Occupational Therapy Assistant program estimated costs are listed below. Tuition is based on in-state residency. Out-of-state residency tuition can be found in the college catalog.

Expense Cost
Tuition $5,624 ($76 per credit)
Textbooks $1,800 per program
OTA Student Fees (including Complio fees, OTA uniforms, lab fees for OTA courses, Trajecsys fees, liability insurance, AOTA and NCOTA annual membership dues, NBCOT COTA Exam Prep, Exam, and score release, etc.) $1,738 ($350 per semester)
Student Activity Fee $170
Technology Fee $180
Campus Access Fee $100
Graduation Fee $35
Travel to Fieldwork sites (varies) $500
Total $10,147
Program Outcomes
Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
2021 20/20 100%
2022 10/14 140%
2023 20/19 95%
3-Year 2021-2023 Totals 50/53 106%

Note: Program graduates may sit for the exam whenever they choose, so the number of first-time test takers does not match the number of graduates in a given year. The number of first-time test takers may also include graduates from the previous year.

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

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.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, OTAs have an average salary of $66,490 in the state of North Carolina as of May 2020.

Employment of OTAs is projected to grow 27% from 2018 to 2028 in North Carolina.

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